A dog agility training kit is an essential part of agility training. Whether your plan is to eventually enter agility competitions or you're just picking up the sport as way to give your dog some exercise, you'll want to do it right and that means having a course of obstacles to run your dog through. Fortunately, there are many manufacturers who offer starter kits to help get you and your dog off on the right foot.
The standard agility course consists of jumps, weave poles, tunnels and a pause box or table. For an extra challenge you can add in teeter boards and A-frames. These are the obstacles that are used, in various combinations, in most agility competitions. The idea of these obstacles is to get your dog to work on different skills, from running to jumping to climbing to tunneling, and of course to do it all in as short an amount of time as possible.
Obstacles can be made of different materials and a dog agility training kit can have anything from one or two pieces to all of the main obstacles. Of course, the price of a kit will vary depending on the number of obstacles it contains and the materials they are made of. High quality sets can run upwards of $100, while the cheaper models can cost as little as $30 or $40.
Some trainers and agility professionals believe that it is necessary to spend more in order to make sure you are getting the best quality possible. While agility is all about having fun and doing well in competition, it should never come at the expense of your dog's safety and health. You want to make sure that your kit includes well-made pieces that are sturdy enough to stand up to consistent use but designed properly so they won't injure your dog.
beatrix kido / stock.adobe.com
Bars and hoops in dog agility jumps should have the proper give so that if your dog hits them while jumping, they fall easily. The frames of all jumps should be sturdy enough that they don't fall when your dog is using them. The same holds true for weave poles, which should remain upright as your dog works through them, but not cause any injury to the dog's body. All jump frames and weave poles in your dog agility training kit should also be able to be well secured to the ground.
While tunnels and chutes can be easy to use, the idea of running through a long, dark space may be frightening to your dog. You want to ensure that any tunnel is wide enough for your dog to run through comfortably and the fabric of tunnels and chutes should be durable enough to stand up to wear and tear from your dog's nails. Again, tunnels should also be well secured so they don't move while your dog is inside them.
Before purchasing a dog agility training kit, you should do your homework and compare prices, materials and manufacturers. Don't forget to check customer feedback—you can get valuable information this way from people who have actually used the kits. If you want to save even more money, you might want to consider constructing your own kit from materials you can find around your home or by repurposing items like traffic cones and children's play tunnels that can be bought inexpensively.
If you're thinking of trying out agility training, make sure you invest in a starting kit that has everything you need at a price you can afford. Then you and your best friend can get down to the business of having fun!