Anyone who trains their dog for agility competitions should have dog agility equipment available for ongoing training. Trainers usually build their own dog agility equipment to keep costs down. The majority of the agility equipment is made using PVC pipe. If you would like to make your own agility course, the following information will be of value to you.
Step 1: Getting Started
Buy all the supplies and equipment that you will need to build the agility equipment. PVC piping can be bought at plumbing, hardware or home improvement stores. Gather all the supplies and equipment into one location where you will build the obstacle course.
Step 2: The Training Hoop
The hoop is made up of seven pieces of 1 inch PVC piping. The top and side pieces will need to be cut to the proper lengths so that when fitted together, the dog will be able to comfortably fit through. For example, the sides could be 24 inches tall and the top bar 12 inches wide. Glue the side pieces to the appropriate end of the corner piece and the top piece to the other end.
To assemble the bottom rails for the structure, you will need four pieces of the 1 inch PVC pipe and two T connectors. At the base of the each side piece, you will glue a T connector then glue the bottom rail pieces into the other two ends of the T connector.
Step 3: The Training Ladder
You don’t necessarily have to build a training ladder from PVC pipe. You could use a regular ladder and lay it flat on the ground.
If you choose to build a ladder using the PVC piping, you will need ½ inch pieces of PVC cut to the following specifications: 30 pieces that are 12 inches long and 20 pieces that are 6 inches long. You will also need T connectors and L shaped connectors.
Attach four of the 6 inch pieces together using the L connectors and glue them in place. Then, attach the eight 6 inch pieces together using the T connectors. Do not glue them in place, as you will want to be able to twist them in order to fold the ladder up for storage. With the remaining pieces of 12 inch PVC piping and T connectors, make three square frames. Glue them together.
Assemble the ladder by connecting the L connectors and T connectors together. Place L connectors on the ends but do not glue them in place, as you may need to turn them when training a toy breed so that the ladder will not be elevated.
Step 4: The Jump
These can be made using ¾ inch or 1 inch PVC piping, depending on how sturdy you would like the jump to be. Cut four 12 inch (or 11 ¾ inch) lengths for the bottom rails, one 48 inch piece for the bottom rail, two 48 ¼ inch pieces for the rails, and two 40 inch pieces for the side rails. You will also need four-way L connectors and end caps.
Place the bottom rail pieces into the four-way L connectors and glue in place. Attach the 40 inch side rails and the end caps and glue them into place. Drill holes one inch apart on the side rails at the height that you need for the dog to jump at.
Attach the bottom rail into the four way L connector. Do not glue this in place.
Place stripes with colored tape on the jump rails so that the dog will be able to see the rails better. Drill holes in the side rails so that you can place the rails on the bolts in a manner that they will knock it off if he or she hits it while making the jump. Use the nuts and bolts to attach the rails to the side rails at the desired height.