If you are considering starting agility training with your dog, the price of all the equipment can be daunting, but the good news is; making an obstacle course for your dog can be achieved with many odds and ends you have around the home.
Dog Agility is a lot of fun for both dog and owner and needn’t break the bank. This post is all about making a DIY dog tunnel. If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty and want to purchase a good one, you’ll find the best dog agility tunnel to buy here.
What is a Dog Agility Tunnel?
An agility tunnel is a fundamental obstacle in a dog agility course. They are usually made of vinyl material and have wire bands covering them to help the tunnel keep its shape.
The idea is to make your dog run through it as fast as possible and make it to the other side without you helping them.
Tunnels are a great test of speed, intelligence, and trust between you and your dog.
Most agility courses have straight tunnels that go on for between 10 ft and 20 ft. Some tunnels are long enough to be put into an ‘S’ shape, making them more challenging for the dog to conquer.
What can I use to make a dog tunnel?
Making a dog agility tunnel is very easy. You can create one out of general objects you may already have or buy a few extra cheap items such as a parachute tube or bungee cord.
You could use any of the following to set up a tunnel as part of an obstacle course for your furry friend:
- Laundry hampers
- Cardboard boxes or panels
- Garden hosepipe
- Hula hoops
- Tarpaulin or parachute fabric
- A parachute tube
- Old clothes
- Duvet covers
- A tape measure
- A PVC pipe or two
- A power saw (if you’re keen on DIY)
This might seem like an odd list but stick with us. You’ll need to find the desired position in your garden – plan out plenty of space if you want predetermined ramps, too. The more space your dog runs around in, the more confident they’ll become!
- The first and most popular way to make an agility tunnel is using collapsable laundry hampers. The great thing about hampers is that they already come with built-in rings to help the tunnels keep their shape. So, all you need do is cut out the bottom ring from the basket to provide access for your dog and sew a few laundry hampers together.
- The second option for making a homemade dog agility tunnel is cardboard boxes. These tunnels are super cheap to build. However, they do have their drawbacks. Firstly, they are not waterproof. Putting them even on damp grass will make the tunnel disintegrate quickly. It is also important to note that tunnels made of cardboard tend to lean or fall to one side, primarily through regular use!
- How about putting that old hosepipe to use? To create your agility tunnel, you could also use a hosepipe twisted inside a rolled-up tarpaulin or parachute fabric. However, ensure that the hosepipe is held against the tarpaulin with strong tape or glue to ensure that your dog does not trip over it inside the tunnel. You will also be better off using a hosepipe that is still relatively stiff to keep its shape. Make sure it’s taut to ensure your dog’s safety.
- If your kids have grown out of their hula hoops, you could have just what you need for a DIY agility course. You could use hula hoops inside of a tarp, an old duvet cover (make sure to cut out the end), or even old clothes stitched together. The latter will take time, but recycling old clothes is an excellent way.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make your tunnel. All you need is time, patience, and some reusable items from the local shop or garden. However, there is no denying that some of these options may not last very long and should be built with care.
Do also consider setting up fabric stakes and PVC pipes for stability – and break out that tape measure to ensure your DIY project has enough space – and that your dog sees either end of your tunnel!
Use sand-filled containers connected by a bungee cord to secure the ends of your tunnel, or purchase a few tent pegs to keep it from blowing away in the breeze.
DIY Agility Tunnel Dimensions
Agility tunnels usually measure between 10 ft and 20 ft and are 24 inches in diameter. You will need smaller tunnels if you start your dog in agility training. The easier they see the other side, the more confident they’ll tackle the tunnel.
Training Your Pup to Go Through an Agility Tunnel
For beginners, it can take some time and a lot of patience, but the process is rewarding.
You’ll give your dog some incredible mental stimulation and tons of fun. There are a few things that you can do to help them get through the tunnel quickly:
- Start with a straight tunnel. It’s not natural for a dog to go through this kind of space, and not seeing the other side may scare them. Curved, long tunnels are for experienced dogs only. Start your dog on a small, straight tunnel if you’re building your agility course.
- Ask for help. A great way of getting your pup started is by getting someone to hold them on the lead and send them in at one end while you call them from the other side. Then, call them enthusiastically and maybe start by offering them a treat at the end to make them want to get there quicker.
- Gradually increase the length of the tunnel. Do not go from one extreme to the other! Instead, gently grow the tunnel until you reach a point where your dog can go in one end and meet you at the other on their own.
If you’ve read up on how to make a dog agility tunnel but want to try your pup out on a full obstacle course, you should start looking for local dog agility trials. Finding a dog agility club in the UK is pretty simple – you need to head to the Kennel Club website, or AgilityNet, to find the nearest to you.
First of all, check the club’s entry requirements and ensure that your dog meets them. Most will accept any dog over one year old, but some may ask for your pup to be a little older.
Then, you will need to find a suitable class for your pup. The agility clubs have to separate dogs based on size to ensure that the obstacles are at the right height. For that, you will need to measure your dog or, depending on the club, have them officially measured by a professional.
Look at the dog agility training equipment when you arrive and ensure they are all up to standard. Are they clean? Are they steady? Make sure that no splintered or critical areas could hurt your pup on the course.
Now you know a bit more about how to creat a dog tunnel, it’s time to put your creative skills to the test.
Tunnels are some of the most common staples of agility trials and dog obstacle courses. However, you must always make sure you consider your dog’s size and dog’s height level before you start. After all, it is a full-body workout for both you and your pet!