An agility course speaks to your dog's ancestral need to track prey through the wild, despite the fact that his dinner arrives in his bowl and his only requirement might be to be present. An agility course is a great way for your dog to exercise as he remains interested in the task. The course can provide endless play but can put a dent in your budget.
Keeping Options Open
As it is with any purchase or project, your budget ultimately will determine what is inexpensive. Plan out what you want for your course and start shopping. Both brick and mortar and online retailers may provide options for low-cost agility equipment. The best and most cost friendly course may include a combination of new, recycled and DIY equipment.
Designing The Course
Your dog and his personal ability will govern what you have in your course. If his legs are short, he might not be artful at equestrian-inspired jumping. Instead, he might do better with a large box where a treat might await him, with ramps on both ends. While budget is a consideration, the safety of your dog must be your biggest concern. Consider the following options for your course:
- Weave poles
- Ramps and boxes
More Than Child's Play
The art of recycling is both budget and environmentally friendly. Reusing something destined for the dump can save you a bundle. Tunnels are common sights in dog agility courses, and are often found in toy stores. Check pricing. A tunnel designed for your child might be perfect for your dog. An old seesaw can be fashioned into a fun station for your course. You may want to lower the center and shorten the seesaw, but a couple of hours with a circular saw and sander might get you exactly what you need.
Plastic Makes Perfect
A common hardware store find known as PVC might be your new best friend when it comes to your DIY agility course. You can easily construct a minimum of two stations with some select pieces of PVC. A pile of straight pipes, plastic tees and elbows, and safety caps can be constructed into low-cost weave poles for your dog to test his skill.
Similarly, you can construct a jump station for your dog. Placing your tees at various levels can allow you to raise the jump bar as your dog's skill improves.
Regardless of your dog's skill level or experience with the course, an accident is always a possibility. Your dog is a loyal friend. Never ask him to perform a task that pushes him beyond his skill limit, and do not leave him unattended on the course. The only thing your dog might enjoy more than a good run through the course is having you at his side.