When buying dog agility training equipment it's important to be aware of differences that affect durability, usability and cost. In addition to the differences in size standards of dog agility training equipment there are also differences in the materials used to build them.
If you are going to build your own dog agility training equipment you can save a few bucks by using regular PVC piping. It may have some writing on it but it will cost less than furniture grade PVC piping. Going with furniture grade will look nicer though and will give you more options for connectors.
If it is for back yard use you can also get away with smaller diameter piping than for competition use. For example, instead of 1 inch piping the AKC (American Kennel Club) requires a 1 1⁄4 to 1 3⁄4 inch diameter for bar jumps.
Some manufacturers don't use PVC and choose to build their agility equipment from very durable aluminum instead. This is good if the equipment is going to be exposed to the elements.
Whether you decide to build your own agility equipment, buy less expensive back yard models or go all out and buy competition grade be sure to make sure it is safe for your Aussie.
This is Wicket my 3 year old female Aussie. She LOVES agility! She knows when it's time to go to class, and bugs me until we go.
Whether you are using your own dog agility equipment or a competition course check the equipment for safety. For example, I've heard of a tunnel being improperly anchored with a chain holding it down between the ribs (instead of across a rib). Where the chain went across the top it pushed the tunnel roof down a couple of inches. Although the dog fit into the opening of the tunnel, they were hurt when they raced in and hit an anchored chain with their head. Ouch!, at full tilt that's gotta hurt.
As agility equipment is subjected to normal wear and tear as well as being exposed to the elements it can be damaged. Plastic pieces may get cracks and slip-proofing can wear out. Make sure to check your equipment and fix any safety problems you find.
If you just want to set up your own dog agility equipment in your own backyard you and your Aussie will be impressing your friends, your neighbors and the in-laws when they come over for a barbeque!
Most dog agility supply manufacturers and distibutors have starter packages available. There are also different starter packages. Usually you can get going with just a dog agility jump and weave.
Add an agility teeter, a tunnel or a tire jump for variety. But you don't have to start there. Try whatever you like, so long as it works for you and your Aussie and you are both having fun, go for it!
If you are looking for an inexpensive option Affordable Agility offers an Agility-In-A-Bag™ set that includes a 6 weave pole set, adjustable jump, adjustable tire jump, pause box, tunnel & chute and an instruction manual all in a handy carrying bag that makes it easy to take to the park.
You may have to modify how you work with it if your puppy is still young. For example agility jump bars may have to be put on the ground or very low. You still train to learn the routine and for communication but avoid the potential for injury to your puppy.
If you are handy you can even build your own custom dog agility equipment. This can be done fairly inexpensively. Free dog agility training equipment plans are available and are fairly simple to build but by the time you get plans, buy parts, spend hours cutting and assembling you might wish you had taken a look at what Affordable Agility has to offer – and it's shipped right to your door! (But I'll admit, and my wife will back me up on this... I'm not very handy.)