Agility Dog Training Equipment

Agility dog training equipment can be very expensive, especially if you are set on acquiring competition-quality items. However, there are cheaper pieces available for practice, and many pieces can be built yourself.


There are two types of tunnels: open and closed tunnels. Open tunnels are the same height throughout with an open entry and exit while closed tunnels have a short opening that fades into fabric that hangs lose, opening only as your dog runs through. Thus, your dog can see the exit opening on an open tunnel but not on the closed tunnel.

Cheap tunnel alternatives can be created at home using plastic trash cans with the bottom removed and fabric. These can be useful if you are just trying to get your dog accustomed to running through tunnels. If you are serious about competing, tunnels can be purchased from a variety of sources, ranging widely in price and quality.

Weave Poles

The weave poles may be the most difficult skill to teach your dog because they must go against their instinct to run as quickly as possible and weave through poles spaced only a few inches apart.

Make these at home by purchasing pipe and sticking them in your yard an even distance apart. Weave poles are also available for purchase and can be relatively in expensive if you put them together yourself. They are often available with add-ons that attach to the poles and guide your dog in the correct position. These can be removed as your dog improves.


There are three types of jumps: bar jumps, broad jumps and tire jumps. Bar jumps consist of two or three bars placed on a stand, forming a hurdle. Broad jumps consist of several platforms in a row that your dog must clear. Tire jumps are the most complicated jump to teach as your dog must jump through a tire hooked to a base.

Jumps are probably the easiest item to make yourself and often the least expensive to purchase. A hoola hoop can be used as an effective substitute for the tire.

Walking Obstacles

During an agility competition, your dog will be expected to cross four different obstacles: teeters, dog walks, pause table and A-frame.

With the exception of the pause table, on which your dog must just stand, all of these obstacles require a section at each end painted in a different color, called the contact zone. During a competition, your dog's feet must touch in this zone when he enters and exits the obstacle.

The teeter is the most difficult item to build for yourself as it is basically a miniature teeter-totter that shifts with your dog's weight. Many sites recommend just purchasing one rather than trying to build. The rest are relatively simple to build with guidance from a book or web site.

If you have decided to purchase equipment, it can get expensive. However, many sites offer basic packages that include several pieces of low-quality equipment you can put together yourself. This will suffice for backyard practice while your dog gets serious about the sport. As he gets better, you may think about upgrading or building equipment that meets competition requirements.