BACKYARD DOG TRAINING

Are you a dog lover with an active pooch? Do you have some extra space in the yard? Well, you have come to the right place! With some materials and a little handiwork, you can treat your beloved pet and give your yard a makeover. Sometimes all the training parks are either far away, or there are none in the area, but this won’t be a problem once you have your own. This will not only let you train without wandering off far away from the summer house, but benefit your dog by keeping it agile and exercised. 

Materials You Will Need

All the materials and tools that are needed for the agility course can be found at your local hardware store. Let’s start with the basics:

  • wood or plywood
  • nails
  • saw
  • drill
  • metal connectors

Bonus points if you already have some spare wood in your shed, so let’s put it to good use. Recycling is always a great idea. If you feel like getting rid of old furniture, any old shelves or closets can come in handy. 

Safety First!

When taking on a DIY project like this, your pet’s safety is the number one priority. While building each part of the obstacle course, check to make sure that there are no nails sticking out of the wood. If there are any sharp edges, take your time to sand them down. Every part of the course must be sturdy and well-assembled, especially if you have a larger dog. Always take your dog’s age, height, and any health issues into consideration when building each part of the course. Any small part of the obstacles can quickly turn into a choking hazard, so every bit and piece have to be secured. Use glue if needed. Don’t forget about your own safety! Get yourself a good pair of safety goggles or face shield, some gloves and a dust mask to protect you from saw dust. If you have your own workshop and any experience, you can go right ahead and get started. If not, be extra careful, take your time to learn how to use the tools and ask for help.  

Starting With the Basics

Visualize where exactly you want the obstacle course to be. It doesn’t necessarily have to take up your whole lawn, you can always start small. Just make sure your canine friend has enough space to run around freely from one obstacle to another. Check the terrain: not everyone has a perfectly flat lawn. Try your best to avoid bumps, holes, or any uneven part of the lawn. Always look for the flattest part of your lawn so that the course has a sturdy base to stand on. Decide whether you want the course to be accessible to your dog 24/7. If you aren’t sure, then it’s better to put a fence around the course and let your dog train there under your surveillance. Now let’s go ahead and make the obstacles. 

Usually, the course is made up of a weave pole, see-saw, tunnel, steps for climbing and a high jump. We’ll start with the easiest obstacle.

1. High Jump 

To make a high jump, you will need 2 sidebars and 2 bars to go in between: one base bar on the bottom and one adjustable bar on top. First, measure the desired width of the high jump. Make sure it’s not too narrow, so your dog doesn’t have a hard time jumping over it. 70 cm is suitable for smaller dogs, but it can go up to 100 for larger ones. Dig 2 deep holes where the sidebars will go. The deeper the hole – the sturdier. If you don’t want any holes in your lawn, that won’t be a problem – you can always build a base for the high jump to stand on. The sidebars can be made from 2 4×4 wooden blocks, each bar about 1 meter long. Add an extra 10-15 cm to go into the ground. The width of the base bar and adjustable bar must be equal to the width between the sidebars. Think of a minimal height for the jump. The optimal height is about 30-40 cm off the ground. Fit the base bar between the sidebar sand, nail it in place. Now let’s make the top bar. For the adjustable bar you will need to make a couple small wooden blocks to make the “steps”. The “steps” will be used for supporting and adjusting the top bar to place it higher or lower. Nail or glue an even number of “steps” on each side, just make sure that the highest bar will be placed realistically, meaning that your dog would actually be able to jump over it.

2. Climber

A climber is also easy to make and only requires 3 types of details: 2 large sheets of wood, a base that goes underneath and some wooden blocks. Start by taking the 2 flat rectangular sheets, so they form a triangular peak, and connect them. You choose any angle and make it as steep or as low as you like. Then take a wooden board the same height as your peak. It will act as a support for the whole construction. Next, you have to make steps for your dog to climb. You don’t need anything too elaborate, some wooden 3×3 blocks or planks will do the trick. The steps must be the same width as the sheets and evenly placed.

3. Hoop Jump

For the hoop jump you will need 2 wooden blocks for the base, some rope and a hula-hoop. You can use an old hula-hoop if you have one at home, or buy a new one. To make the base of the hoop jump, just follow the same instructions for building the high jump base. Then add another block on top between the 2 side blocks. Screw in 3 eye screws for the rope, one on top and 2 on each side. Then place a hula-hoop in the middle and secure it with rope. 

4. Weave poles

To make this obstacle, you will need 1 long beam or plank, at least 6 wooden beams (about 1 meter tall) and metal connectors for each one. The support beam should be heavy and sturdy to support the rest of the beams that will be connected to it. To make it even sturdier, you can add a couple of perpendicular beams – one on each side and one in the middle. Place the top beams at an even distance and connect them to the beam. Secure them in place using screws and metal connectors. 

There you have it! Now you’ve got a nice place to spend some quality time with your four-legged friend.  

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