Dogs, as the saying goes, are man’s best friend, so it's only right and logical that we might want to spend some quality time with our buds. Walks in the park and tossing the Frisbee on the beach are great, but if you really want to engage the human-canine relationship—and have a really good time while you’re at it—you might want to think about setting up a dog agility course in your backyard or garden.

Bill Greenblatt, Getty Images
Bill Greenblatt, Getty Images

As some of you might be wondering right about now, what exactly is a dog agility course? Basically, it’s a doggy obstacle course. Owners of well-trained dogs (or not-so-well-trained) run their pooches through a series of obstacles that test their dogs', well, agility, and their ability to follow commands. It’s a sort-of sport that’s growing in popularity across the planet. So why not give it a try? Your dog is worth it, right?

There are a few things you’ll either need to build, buy or somehow procure (aka borrow indefinitely) in order to set up your backyard or garden dog agility course. Here’s a list of the most common obstacles—pretty standard across the board, really—that you'd find on a typical course:

  • standard jumps
  • teeter board
  • tire jumps
  • collapsed tunnel
  • tunnel
  • weave poles
  • pause table
  • dog walk

If cash flow isn’t a problem, you can simply purchase all of the items you’ll need. If you have time, the skills, and want to save a bit of money, you can also build or improvise (from existing supplies) everything yourself—from the tire jump to the teeter board. After you check out a couple of how-to guides online, visit your local hardware store and pick up some PVC pipes and joints, wooden boards, screws and other various tools and materials. You’ll be on your way to creating an incredible agility course.

Building the actual course should be tons of fun. You and your kids might even want to have a go on it when it’s finished. You'll also enjoy helping your dog move over, through, around, between and under the many obstacles.

Of course, your dog should already be able to respond to at least a few basic commands, like sit, stay and come, before you begin training, since Fido will be off the leash most of the time. If you have an unruly dog, you might want to invest in a few elementary dog-training classes. You’ll be happy that you did, and so will your dog.

Scott Halleran, Getty Images
Scott Halleran, Getty Images

Things may or may not go smoothly at first, depending on the dog in question, but improving as you go is part of the fun. A dog agility course is a great way to make use of your garden and backyard, and spend quality afternoons with your pooch and family at the same time.

dog agility course tire jump

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