Agility Equipment

Page under construction but rather than wait till its finished I thought I'd let you see the "Building site"!

Over the past 20 or so years we have seen many changes in Agility equipment. It's now far safer than it was and build quality is excellent. 

Of course these huge advances come with a price tag: A set of competition equipment costs around £6,000 and you need a flat bed truck to transport it.

For training is a set of competition equipment the best option? A set of equipment designed for training that can be easily transported, set up in minutes and quickly changed during training might be far more useful.

Many including me who competed at Champ' level did most of our training on training equipment. We spent more time training and less moving heavy equipment!

Having run a training group for 16 years many call me a dog trainer. I'm not, if you come to our group I don't train your dog. My role is to enable you to train your dog. 

The Dizzy Dogz Training Set

Over many years I've made a lot of Agility equipment and have a fairly well equipped workshop but my role now is to enable you to build some equipment. Developing designs has been interesting and peaceful.

No noisy machines or dust extractors, just a cheap handsaw (£6) and drill. The complete set will enable you to do amazing stuff but you only need a few bits to get started and if you move onto a full set you can still move it in and on a modest vehicle and set it up quickly.

Ready to start building?

Please don't be offended when I say I'm assuming you have little or no experience of woodwork and explain things in detail. Also if you have any questions email:

 dizzydogzagility@gmail.com

The Jumps

To make three you will need:

   Wickes

2X  38x63x2400mm timber 

2x  20x94x2400mm redwood PSE

A tip: When buying timber select the best. Lift it out and look along it from end to see if its straight. Also check for splits especially at ends.

1x  3000mm 32mm waste pipe solvent weld preferred

   Ebay

3.5 x 40mm and 3.5 x 25mm screws Again used in other builds so, quantity/price point applies.

Jump cups.

Sandpaper 120 and 240 grit

Adhesive. I use Ever build 502 and 250ml goes a long way.

Time to make sawdust!

A tip before you start. You want neat square cuts. You could get a set square but you'll have plenty of square things to use: Picture, birthday card, cutting board etc. 

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Birthday card square.

Take 38x63x2400 and mark three 80cm lengths. Check measurements, using your square draw a line across timber then cut. Do same with other piece.

Take 20x94x2400 and mark three 40cm lengths and three 30cm lengths and three 10cm lengths. Check measurements then cut. Do same with other piece.

Put the saw away and take out the sandpaper. There are 2 elements to this. The first is to remove sharp edges, corners and any rough bits. 120 grit is best for this. Second is to make a smooth finish. Well worth the effort for the finished result.

Time to start assembly. First job is to attach the back leg to the vertical. This attaches to the 38mm face. This will be glued and screwed in place. When driving screws into wood be sure to drill pilot holes. This prevents splitting the wood. For a 3.5mm screw use a 2.5mm drill.

This needs to be square and this time I used a CD case! Apply glue then drill and fit the first screw in the middle. Check to be sure it's square before drilling and fitting a screw either side of this one but stay 15/20 mm from edge. Snug the screws down so they pull into the wood a little and heads are flush with the surface. Mark this one because it's your assembly jig for the rest.

When considering training equipment a jump is a jump, weaves are weaves and tunnels are tunnels but the contact trainer is an interesting design challenge.

A number of manufacturers produced ones like this. I've not seen one for years!

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In 2009 I designed the one below. Total length is 5m and the tapered section is 2.8m long rather than suddenly going from 90cm 30cm. Also includes a see saw.

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Cutting details shows the  gradual taper and yes, it comes from one sheet!

If anyone wants to build a timber one the picture below may be useful.

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I'll be adding build details for this later with aluminium frame! I almost hear you saying you can't work with aluminium. Fear not, my aluminium supplier can do it all pre-cut to length so, it's only drilling holes and bolting it together. Easier than working with wood and it won't rot or warp.

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Mk 1 jump with cups. This design goes back a long way and current design is based on it.

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Mk 2 wing shown with tapes added. If you make some jumps and decorate them please let me have pictures and I'll add them.

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Mk 3 the current "Easy build" design/

You now have alternative ideas.

1) You could screw the long foot on but you may want to transport and store them. If you can swivel that long foot or remove it the jump wings may suit you better. This is done with an 8mm x 75mm  coach bolt, a penny washer and a nut. Ebay but check several suppliers for best price.  Yes, you need a 13mm spanner but they can be as little as £2-40 including postage!

2) You could simply screw cups on but they cost almost £1 each. An alternative is to use 1 jump cup that can be  set at any height. This way you can have all 5 heights. Buy one, get four free! You could simply attach one jump cup to the vertical and get started leaving the sliding gizmo as a later project!

Those white plastic blocks have minimal pressure on them but are close to the edge so, drill pilot holes and screw them in by hand not an electric drill. Leave a little space between blocks and timber so they are free to slide. The bungee is 5mm. Ebay but again check several suppliers for best price. Black is often cheaper than colours.

Finishing. Sure, you could paint them but I prefer to use preservative. It soaks into the wood and protects it. I used Barratine Summer Tan. I don't recommend "Fence paint" Pretty colours but it won't protect the wood.

Finally: Cut the waste pipe into three 1m lengths, remove any sharp edges and do some Agility.

Another idea we are working on:

We explain how to build things and hope you do. We feel this is only doing half the job so, we plan to make some short videos.

Eg: You made 3 jumps, we'll do a video showing you some of the things you can do. I say "Some" because all the things you can do with 3 jumps would be a very long video!

The Long Jump
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The bag to put the parts in is a very handy extra!

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After sanding, from the high end measure and mark on the top surface 7cm from the end. Then measure and mark at 27, 47, 67, 87 and 107cm. These are the positions of the plastic blocks.

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How to avoid loosing your spanner!

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Folded for storage or transport.

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The long jump is quick easy build. The shopping list is:

1x 38x63x2,400mm timber

1x 20 x 94x2,400mm redwood PSE

2x 32mm x 3,000mm solvent weld waste pipe

modesty blocks

3.5x40mm screws.

Build cost is around £28. In picture to left it's shown using 4 weave poles as markers (not included in costing)

From 48x63mm timber cut 2 at 110cm and 2 at 9cm. From 20x94 cut 8 at 25cm. Using the gauge shown below grew and screw verticals and 9cm block as shown in picture below using the "Tomato" gauge to adjust height. Screw feet on as shown but do not glue them so they can be rotated for storage/transport. 

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                          What next?                                                                                                                 If you have built some jumps, possibly a long jump, hope you're having fun and developing your skills. Perhaps you would like a tunnel? You can't make one so, you'll have to buy one. These range from rubbish to the ones we use at Dizzy Dogz. These get hard use and they are left out in all weathers and last a good 10 years. Sure, they cost £250 each and cradles or sandbags cost about £100 a pair.

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Cut 4 at 80 cm and 4 at 35cms.

Mark 4cms from each end of 80 cm pieces and drill 16 to 20 mm hole

Mark 7 cm from each end of 35 cm pieces

and drill.

Sanding time. Not exciting but time well spent.

Assembly: Mark 15cm from ends of 80cm pieces. Place the components on bench. Those lines are the outside edge of the 35cm pieces. Check that you have about 36 cm between them and then draw a line to show where inside edge is, this shows you where to apply glue.    Glue and screw. I'm sure by now you'll know how to make sure your joint is square. 

Making the straps:

When cutting webbing melt the end with a lighter or candle to prevent fraying. Cut the 10meter length into 4 equal pieces. Fit the buckles with slide bars as shown below and thread as show in picture above.

I'm waiting  for a tunnel to be delivered and  will be using it and reviewing it soon.

I have designed and tested tunnel cradles.  I prefer these to the expensive aluminium ones we use! A very easy build and you can make a pair for under £28.

Tunnel cradles, shopping list for a pair:

Wickes

2x    38 x 63 x 2,400mm timber

Ebay

10m  25mm webbing

4x  25mm cam buckles

4x   25mm 3 bar slides

60mm x 4.5 screws stainless recommended pre-drill 3 or 3.2m

You may want to buy more webbing items. Perhaps enough to make some handy straps to hold tunnel together when transporting it. See below.

Though not essential you can refine the cradle by rounding the section where the tunnel rests on the long sections. Coarse sandpaper on a block or a cheap rasp and finish with sandpaper. I reckon this is easier once its assembled, you have more to hold.

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This is a Naylor medium weight 3m tunnel. I'm impressed, this is a quality tunnel and very good value.  It weighs 10kg and cost £127 including delivery so, tunnel and cradles for £150. Sure the ones we use at DD are 4m long but with aluminium cradles: £350 each! I'm sure this Naylor medium weight is perfect for a small group and would last for years but Naylor do a heavier one which they recommend for "Heavy traffic" !3kg and an extra £10.. Suggest you get a tunnel from nayloragility.co.uk be it medium or heavy.

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If you have made the cradles you'll know how quick and easy it is to make straps.  2 or 3 are handy when transporting a tunnel.

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                        Wall jump

The wall is a very bulky obstacle and costs over £400 but not this one! Still working on design and yes, those are yoga bricks. As shown it's 40cms though will go higher. It fits in a bread/cake tray and weighs under 4kg.. I'll add pictures as I make progress.

Contact trainer update:

I don't need another one but will build one to prepare a build guide. Aluminium frame components pre-cut to length plus Elliotis ply comes to £203. Add timber for stand and seesaw base etc and you'll have a super contact trainer for about £250!  With this you can develop contact skills, transport it, and set it up quickly     for less than a tenth of the price of a full set of contacts.