Agility is great exercise for both dogs and their human instructors and it's easy to get encouraged and excited about the small and continuous successes the hobby provides.
But starting to train agility can seem expensive and complicated. It doesn't have to be that way!
Here are eight do it yourself (DYI) agility ideas for obstacles and tricks to practice with your dog on your own yard, in the park or even in your living room.
1. Pause table
The most simple DYI agility obstacle is a pause board. An old coffee table or a wood pallet are great for this purpose and both can be found from recycling centers or charity flea markets for zero or little cash. Stability is the only must-have requirement for a pause-table.
2. Weave poles
Create your own weave poles from thin plastic pipes or ski poles that can be padded with pool noodles. Stick 5 to 15 of them into the ground every 20 to 100 centimeters (8 to 40 inches) depending on the size or the dog.
Circling objects is not a part of official agility training, but is an easy way to start practicing communication. Start with circling a tree, a light pole or the mailbox. Dogs often learn to "circle" while they're on a leash and walk from the wrong side of an obstacle. While asking them to circle, pull gently to the right direction.
Jumps can be easily practiced in nature, but you want to work your way towards obstacles that have room in between the ground and the jump, that can be a bit tricky to some dogs. Cinderblocks are good for this purpose because they are heavy enough to create a steady jumping obstacle. The jump itself should be light weight to prevent injuries, use strips of wood, rope or thin plastic pipe.
Dogwalks are fun, but stability in key to keep training safe. You may have a park bench of your own or you could use one in the nearest park. If you have one of your own safely attach two pieces of plywood to each end. Simple as that!
Agility tunnels can be very expensive, but children's play tunnels get the job done just fine. They are more light and can move around when a dog runs through them so the best thing to do is to pin them down to the ground with string or tent holders.
7. Tire jump
This one acquires a little more DYI but can double as a swing for kids. Just use an old bike or car tire and hang it up with two ropes on a sturdy tree branch. Make sure the tire is large enough for your dog to safely jump through. You might want to make sure the tire doesn't move with two additional ropes attached close to ground, or just hold on the tire to keep it from moving.
8. Teeter boards
The last one may be the most fun one of them all, a teeter board. You'll need some electric tools for this one, but it will be worth it. Attach a long and wide piece of wood to a piece of tall plumbing plastic pipe using two bolts. Place the pipe directly in the center of the board, drill two holes in it, place a bolt through each of the holes and tighten. To prevent slipping glue a piece of carpet to the wood or paint with anti-slip solution.
Check out our beginners guide to agility training here.
Then there's nothing left to say but... Ready, set, go!