Setting Up A Simple Backyard Obstacle Course For Your Dog
Most dog enthusiasts have spent more than a few hours watching dog agility events online or on television, which has inspired a backyard obstacle course for your dog. These are always fun and exciting, with athletic dogs of all sizes, breeds, and types hurdling over jumps, across obstacles, through tunnels, and even up and over the A-frame and balancing on the Teeter.
It is surprisingly easy to create backyard agility or obstacle course for your dog using a variety of items from around the house. If you do need to buy items, the materials are readily available at local hardware or department stores and are very inexpensive.
Many people will find that simple is better when starting to work with a dog on obstacles or agility. Making the obstacles very basic and easy for the dog to learn keeps training positive and rewarding for both the owner and the pooch. Then, as the dog becomes more confident and understands what is expected, it is easier to make the obstacles more challenging.
Jumps are the focus of most agility or obstacle courses. It is important to construct the jumps so the bar easily falls off if the dog doesn’t quite make it over the top. An easily knocked down bar prevents injury to the dog and also prevents the entire jump from falling over.
It is easy to make jumps out of small diameter PVC pipe. Pool noodles will also work if the jump is narrow in design. Find two blocks, chairs, or any similar sized items to act as the two ends of the jump. Two laundry baskets with holes in the sides make it easy to adjust the height of the jump. Always start low to make it easy for the dog to simply step over so they understand what to do. This also helps to overcome any fear dogs may experience with this new exercise. Gradually increase the height as your dog gains confidence and becomes more athletic.
It is a challenge to make a dog tunnel at home, but if you have a child’s play tunnel, this is a great alternative. These tunnels come in different sizes for children, so choose one that is large enough for the dog to go through.
It is also possible to use lawn chairs with the seats facing out placed in two parallel rows. Use an old sheet or blanket to cover the chairs, and use a brick or rock in the seats of the chairs to hold the blanket up and in place.
PVC makes simple weave poles. Use a larger diameter plastic pipe and push it into the ground with the appropriate distance between poles. You can also use a longer PVC pipe to create a base for the poles. Glue two long pieces of pipe on the ends to create a T allowing for stability. This is more complicated, but it is practical and easy to move.
There are a number of weave pole kits available for smaller dogs through online sellers that are very reasonably priced.
Most dogs love obstacle courses. Always provide lots of praise and treats and keep training fun and enjoyable for both you and your pet.
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