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Do you have an outgrown tunnel where your children play? Is there any available empty cardboard box that can be cut out on the ends to create a tunnel? Actually, these scrap materials can help you on how to make a dog agility tunnel. Although such equipment is available at various pet stores, creating your own would be a budget-friendly alternative to competitive and commercially available dog agility tunnel.
As we go along, we will share the basic guide on creating a dog agility tunnel in your home. Aside from that, we have here the advantages of providing one for your pooch and some safety reminders in using agility courses. If you want to give one for your dog, then check the guide below!
Space Needed for Dog Obstacle Course and Why to Build One
Generally, one good feature of the dog agility courses is the requirement of a lesser amount of space. Official dog obstacle courses basically have an area which measures 10,000 square feet or having 100 foot long at each side. This only means that if you need to set up your own agility course for your dog, your backyard must be big enough but not really acres of spaces.
Moreover, too much space is not needed in setting up a dog agility course especially if your intention is just to have fun with your dog. In case, you do not intend to have an agility obstacle course for training your dog in competitions, you can basically adjust the obstacles that you do.
Additionally, dog agility courses are really beneficial for most dogs. Here are some of the advantages of providing a dog agility obstacle course:
1. Dogs get more exercise
Basically, dog agility courses require dogs to run into it as fast as they can. This simply means that the activity is one form of giving your dog exercises they need. Most of the time, the dogs use their muscles to ensure that they have a full-body workout. Along with this, you will also have some sort of exercise as you lead your dog within the course.
2. Offer mental stimulation
Actually, once the dog learns how to negotiate obstacles while following you on the entire agility course will maintain the humming of the dog’s brain. With this, the dog will prevent acquiring boredom, offering various emotional supports, and allow your dog to have a healthier and happier life.
3. Enhance the dog’s obedience
Primarily, starting an agility trial course will require your dog to be obedient. Yet, the moment the training begins, it would become noticeable that the obedience of your dog becomes more enhanced. This may also benefit you as you may improve your training goal and leadership abilities.
4. Permit the dog to show off
There are actually dogs that are fond of showing off their abilities. Generally, the agility obstacle course is a great channel for them to do so.
5. A great way to bond with your pooch
Generally, any activity that you have with your dog is a way to strengthen your bond. However, agility courses demand you to have a closer work with your dog; you will most likely have a stronger connection with each other.
Safety Tips for Using Dog Obstacle Courses
In case you follow the proper way on how to make a dog agility tunnel or other agility obstacle courses, you will definitely ensure that these will be safe for your dog. Yet, there will still be some possible dangers that must to take into account and avoid.
- Check and ensure that there is no presence of rough or sharp edges within any obstacles as it may scrape the body of the dog.
- Inspect the entire area if there are any dangers around. Basically, clear it out before starting the agility courses.
- Adjust the obstacles based on the size of your dog.
- Consult a veterinarian before starting the agility course. Keep in mind that not all dogs are able to do the agility trials. Below is the list of dog breed that excels on agility training. However, due to health-related reason, you must also need to ask the vet before you dig in.
Dog Breeds that Are Great in Agility Trials
Generally, dog breeds that greatly excel at agility courses are those small to medium size which weighs about 20 to 50 pounds. These dogs have basically light bone structures and they must be smart enough willing to learn and work collaboratively with their owner or trainer. The herding dogs often showcase these traits and they are the breed that is seen in most agility competitions. Along with them, that excel in this area are the sporting dogs like the Retrievers.
List of some breeds that would be great agility dogs:
- Border Collies
- Fox Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Pembroke Welsh Corgis
- Standard Poodle
Different Obstacles for Dog Agility Courses
There are actually various ways to layout agility courses for canines. And, generally, some of these courses entail similar basic obstacles. However, the obstacles must possess the actual dimensions and detailed design. Aside from that, they vary depending on the organizational body and most permit the adjustment of the sizes to fit in the size of the dog.
Below are the most common obstacle courses for dog agility:
Basically, it is an A-shaped ramp that allows the dog to run up on one side and go down the other. One type of obstacle is the Dog Walk which contains a flat section at the center.
Typically, the crossover obstacle course is similar to that of a multi-sided dog walk. It has various numbers of ramps that lead to a platform in the center. The dogs are generally required to go up and down through the predetermined ramps neglecting the other ramps. However, the use of this obstacle course has not already been accepted by most major organizational bodies.
Jump is one of the obstacle courses for dogs that need them to bounce over. This is actually similar to a hurdle commonly seen on human track and field. Moreover, this type of dog obstacle has different types. This includes the following:
- Broad Jump – this consists of groups of raised platforms where the dog must jump over without getting any part of obstacle to touch the dog’s body
- Panel Jump – basically, instead of a hurdle, it uses a flat panel which looks like a short wall where the dog must jump over
- Spread Jump – this type of jump needs the dog to clear a distance that is actually predetermined
- Tire Jump – there is usually a vertically mounted tire wherein the dog must jump into the center of the tire suspended into a frame
This is a platform that is somehow elevated in which the dog is needed to jump up and once on a predetermined length of time; the dog must have to pause before moving over.
This dog obstacle course is typically similar to the one that you can see on the playground. The dog can run going up on one side and allows his weight to swing down to the other side. Afterwards, the dog will then run down. Basically, the other term for this dog obstacle course is the teeter-totter.
Basically, this is a flexible circular bar wherein the dog can run through. A collapsed tunnel is a type of tunnel which is similar to the normal one. However, in the collapsed tunnel, the frame is removed from the end corner. The principle behind this obstacle is for the dog to run in the open side of the tunnel. Subsequently, the dog will then push his way into the opposite caved side.
However, dog agility equipment can be quiet expensive. Yet you are very free to construct and build a simple one in your home like a crawl tunnel with just a fraction of the price. The only thing is that you just have to learn the way on how to make a dog agility tunnel.
Moreover, if agility training is just a new course for your dog, it might get a little bit daunting. The key here is to be encouraging especially when teaching new tricks. Consider trying it yourself using your hands and knees and go inside the tunnel. The moment the dog sees that the tunnel is not threatening they will immediately follow.
Basic Step on How to Make a Dog Agility Tunnel
Before digging into knowing the step-by-step procedure on how to make a dog agility tunnel, it is very essential to begin learning the size of the tunnel that will fit your pet’s size and needs. Also, keep in mind that the dimension may vary depending on the use of the tunnel as well.
Getting to know the tunnel dimension
Basically, this measurement should be larger than the dog’s height. The dog may have the tendency to scrap his back on the tunnel if he runs through it in case the diameter is smaller. Commercially available dog agility tunnel has the following standard lengths:
- 10 feet – this is the measurement for amateur canine training which is ideal for a small pooch
- 15 feet – may make a smaller but somehow challenging obstacle course tunnel for the dog
- 20 feet – the longest measurement for the dog agility tunnel and is the optimal length among competition tunnels. It can be easily folded into 2 to 3 corners.
If you are fond of incorporating additional twists and turns within the obstacle course, then you might consider a longer tube. However, for smaller dogs, the too long tunnel is not an ideal one.
The pitch is basically the space situated on the coils of the reinforced wire which makes the tube. The standard size of the coil on most agility tunnels with competition style is about 4-inch or 10.16 centimeters.
Securing the dog agility tunnel
Determining the right size of the agility tunnel for dogs necessitates for securing the tunnel onto the ground. However, take note that ropes and stakes do not come along with the tunnels. Knowing this, it is essential to identify the method that you will be going to use and the materials that you’ll need. Below are the two common methods for dog agility tunnel:
- Stakes and rope
Generally, the stakes are located on either side of the tunnel plus the rope loops within the top portion of the dog agility tunnel. This acts to hold the tunnel in place.
- Pins and straps
Just like the first method, the smaller pins are usually pushed into the ground and firm strap loops within the tunnel.
- Barrel – around 55-gallon
- Bungee cord
- Gallon Jugs – 2 empty pieces
- Parachute fabric – 15”(L) x 10”(W)
- Power saw
- Sewing machine
- Rivet gun
Initially, the first step on how to make a dog agility tunnel is to trim both ends of the 55-gallon barrel using the power saw. Generally, the barrel acts as the tunnel opening and keep the chute open for the dogs to go through the obstacle. Make sure to rinse the barrel using a hose so that any harmful residue will be washed out.
In a half lengthwise dimension, basically fold the parachute fabric. Moreover, to form a long tubular column, sew the ends together. Afterwards, turn the fabric from outside to inside so that the stitches may not be exposed outside.
The next step on how to make a dog agility tunnel is setting the barrel over the end and sliding around 6-inches of the parachute tube on the open end. Using the rivet gun, generally attach the fabric into the barrel. Additionally, insert every 4-inches within the barrel’s circumference so that the fabric will stay in place.
Moreover, as we go along the steps on how to make a dog agility tunnel, turn the barrel on the side and carry it to the training area. Straighten the tube behind the barrel so that dogs will not be tangled up as they go through the obstacle.
The last step to take on how to make a dog agility tunnel is to fill the empty gallon jugs with sand. Afterwards, place each jug on both sides of the barrel. Place a bungee cord around the top portion and hook the end over to the jug handle. The jugs will be the weights so that the tunnel will be held in place.
How to Make a Dog Agility Tunnel of Collapsed Type
Another way on how to make a dog agility tunnel is creating a collapsed tunnel type. Here is the material that you’ll need and the process of making it:
- Laundry hampers pop-up type
- Thread or fishing line
- Fabric pins for landscape
The first step on how to make a dog agility tunnel of a collapsed type is to open a laundry hamper through the scissors. Moreover, cut the bottom circle and make sure that there are no sharp corners. Based on the desired length, repeat doing the process depending on the number of pop-up hampers.
Next thing to do on how to make a dog agility tunnel of a collapsed type is to place two pieces of a hamper from end to end. Moreover, put the needle into the edge of the first hamper from an outside direction going inside. Move the needle going through the second hamper coming from the inside to the outside.
Take the needle again into the first hamper in order to create a loop. Basically, do this again on the whole perimeter of the hampers putting them together. With every additional hamper, continue repeating this particular step on how to make a dog agility tunnel of a collapsed type.
Lastly, on how to make a dog agility tunnel of a collapsed type, place a fabric stakes in the hampers and on the ground. This will generally secure the tunnel into its desired position.
It is highly advisable to select a fabric hamper that comes from durable nylon material. This will basically help in preventing the dogs’ nails to tear up the tunnel as they run through it.
How to make a dog agility tunnel is generally easy which may offer great excitement and fun for most dogs. Although, there are already commercially made dog agility tunnel in the market, opting to create your own for your dog will basically cut down the cost. Aside from that, you can also adjust the tunnel based on the size and the needs of your doggie. Doing this will let you enjoy customizing the tunnel for your pooch as well as your dog will generally have fun running through it.