Find The Best Dog Agility Equipment In The UK For 2018!

Treat your pet this year to the finest dog agility equipment the UK has to offer. If you are trying to improve then we have all the tunnels and jumps for you to succeed. 

Dog agility is a popular sport and a great way of building a bond between owner and dog, this fun canine activity also increases self-confidence and improves behaviour through obedience and interaction with other dogs. As well as the most obvious reason, it provides valuable exercise that both dog and owner can enjoy.

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You may think agility is just for competitions and only breeds such as collies and spaniels will excel but nowadays there are tons of dog agility classes throughout the UK and the equipment can be purchased so you can even practice in your own garden.


Getting Started

There will likely be a dog agility class in your area you can search online or ask at your local vets for recommendations and the Kennel Club has a list of registered clubs on their website which you can find here

A good tip is to visit first so your four-legged friend can become familiar with the equipment and couple of training sessions a week is enough to begin perhaps combined with some practice at home.

It helps to have some equipment at home, this will help your dog become accustomed to the different obstacles, a beginner’s kit usually includes jumps, tunnel weave poles and maybe a hoop.

Dogs of eighteen months and older can compete but you can start agility training at around a year old starting with jumps at a low height and make it fun.

Agility should be fun for both dog and owner, so it is best to keep sessions brief, little and often. If you make it enjoyable, then it is more likely, your dog will respond positively to you. Dogs reach their prime in agility from 4 to 6 years of age, so it is essential to have a long-term view and not rush things.

Its also vital that your dog is of a healthy weight, because if they are over or under weight and start trying to complete difficult agility courses, it could have a detrimental affect on there health. Especially there respiratory system and heart, make sure there breathing is optimal and that there isn't too much pressure on the heart after continuous training sessions.

The weaves are the by far the hardest to teach and require accuracy. This part of the training can be frustrating at first, but it is essential to be patient; go slow, keep it interesting and it will come.

There are some excellent online resources and books such as “The Beginner's Guide to Dog Agility” by Laurie Leach which can help with training, but the thing to remember is to; keep it fun and practice when you are both in the right frame of mind to avoid getting frustrated.

Agility training is not just for dogs either your position on the course directly affects your furry friend’s flow and performance. Get it right and you just may have a top competitor and if not, you will still enjoy having fun with your dog. 


Will My Dog be Good at Agility?

Source: Pixabay.com

Over 90% of dogs taking part in the large dog category at agility competitions are Border Collies; they are highly intelligent, loyal and have tons of energy to burn making them ideal for the sport.

However, that being said, any dog can do agility with Poodles, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Labradors, Terriers and mixed breeds all holding their own in competitions 

The first thing to establish when deciding if your canine companion is going to enjoy agility is his energy level. A dog with medium to high energy levels may enjoy letting off steam on an agility course, couch potatoes not so much.

You and your dog also need to enjoy spending time together independent thinkers who will only obey if it suits them usually do not do so well at agility.

Neither do dogs who are easily distracted dogs who concentrate on a toy or a ball have a strong focus which can be applied to agility.

If your canine companion displays any of these qualities, you may have a future agility champion, but if competing isn't up your street, you can still have a great deal of fun in your garden.

Types of Dog Agility Equipment

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    Jumps
    Dog agility jumps come in a variety of styles including simple bar jumps, double and triple combinations, hoop jumps which can be plastic or even tyres, which the pooch has to jump through and long jumps.
    All these should be adjustable depending on the height of the dog. You can find the Kennel Club recommended height options here.
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    Weave Poles
    These are lines of poles that your four-legged friend weaves in and out of, there should be a distance of 60cm between each pole, with the minimum number of poles being 5 and the maximum allowed in competition 12, they are a fantastic way of improving your dog’s flexibility.
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    Contact Obstacles
    Contact obstacles are not normally found in dog agility starter sets as they can be bulky and usually take the form of seesaws, dog walks or A-frames they involve the dog walking on the equipment and touching the correct area which is painted a different colour.
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    Pause Table
    A Pause-Table as the name suggests is a flat table where the dog must lie in the down position certain amount of time, difficult in the excitement of an agility course. You don’t need to buy one of these as any box or table will do as long as it has a non-slip surface, is sturdy and the right height for your dog.
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    Tunnels
    Tunnels can be either fully open or collapsed at one end where the dog needs to push his way through. They should have a diameter of at least 2 feet and be a minimum of 10 feet in length to go out.


Some Hilarious Highlights from the Rescue Dog Agility at Crufts

PawHut Pet Agility Training Equipment Dog Play Run Jump Obedience Training Set Adjustable (Pole + Hoop + Hurdle)

This complete agility training set by Pawhut is fantastic for beginners. It can be used from an early age as the heights of the jumps can be adjusted. Strong spikes mean they can be securely held in the ground and there is a bag to pack them away when not in use.

PROS

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    Portable
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    Lightweight
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    Value for money

CONS

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    N/A

6 dog agility weave poles which convert into 3 dog agility training jumps

This ingenious JesseJump agility set consists of 6 training weaves which can also be converted into 3 adjustable jumps. The poles have detachable galvanized steel spikes for when they are inserted into the ground. This set also comes with instructions which help teach your dog to weave

PROS

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    Sturdy
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    Durable
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    2 in 1

CONS

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    No spacer for weave poles

Dog Agility Tunnel Tunnel Game with Pegs and Carry Case, blue, 200 cm

This Sturdy agility tunnel is made of thick nylon material and comes in 3 different lengths. It is flexible, waterproof and can be adjusted to different shapes. It can be folded and placed in the bag provided for easy storage.

PROS

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    Lightweight
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    Flexible
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    3 sizes

CONS

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    Not suitable for large dogs
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    Bit flimsy 

Trixie Dog Activity Agility Seesaw, 300 54 34 cm

This excellent seesaw has a special rubber coating to ensure safety and good grip and is made from treated pine making it weatherproof. It is extremely sturdy and suitable for dogs weighing up to 80 kg. It also comes with an instruction booklet with tips for training.

PROS

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    Great for medium to large breeds
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    Sturdy
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    Well-made

CONS

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    Takes time to put together

Lixit Jump Hoop Dog Agility Starter Equipment

This light-weight, agility hoop is easy to assemble and is the perfect addition to any agility equipment. It has 6 height positions making it suitable for both small and large dogs and the diameter of the hoop is 20". The hoop comes with a handy carrying bag for compact storage.

PROS

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    Easy to assemble
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    Adjustable
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    Handy storage bag

CONS

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    Spikes break easily
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    Bit flimsy

Rosewood Dog Agility Slalom includes Bag

These lightweight poles can be used as part of an agility course or on their own, and are a great way of having fun with your dog. The set comprises of 5 flexible slalom poles and 5 ground spikes meaning the slalom can be set up in a garden or field and the entire kit fits comfortably into the bag provided,

PROS

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    Lightweight
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    Portable
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    Fun

CONS

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    Spikes can break

Colourful jessejump dog agility training starter kit

jessejump starter kit comprises of- Jessejump stick in the ground weave set consisting of 6 training weave poles with spacing webbing and instructions, 2 adjustable jumps, and a training hoop which also can be adjusted to any height. All the poles are made from impact resistant UPVC which is weather resistant.

PROS

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    Heavy duty spikes
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    Comes with official Kennel Club heights
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    Great starter kit

CONS

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    N/A

Rosewood Small Dog Agility Hoop

The Rosewood Small Dog Agility Hoop is made from extremely durable, soft foam board and sturdy plastic. Designed for small dogs the height is adjustable and because it requires no tools is easy to assemble making it perfect for use in the home park or garden.

PROS

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    Can be used indoors
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    Adjustable
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    Easy assembly

CONS

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    Foam sides a bit flimsy

Orig. Callieway Agility Slalom Agility Weaves, Funnel Slalom/Channel Weaves (FCI)

Designed for serious competitors these Agility weaves conform fully with UK Kennel Club standards. The open parallel style is easy for beginners and as the dog learns the poles become narrower and straighter making training easier.

PROS

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    No 1 bestseller in Germany
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    Sturdy
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    Simple to build

CONS

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    Not cheap

Conclusion

Beginners can buy garden agility equipment or even make their own obstacles, but cheap dog agility equipment is unlikely to meet Kennel Club requirements so if you are really going to get involved in the sport it may be advisable to spend a bit more and buy the best you can afford.

It is best to start with the jumps and move onto the more difficult obstacles, but there are some excellent agility starter kits available which include the poles and hoops too.

It's also important to know what type of surface to train your dog on. From past experience, the best option as always been artificial grass because its clean, doesn't get torn up and the dogs dont traipse mud through the house like they would with normal grass. Make sure which ever surface you use, that it doesn't damage there paws, anything like paving or concrete would not be suitable. 

Agility is enjoyable for both dog and owner and can help with dogs who have excess energy and the destructive behaviour (see here how to keep them occupied) associated with that.

You don’t need to own a Border Collie almost any dog will enjoy agility training and it can build self-confidence and strengthen the bond between dog and owner.

Give it a try, you may not be competing in the next world championship but both you and your best friend are guaranteed to have a lot of fun! 

John Devlin

Owner - Dogsbarn.com

 

Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!

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