A backyard agility course is such a fun way to get fit with your dog! You can design and use the course for fun and fitness or to prepare for an agility competition. You can build your course to meet competition specifications or customize the stations to suit your dog's size and skill level. Either way, it's just plain fun for you and your dog.
If You're Training for Competition
Check with your local kennel club for specific details about the obstacles you'll face with your dog in competition, and build your course to those specifications. That way, your dog will be practicing the right tasks and will be ready to take on even the toughest obstacles he might face while competing.
While you should expect some variation, regulation competition courses for dog agility include certain stations, such as the following:
- A teetering board
- Two tunnels, one standard and one collapsed
- A series of standard jumps and tire jumps
- Weave poles to run between
- A pause table for striking a pose
- A dog walking space
If your yard is small, you might have to choose your obstacles based on available space.
Though there are specific regulations for agility competitions, you can customize your backyard agility course for your dog's fitness needs if the two of you are not competing. You can choose the stations you think your dog will enjoy or design your own activities.
If your dog is a jumper like mine, for example, it's really easy to add extra jumping stations to your backyard course. It's also helpful to adjust the height of stations for older dogs and very small dogs if you feel there is a risk of your dog falling and getting injured.
Agility Course Safety Issues
Before your dog plays on your agility course, take a look around the course to check for safety issues, such as small loose parts that could become a choking hazard for your dog. Make sure the stations are all sturdy so they won't tip over under your dog's weight.
If your dog chews on things, make sure there are no toxic plants in the area surrounding the course. A safe course means you and your dog are ready to train, whether your goal is encouraging greater fitness, just having fun, or training for competition.