• September 21st, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    Agility training is a great activity to do with your dog. It's fun for both of you, good exercise, and great mental stimulation for your pup. It also builds the bond you share with your dog by improving your communication and giving you quality time spent together.

    You can get started with agility by looking for local classes and agility courses in your area, but that initial investment can be pricey, especially if you don't know if agility is for you. Instead, consider creating a DIY backyard agility course with items you have around your home. This way, you and your dog can get a feel for agility in a low key environment.

    Five DIY Agility Obstacles

    Getting started with agility requires teaching your dog to understand the necessary commands and building her comfort obstacles on the course. Depending on where you are at in the training process, you can get started without any equipment. Teaching basics such as walking backwards, having her switch sides as she walks beside you, and moving away and then returning to you. These increase your dog’s flexibility and confidence, and provide valuable skills you can use with the obstacles.

    Once the basic training is in place, you can create DIY versions of the various agility obstacles in your backyard, including:

    • Tire Jump - You can hold up a hula hoop for your dog to jump through. Start with the hoop on the ground and raise it as your dog gets more comfortable.
    • See Saw - To get your dog comfortable on a wobbly surface, use a skateboard or set a piece of plywood on top of a rock or tennis ball. Reward your dog when she goes near the board and slowly coax her into getting on it.
    • Agility Tunnel - The easiest way to simulate the dark space of an agility tunnel is to use a table or chairs covered with a blanket.
    • Weave Poles - Orange cones, bamboo stakes, or even soda bottles can stand in for weave poles. In the beginning, you will want to space them out, and then move them closer as your dog gets more comfortable.
    • Hurdles - Any long object will work for a hurdle, such as a broom handle, dowel rod, or yardstick. You can start by placing the jumping rod on the rungs of two chairs to keep it low to the ground.

    As you and your dog get comfortable with the agility course, you can upgrade your obstacles by buying ones produced specifically for agility, or finding a local course in your area that you can visit. There are many opportunities for dogs and their owners who enjoy agility from competitions to simply having another way to exercise.