Common Types of Agility Dog Training Equipment

Agility is a "dog sport" that the handler and the dog participate in together. Handlers direct their dogs through an obstacle course, which requires good obedience training of the dog, speed, and accuracy. And for beginners, can be confusing! With so many types of obstacles to learn, plus trying to maintain your dog's attention, it takes time to learn them all. Here are brief descriptions of some of the more popular types of agility equipment:

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  • Dog agility jumps are familiar to most people. A horizontal bar is supported by a couple of posts. The dog jumps over the bar, which can be adjusted for height, ie. usually big dogs jump higher.

    Other types of jumps are tire or hoop jumps (the dog jumps through a middle of a circle shape); panel jumps (several short panels instead of the horizontal bar; panels cover right from the ground all the way up to jumping height); and broad jumps (a set of slightly raised platforms that cover a broad area over which the dog jumps). Jumps are adjustable.

  • Tunnels are great fun for many dogs. Sometimes also called chutes, they're a hollow tube through which the dog runs. Tunnels are sometimes connected together to make a longer tunnel, or they can be "collapsed", meaning one end is open while the other lies flat. The dog enters the open end and pushes his way through the fabric until he exits the tunnel.

  • Weave poles are a series of upright poles through which the dog alternately weaves. Many agility handlers say that this is a difficult task for dogs to learn, as it must be done in a specific way and dogs cannot "skip" poles.

  • The teeter or see-saw is similar to the see-saws children use on the playgrounds. Some dogs find it unnerving since they are required to run up one end, balance and wait for the other end to drop before they can get off. Dogs must touch the "contact zones" at each end of the teeter-totter to get full credit.

    The contact zone are areas on the start and end of some pieces of equipment. Dogs must touch these contact zones with at least one paw when they ascend or descend the equipment.

  • The A-Frame is exactly what it sounds like: a platform hinged to form an "A" shape. The dog runs up one side and down the other, and is required to touch the contact zone on each side.

  • The Dog Walk consists of a ramp leading up to a horizontal slat, then another ramp leading back down. The dog crosses the dogwalk, again touching the contact zone on each side.

  • A pause table is a raised platform where the dog must lie down for a specific period of time.

Most bigger cities and even some of the smaller towns have dog agility centres or classes you can join. Classes start right from the beginner level to the advanced so there's something for everyone. And of course, they have all the dog agility equipment right there on site - much cheaper than having to buy all the and equipment yourself! Agility is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, and also great exercise. Go out there and have fun!