What Dog Agility Equipment do You Need?
We are pretty sure that every dog agility team would love to have several agility fields set with all the equipment needed for every venue, but that’s unrealistic. So you are left with this hard question of what you need, what you can share, and what only needs to be done during class.
The other problem with this question is that for the most part it will be different for every team. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you choose what you want to buy, borrow, or practice in class.
What equipment or handling does my dog have difficulty with and why? Can the problem be solved with more foundation work or would more interaction with the obstacle help? If more interaction is the answer, it would be beneficial to purchase one or find a way to borrow time with a friend’s equipment.
Do I have room for the equipment? If your dog is having problems with their contacts, not everyone has the room or finances for an a-frame or dog-walk. There are ways around that by implementing foundation work using painted plank boards or a contact trainer. These are small items that will help your dog learn contact behavior, and steady footing on planks. Once you have the basics down, practice during class will be a breeze for your dog.
Does your dog enjoy it? If your dog is having an issue with the equipment do to fear or aversion, having it at home to “play” with may be the ticket. The same is true if there is a piece of equipment your dog loves. You can use it as a reward or for a quick pick-me-up lesson. For example, a five minute tunnel training session may be just the ticket to get rid of a work week funk. Or, travel to a friends house and “play” to get your dog excited about competing.
What basic equipment should every team have? Every team should have access to a couple jumps, a small tunnel, and a set of four weave poles minimum. These can be set up in living rooms and hallways if needed and give you tons of opportunity to work on a vast array of handling skills. Weave poles are the only piece of equipment that takes loads of muscle memory. The more practice, especially on entries, the better.
Remember, if you have room for permanent equipment or travel equipment, invite a friend over or head to the park for more practice. Take your dog to a friend’s house if they have equipment and practice there. It is all about proofing and sharing the love of this great sport with other dog owners.