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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to start on a backyard agility course for my dog Cruz soon. I already have a thread looking for pics of different ramps.

But I'm looking for ideas and information on what an agility course should contain in the design. So far I'm looking at a ramp, tunnel, weave poles and some jumps. Oh yeh, balancing table maybe? Man this is going to take all summer to build.

I'm going to start with building an adjustable ramp then buy a Large plastic culvert tube. I don't know if I want to suspend the tunnel or have it solid on a mount. Then build some jumps out of PVC piping that are adjustable, I've seen some good examples on this site for that.

How about layout of the course? What should lead into what? Ramp into tunnel or jumps into tunnel then ramp? How is your course setup?
 

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How about layout of the course? What should lead into what? Ramp into tunnel or jumps into tunnel then ramp? How is your course setup?
Agility courses are meant to be changed up. There are different skills to learn and you never see the same course twice at a trial (well almost never, rarely a judge will use a course that he/she used for a trial in another location). So, when you practice you set up the equipment to work on different skills. In the beginning, the dog is learning the individual pieces of equipment and working on skills like contact training, rights/lefts, rear-end awareness, jump skills, etc.

Are you taking a class? If not, I highly suggest that you do. There is way more to agility than the obstacles and it's best to have a trainer teach you. If you cannot get to a class, there are videos you can rent/buy that can help you too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Agility courses are meant to be changed up. There are different skills to learn and you never see the same course twice at a trial (well almost never, rarely a judge will use a course that he/she used for a trial in another location). So, when you practice you set up the equipment to work on different skills. In the beginning, the dog is learning the individual pieces of equipment and working on skills like contact training, rights/lefts, rear-end awareness, jump skills, etc.

Are you taking a class? If not, I highly suggest that you do. There is way more to agility than the obstacles and it's best to have a trainer teach you. If you cannot get to a class, there are videos you can rent/buy that can help you too.

A trainer would be good advice as I've never trained a dog on agility exercises. We have Schutzund trainers close by in my area. Maybe they would be interetsed or know of a trainer. I'll have to look into it.

At this point, it's just for recreation, exercise and fun for the dog. The backyard gets quite boring. I like to change it up a bit. My body has been to beat up by too many years of Motocross and just acting stupid. But I think I can still run enough to run Cruz through and agility course in a non competetive enviroment.
 

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I can only post 1 pic at a time for some reason. I love my miko is right, a class will cover the obstacles and help you if if have trouble. I took Tuke through beginner and intermediate and even though she is not a good candidate for agility, we both got a lot out of it.
 

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I didn't make this by the way, it was sitting in front of our dog club. I thought I may copy it. He used 1-1/4" schedule 40 PVC, you could sch80 too.
 

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You can also go to the AKC agility section and find the specs/directions to build equipment.
 

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http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...gility-equipment-do-yourself-ideas-hints.html has a lot of good tips for equipment.

AgilityNerd : index . This agilitynerd guy has great info and courses.

Truthfully, nothing can replace a great instructor/club. You can use their bigger and more expensive equipment each week. You won't have to retrain. And you progress safely and at the appropriate rate. The equipment initially seems to be the hard and fun stuff and all newbies want to work on. But truthfully 'agility' is WAY more about our handling cues and the information our pups need in the space between the obstacles so they keep headed in the right direction!
 

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I would use the money for training, not equipment. I borrow almost everything I need (right now have a nice set of 2x2 weaves) and I visit friend's yards that have a more complete setup. If you've never trained agility you need to do the obstacles correctly and safely and get proper instruction on the handling, it's not about just *doing* the obstacles. As for running if the dog is properly trained you barely need to run at all, he should be directed by your body cues.
 

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I found this site......for some ideas..[they make and sell but great pictures].......I have a group of 6 foot tall 4x4's in the ground, 12 of them on 4 foot centers, a matrix of 3 x 4 and I want to come up with something...of course the source references can give dimensions. Now I am not looking for competition stuff. Took one agility class but definitely can see needing that instruction.



Equipment
 

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I make my jumps out of 1" schedule 40 PVC. For each jump I need 2 48", 2 40", 4 12", 2 4-way connectors (cannot be bought in stores since it's not a real plumbing connection), and either 2 jump cups that I make out of 1" T-joints cut up or jump strips purchased from agility suppliers (the former cost about $1 to make 4 and the latter cost about $15 per pair). One 48" is the bottom rail, with a 4-way connector on each end. The 40" are the uprights coming straight up out of the 4-way and the 12" are the "legs" sticking out each way from the 4-way (perpendicular to the bottom rail). Then you use jump cups or strips to lay the actual jump bar across. If you want to be fancy you can get end caps for everything but the jump bar.

My jumps look like this when complete


For agility training you really need jump bars that can be offset. You don't want anything solid or locked in. The dog can get injured during training if he can't offset the bar and you need that to know how the training is going. Jumping is not something to take for granted, for most dogs the proper technique for agility needs to be trained.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I can only post 1 pic at a time for some reason. I love my miko is right, a class will cover the obstacles and help you if if have trouble. I took Tuke through beginner and intermediate and even though she is not a good candidate for agility, we both got a lot out of it.

Thanks for the pics!
 

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Tons more pictures and ideas on --- > http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...gility-equipment-do-yourself-ideas-hints.html

And I'm a bit concerned if you aren't also looking for a club/classes/instructor.

Pretty sure all of us in agility have SOME equipment in our yards to practice.

But I'm also pretty sure all of us are taking advantage of real instructors so we train this right. Agility is like so many things........ we don't know what we don't know....... so just fumbling on to train on our own really makes things much harder in the long run.

I use my yard and equipment to supplement and do homework for all the classes I attend. Not INSTEAD of classes/instruction.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the expressions of concern for getting the proper training. I wouldn't go jumping out of an airplane without a parachute let alone some instruction on how to do so. There is more to it than jumping and pulling a cord. :crazy:

I understand about the training and it makes sense. I also would not want to put my dog at risk let alone myself. I'm of a "pro-trainer" mindset. I've trained most of my dogs myself but I didn't come close to what going to a trainer has done for me and my present dog. First time using a certified trainer. I understand the advantages, as they see and recognise things I would not and understand how to address those things which I could not. So rest at ease, I woulndn't put Cruz over one single jump or ramp without knowing what I'm doing. ;)
 

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I understand about the training and it makes sense. I also would not want to put my dog at risk let alone myself. I'm of a "pro-trainer" mindset. I've trained most of my dogs myself but I didn't come close to what going to a trainer has done for me and my present dog. First time using a certified trainer. I understand the advantages, as they see and recognise things I would not and understand how to address those things which I could not. So rest at ease, I woulndn't put Cruz over one single jump or ramp without knowing what I'm doing. ;)
Great news!

Who/where are you training? Good chance some of us know them on this forum. So many wonderful places to go now (and not so good :eek: ) The instructors doing USDAA? NADAC? AKC? UKC?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great news!

Who/where are you training? Good chance some of us know them on this forum. So many wonderful places to go now (and not so good :eek: ) The instructors doing USDAA? NADAC? AKC? UKC?

If your refering to agility training as far as a trainer, I haven't gotten that far yet. I was looking at Georgia Derluth thats not to far from me. There are a list of others, Jan Jesky,Tom Mancuso I have come up with so far that are in close proxcimity. I found these on Windlaufer Kennels web page. I am not sure they are purely agility trainers but are Schutzhund training which is fine with me as I was considering this in the past.

It's a busy time for me right now, I'm in the planning stages of this for now but wanted some equipment ready for when I need it.
 

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I would definitely look for an agility trainer that does agility. I love Schutzhund and do that as well but some of the advice I've seen Schutzhund people give about agility/jumping has been pretty bassackwards. If you want to do it right, train with people that actually do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would definitely look for an agility trainer that does agility. I love Schutzhund and do that as well but some of the advice I've seen Schutzhund people give about agility/jumping has been pretty bassackwards. If you want to do it right, train with people that actually do it.

OK, now I'm confused. Agility is an aspect of Schutzhund right? I was under the assumption that was the case. I was going to look into Schutzhund training to begin with and thought agility was part of it.

I just emailed Jan Jesky, a local Schutzhund trainer a minute ago. I'll see what she has to say. She is one trainer that's close.

I don't doubt there are some less desirable trainers out there. I understand what your saying too about training with a particular style trainer.

If I had to decide between the two, Schutzhund would be my first choice over agility just because of the multiple aspects of training. Agility sounds like a fun rewarding sport too though.

My main goal in all of this, is a confident secure and well rounded dog. Cruz is a highly driven dog and seems he can handle more than just play fetch and that sort. I'd like to be just as well rounded as the dog. It seems I'm always learning more. I like it that way.
 
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