Here’s a good site

Instant Agility. It’s a blog that talks about agility equipment design and how to perform the obstacles.

Most dogs love to work, and agility gives them a challenging and fun “job” to do. It can be a casual way for you and your dog to have fun in the backyard, or an intense activity performed on an official course against other competitors. In either case, you will need obstacles that your dog can jump over, jump through or climb on. That’s what we’re here to help you with.

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Buja Board

Why use a buja board?

  • It’s an excellent way to get dogs used to something move under their feet.
  • It’s small enough you can take it with you various places.
  • You can use it as a starter for doing a table and a teeter.
  • it helps your dog develop confidence in doing things even if the unexpected might happen under their feet.  A confident dog can go far.  🙂

Looking for clear directions, perhaps even a pictorial on how to make a buja board?  Check out this webpage.

For other ideas on making your own buja board check out these sites

Anyways, you’ll have some ideas that will at least get you started.

Make Your Own Metal Weave Poles

First off…here’s a PVC weave pole base. 🙂

Jan says:

I have made a metal base weave pole using 2 1/4″ aluminum flat bar. You can drill thru this with a regular drill. Right now I have just set it up with my stick in the ground weave poles going into the ground. It gives the poles some extra stability. If I find that is not stable enough I will put some 3 or 4 inch bolts thru the flat bar and find some
nuts that are close to the inside diameter of the pvc posts and fasten the bolts with them. Tighten one nut all the way to the flat bar and then put 2 or 3 more nuts along the bolts to help stabilize the poles when they are slipped over the bolts.

Jay says:

Try this, look in the phone book for your local steel company. Go there and buy 3, 8ft lengths of 1 1/2″ to 2″ STRAP iron. Stop at your local hardware store and pick up a cheap hacksaw, 5, 10 ft sticks of 1″ pvc. You will also want to get 15 bolts, 27nuts, and 12 lock washers. The nuts should just barely fit inside the 1″ pvc. You will also need a drill and drill bit to fit with the bolts. Take this all home and do the following:

1. Cut the Strap Iron into 6 ft pieces.
2. Cut all of the PVC into 4 ft pieces.
3. Use the drill and bit to drill holes 3/4″ from the ends of the 6ft Strap Iron
4. Drill the same holes in the ends of the left over 2 ft pieces of Strap Iron
5. Lay the 3, 8 ft pieces end to end tight together in a straight line.
6. Lay 2 of the 2 ft pieces centered UNDER the seams, and drill corresponding holes.
7. Measure and mark 12 spots, along the center of the 8 ft pieces for the weave poles.
These should be 20 to 24″ apart.
8. Insert a bolt into each of these 12 holes, and attach a lock washer and nut to each.
These bolts should be at least 2 inches long.
9. Use either Gorilla Glue, Epoxy, or similar to glue a nut into 1 end of each PVC pole.
10. Once glue is dry you can thread the individual poles onto the nuts.
11. With the cross braces still under the seams, put bolts through holes going down, and
secure with nuts and lock washers.
You should now have a complete, 3 section set of weave poles. Then can be used alone with 4 poles for practicing entrances, or together for the hole run. These can also be used in competition in all venues, since all of the cross braces have holes at the ends as well so they can be anchored down. Paint as desired, and don’t forget to alternate the tape stripes on the poles, =-=-=-=-=-= so the dogs have the best view.

Beverly made some of wood:

I used 1×3 10ft long pieces of wood.

Mark the wood every 20″ for the pole placement. This will make (3) 4-pole sections, with some wood left over. The middle section must have 10″ left on each end to match with the end sections when all sections are put together to make a set of 12. Extra wood cut off make “feet” or braces.

12 metal pipe flanges, 1/2′ to 3/4″ recepticle
screws just long enough to go through the flanges almost through the wood
12 pvc pieces to screw into the flanges to hold the poles
enough pvc to make 12 poles
metal pieces to attach the feet to the bases
tent stakes to hold feet to the ground

I just picked the flanges and walked over to the pvc area in Home Depot and played with the pvc fittings until they all screwed in together.

small saw or jigsaw
power screwdriver/drill

I guess total cost was about $30-$40 and these are nice and heavy.

For ideas on how to make one from rebar check out this link.

And this from another member of the agility-equipment forum, this one might be done using aluminum instead since it is lighter, though it bends easier and can be more expensive.:

Metal weave pole bases with no welding!

you can make them out of 2 1/2″ wide 3/16″ thick steel and 3/4″ round steel bar. Simply cut the metal strap into the right length for your weave pole spacing (a 6 pole set on 20″ spacing would be 101″ long) and then cut some legs from the same material about 12-14″ long. Cut the 3/4′ steel rod into 3″ long pieces. Then drill 3/8″ holes in the long strap every 20″ and into the legs at just one end so that the legs will only stick out to one side. Then drill holes into one end of the 3/4″ bar pieces about 1 1/2 to 2″ deep using a 11/32″ drill bit. Then tap the holes (Tap= make threads in the hole) You can buy a 3/8′” tap at your local hardware shop, along with the right size drill bit for the tap and the 3/8″drill bit.
To cut the metal you could use a hacksaw..or you can buy a 4″ angle grinder for about $15-$25 dollars and a metal cutting blade for $2, and makes this much much faster.
Once you have cut and drilled and taped all you do is take a 3/8″x1 1/4″ button head screw and pass it through the bottom of the long strap, then through a leg and then screw it into the 3/4″x3″ rod piece. Then simply bend the legs down slightlyto eliminate any possible wobble. If you are doing this on grass you might not even need to bother with bending the legs.

cost of metal $25
cost of bolts $1-$2
cost of tap $3-$5
cost of drill bits $2
cost of drill $15-$25
cost of Angle grinder $15-$25
cost of hacksaw $3-$8 (if you don’t use angle grinder)

Alot of the above can be borrowed or you might already own them. You can use a crescent wrench to turn the tap. Buy the metal from a metal suplier near you Look in phone book under metal suppliers. The only other thing you would need would be the poles themselves. use 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC and cut to size and slide onto the 3/4″ rods that stick up.

Tunnels – How to Stabilize them

Tunnels can be difficult to move and difficult to keep in place once you have them where you want them. Big dogs can shift them around, the wind can blow them out of place, and hard-hitting dogs can move them back a foot or two. So keeping them in place becomes important, particularly in a trial situation.

Some home-made solutions:

  • large plastic detergent bottles – these can also be used as course markers once you take the labels off of them. Big black letters stand out clearly on them. Fill with sand or water.
  • gallon milk jugs. Fill with sand or water with a bit of rubbing alcohol in it to prevent freezing and cracking.
  • Cheap backpacks from the dollar store. Spray with a water repellent solution. Then fill with sand OR put water into some heavy duty plastic bags and put into backpack.
  • old pairs of jeans or pants. If you sew the bottoms closed, you can fill them with sand and it makes a sort of saddle bag over the top of the tunnel. I suggest putting a trash bag in them first, and then fill the bag with sand or dirt…. to keep the moisture out of the sand/dirt. Or do the water in a bag trick.
  • use big cat litter bottles
  • small water proof camping/backpacking packs. The kind one uses when canoeing or out and about when you want to keep stuff dry. For an example go here.

As you can see, the sky is the limit. What do you have in your house that you can make work for tunnel stabilizers.

Now…for trialing situation you may need to look into something that is more durable. You may need to consider purchasing something specifically designed for this task.

  • tunnel bags. Example here.
  • PVC tunnel braces. Example here.
  • Tunnel stabilizers. New to me. example here.
  • I’ve seen but can’t find on-line – metal stabilizers that cradle the tunnel. Very good at the task, easy to stake down and tunnels DON’T move.  Ah…here’s one, not as big as what I’ve seen, but sort of an example.

All (homemade or purchased) require the use of straps.

One could consider using landscape gravel instead of using play sand for bags/bottles.

For people in the north, if you use water, you need to add salt (one part salt to three parts water) and or rubbing alcohol (one part alcohol and two parts water) to keep the water from freezing. But it is doable.

Contact Surfaces for Agility Equipment

A question often raised is how does one make a good contact surface for agility equipment.   Equipment such as the aframe, table, teetertotter (seesaw), and dog walk.

NADAC has approve a rubberized material for their contact equipment.  So if you are making trial quality equipment to their specs then you must follow their rules.     This of course goes for any for trial quality equipment you are making.  Make it suit the organization(s) that you will be holding trials for.    If your equipment is for home use only, then play around with what you feel comfortable doing.

So, covering the contact area

  1. paint, layer a thin layer of sand,  brush off access onto something so you can gather it up, paint, sand reuse what you can and/or add more, and paint.
  2. as above but use fine sawdust instead.
  3. Purchase  Skid Resistant paint.  This might come as a premixed paint, or as a package that you add to the paint and mix yourself.

These three are the most common used.  Perhaps you have something else that will work.

What people have found does not work:

Old roofing shingles (get too hot and sticky), carpet (for dogs who don’t like to get wet, wet carpet is just a no go for them), Gravel or very coarse sand used as paint/sand mix, etc.

Course Markers

People ask: what do folks use for cheap course markers?

Any of the following:

  • upside down pails – small ones like for sandboxes
  • upside down flower pots
  • wooden flats held together with a small piano hinge
  • cones from dollar store
  • rounds of PVC cut into 6-8 inch lengths
  • go to a horse shop and buy course markers there
  • 22 oz tumber cups from any dollar store
  • soccer cones
  • Hefty interlocking plates filled with sand. (They are plastic picnic plates with little snap-together edges, so you can use one plate as a cover for another.) and then use a set of stick on numbers at the hardware store — these won’t blow around
  • stackable heavy plastic bowls that won’t tip over
  • large plastic tumblers
  • stick on number sheets can be found at most office supply stores, or use permanent magic markers

As you can see, basically circular or cone shaped that will stand upright that you can think of just might work. See what you can figure. For at home use you certainly don’t need fancy. 🙂

If you have any suggestions just leave them in the comment box. 🙂

Cleaning Letters off of PVC

A question that often comes up on the agility building equipment lists that I am on is this: how does one clean the letters off of PVC in the easiest manner?

Now, this is one of those things that for at home use only equipment I really don’t want to expend the energy on, but if I were to make equipment for other folks, this is something I could see the value in doing…appearances mean much in customer service.

How to clean PVC, various methods

  • Fine gauge sandpaper and elbow grease, sand lengthways only, not in circles
  •  razor knife and score off the lettering, using as little pressure as needed
  • Use PVC cleaner
  • Acetone to remove the lettering on the PVC pipe, takes a bit of elbow grease as well – will work on all colours of lettering
  • Blue lettering comes off with carburetor cleaner
  • Lacquer thinner

There are pros and cons to each method.  Some use chemicals which means cleaning out of doors.  Some require a bit more work than others to get a good job done.   Try it out and see what works best for you.