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Old 07-11-2014, 09:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to start with agility?

So, I really want to do agility with my dog, but I don't really know where to start or where to get affordable equipment for it. I have the yard space, but I don't know if I have the money after looking around. Where would I go about finding cheap, but good quality agility equipment for a beginner?
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you taken any classes? I'd start there or hookup with a good instructor. You need to do a lot of foundation and flatwork first. Equipment can usually be borrowed or you can use other people's space. I have a tiny yard and only a few jumps, but I've borrowed weaves from my instructor, done a drop-in practice at a friend's house with a huge yard and more equipment, or pay a $10 floor fee to use the training center. I would focus on the training first, and not the equipment. Then I'd start with 3-5 jumps, and maybe 3 sets of 2x2 weaves if you use that method. That's all I've ever had and I've trained two dogs to a competitive level.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool, thank you! I guess classes would be a good start. Do you know how much those generally cost? My pup is really good with basic obedience and a few more advanced tricks, so we have that much at least down. And are training centers hard to come by? That's what I really want to use, but I don't really know where to start looking for one in my area.
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Agility is getting really popular in the USA, so they should be pretty easy to find. I believe my classes range from $120-140 every six weeks. I don't have any equipment yet as much of what we are working on is basic intros to obstacles and handling skills. I do know that most of the equipment is extremely easy to make out of PVC. If you google "DIY dog agility equipment" there are several tutorials. When Kaiju and I get closer to competition level, I'm going to spring the money for equipment as well as time practicing on the floor at the agility center near me.

One thing that has helped Kaiju's skill and my handling immensely is actually navigating him through children's playgrounds. He learned a lot about following my lead and they generally have fairly safe obstacles like jiggly bridges and tunnels that give your dog good practice with things similar to what they might see on an agility field.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I made my equipment out of pvc pipe. Easy and affordable. I also use traffic cones, hula hoops and bungee cords. I apply different color electrical tape, contact paper, paint on poles and hoops like in a candy cane pattern so the dog can see everything better.

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Old 07-12-2014, 01:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default How to start with agility?

You can purchase Susan Garrett DVDs to get you started. Crate games. Footwork (hind end recognition). Contact training. Restrained recalls. Are all super important.

Most of those don't require equipment. For jumps you could do a stick through cinder blocks to begin with. And you can pretty much make anything with PVC. Depending on your dogs age, you can chain some jumps together as well...

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Old 07-12-2014, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiitsu View Post
Cool, thank you! I guess classes would be a good start. Do you know how much those generally cost? My pup is really good with basic obedience and a few more advanced tricks, so we have that much at least down. And are training centers hard to come by? That's what I really want to use, but I don't really know where to start looking for one in my area.
Depends on the area. Around here 6-8 weeks classes cost between $80-$120. I've also done group drop-ins where I just pay $5 for each time I go.

If your pup is still young you want to work flat foundation work first. My pup is 8.5 months and while I fully intend to do agility competitively with him, he hasn't started yet. He'll probably start taking classes in Sept.

When you do make equipment, you might as well make decent, trial spec stuff. It's not expensive to make jumps, but I would make them the right width and also make them safe. The bars need to set on "cups" so they can be easily "dropped". You don't want your dog getting caught on them, tripping, or getting hurt.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thats a nice price! Totally affordable, I thought it would be expensive. My pup is 8.5 months old as well, so I guess it'd be a good time to start him on easy stuff?

Is there anything online that has tutorials on how to make agility equipment? It actually sounds like a fun project, but I don't want to mess up and make low quality stuff that will hurt my baby.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's just schedule 40 PVC which is not expensive and easy to cut. Mine are 48" wide and 40" tall, so for one jump you need 2 - 48" pieces and 2 - 40" pieces. One of the 48" pieces goes along the bottom (connecting the 4-way connectors) and one is the actual bar the dog is jumping. Then for the legs you need 4-way connectors which you can get from various agility suppliers, I think mine are from Clean Run. You can't get these at a hardware store b/c it's not a standard plumbing connector. You need 2 for each jump. For the bar you can either make or buy "jump cups" which are much cheaper, but then you have to move them around and they sometimes pop off in used, or get "jump strips" which snap onto the upright sides and have cups for every jump height, so you can change heights as you train. These are also available from agility suppliers like Clean Run.
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