Tips for a Backyard Dog Agility Course
There are so many benefits to dog agility; it’s no wonder the competitions have been steadily gaining in popularity over the past few years. Training your dog for an agility competition is not only physical activity for your canine, but it also is great mental stimulation. The time you spend training and competing is quality time that will strengthen your bond forever. So, whether you want to start competing in the professional circuit or you just want to prevent boredom, building an agility course in your backyard is a great idea.
You may be at a loss of where to start, so we wanted to give you a few tips about dog agility courses to help you get started. First, you’ll want to know the basic obstacles.
- Jumps – These hurdles are a big part of dog agility courses, and they can easily be constructed with just PVC pipes. The important things to remember are that the bar can be knocked down to prevent injuries and to construct the PVC pipes so that the height bar is adjustable.
- Tunnels – These need to be sturdy enough that they won’t move when your dog runs through it and that it can withstand the strain for your dog’s nails. However, you also want it to be lightweight so that it is easy to move. Many backyard agility courses use children’s play tunnels, and they work very well.
- Weave Poles – These need to be flexible for the same reason that the hurdle height bar needs to be – to prevent injuries. PVC poles are another great material to use, but if you do not want to stick poles in your yard, then traffic cones make a great substitute.
These are only three obstacles, and they are great to get you started. However, if you do want to compete, you may want to take a look at the Unites States Dog Agility Association requirements for their courses. Then you can tailor your backyard obstacles to meet these standards:
- Contact obstacles: A-frame, see-saw and dog walk
- 10 -12 weave poles
- Tunnels: one collapsible and one pipe
- Tire Jump
- Winged hurdles
You can visit the USDAA website for more detailed specifications for each obstacle course.
Artificial Turf for Dogs
One more characteristic that helps make a great agility course is artificial turf for dogs. In fact, many tournaments use turf as opposed to real grass. For one thing, artificial grass ensures there are no divots or holes in the yard, which could result in injuries for your dog. Plus, the turf requires no mowing, weeding, fertilizing or any other maintenance. And, since it looks and feels just like natural grass, dogs love it.
If you have added an agility course to your backyard, we want to hear about it! Tell us what obstacles you constructed and how your dog performs.