For the next part of our series on creating your own agility equipment for your pup, we’ll be explaining how to create your own DIY dog agility hoop!
This is another easier one! It’s easily a jump but through an object instead of only over.
We’ll walk you through the common issues & fixes, as well as how to make or buy different pieces of equipment. Whether you’re inside or outside, want to build your own DIY dog agility hoop, or just want to buy equipment, we have a solution for everyone.
In case you missed the general article, here’s the link. Make sure to check our blog for additional how-to articles as we post the most common obstacles and equipment for agility training!
Before we get started with our creating your own DIY dog agility hoop, let’s review some information that’s important to revisit.
A crucial consideration to note if you’re performing jumps inside is to make sure your dog will have adequate traction when jumping or landing. If at all possible, try to have your obstacle on a rug or carpet instead of slick vinyl or tile. Outside is less of an issue, but try to stay away from slick surfaces, uneven ground, or any object that would be unpleasant if you run into it.
As always, please proceed carefully before starting any physical activity with your dog. If you are unsure, consult an expert, trainer, or vet. We are providing this guide for informational purposes, based on our own experiences and what works for the majority of pups.
Things to watch out for
First, you want to make sure that your dog is able to handle jumping over obstacles with his current physical activity level. If your dog is a couch potato or has never jumped over anything before, it’s best to start slowly with this. We recommend starting with an extremely wide and low target first. We can always reduce the size or increase the height later.
If your dog is visibly sore from performing any activity, give him rest for a few days and evaluate how he or she is doing at that point. The primary goal of beginner agility is to have fun, and we’re trying to avoid any negative associations with the activity.
If your dog has no real activity level at the moment, we’d recommend not doing any of the higher-impact activities for a while until he or she is used to being more active. Imagine how your muscles & joints would feel if you haven’t run in years and tried to do hurdles. It’s the same for your dog.
There are much lower-impact agility options to start with, such as weave, tunnel, and dog walks (ramps), although it is easy to modify your DIY dog agility hoop so that it is much lower-impact.
Again, we recommend consulting with an expert (vet, trainer, or other professional) if you’re not sure of your dog’s ability to handle any new activity.
Common issues & fixes
Trying to go under or around
This is similar to the last article on jumps, just with a hoop instead of a bar. Fortunately, the troubleshooting is pretty similar.
As the first step, remove the options for your dog to avoid the behavior you want. Initially, your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your dog to perform the behavior. If your pup is trying to go under the hoop, block the bottom. If they are trying to go around, barrier the edges with a chair or other item to “funnel” them into the obstacle.
You can remove these guide rails from your DIY dog agility hoop later once your pup understands the expected behavior and is comfortable with it.
Not wanting to go over
The second most common issue is also easy to address. There are two ways to get past this issue.
Initially, we recommend a combination of lowering the obstacle height and making sure your obstacle is large enough. Even if your pup is simply walking through a hoop, they will learn the behavior expected. We recommend combining this idea with the second method. This will help incentivize even the more stubborn pups through the hoop.
The second method is to find whatever your dog has a high drive for (favorite toy or snack) and get your pup moving quickly. Have him go straight toward what you want him to jump through.
You may have to combine this with a barrier for the sides or bottom for the highest chance of success. This works best if you have a dog who has an extremely high food drive, like our girl Prim, and if your DIY dog agility hoop can easily accommodate these modifications.
Now let’s dive into how to create your own DIY dog agility hoop. We provide options for inside and outside, as well as options for if you need to be able to move them easily, want to build your own, or just want to buy one.
Unlike our previous articles with bar jumps, there are some reasonable options for jumping through hoops that are pre-made. We haven’t tried this one, personally, as we use a combination of a temporary hoop and one we made our own, but it would have everything we’re looking for in a premade option.
In our experience, quality doesn’t matter quite as much for this piece of equipment as it does for some of the others, since your dog will not be putting weight on it.
There are a multitude of different options that you can use for a DIY dog agility hoop. Anything that has a hole for your dog to jump through is perfect. Whether you’re using a hula hoop (what we use most of the time) or some pieces of plywood you threw together with a hole in the middle, your pup will understand the concept.
We’re partial to the hula hoop due to the price, availability, and ability to adjust the height easily based on how your dog is feeling. Try a few different ideas out and see what works best for you!
Build your own DIY dog agility hoop for outside
If you’re interested in building your own DIY dog agility hoop, it can be done for $15 or less! It’s extremely similar to the DIY jump/over article with a small change.
For materials, we’ll need some ½ inch or similar size PVC tubing (approximately two 8-foot sections should be more than enough), four Ts of the same size, and two 90s, as well. You’ll also want something to cut PVC if you don’t have a tool already.
Similar to the jump/over, you’ll want to cut two pieces of PVC the same length that is wide enough for your dog to jump through and two pieces that will be tall enough for your dog to fit through. If you’re not sure, cut them a little larger than you think. You can always trim some off if you guess too large. Make them into a box with the two 90s on the top and two Ts on the bottom bar.
The difference between this and the over-obstacle is that instead of putting the box on the ground, we’re going to have longer pieces of PVC before the legs. This’ll put the box up in the air, which makes a hoop (it’s a square, but your dog won’t care). Use whatever scraps you have left to make legs for stability.
If you need to adjust the height later, you can cut some length out or add more height with a coupler, no problem!
Here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:
- 2 segments of PVC pipe (two 8 ft sections are recommended)
- 2 PVC 90-degree fittings
- 4 PVC T fittings
- PVC caps (if you want to cover the ends so water doesn’t get inside)
- PVC cutting tool (if you don’t already have something to do this with)
- PVC primer & cement (if you want to make certain pieces permanently attached)
We have to reiterate this important consideration for a second time, as with jumps & over. We recommend making sure your dog can jump to and from a surface that isn’t slick and doesn’t move. We don’t want to risk our dog’s health and wellbeing to have some fun.
We recommend using the same options as with the outside premade jump options. These obstacles tend to be smaller, lighter, and easier to move around than some of the others, so there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel or create more work for yourself.
When you need a temporary hoop setup, the hula hoop becomes an even better option. If you have a few different pieces of furniture available, you can wedge them into a couch like the picture above. If you don’t, you can grab any two pieces of furniture and use them to help hold it up, as in the other picture. If all else fails, you can simply hold it for your dog.
Build your own DIY dog agility hoop for inside
You can use or create the same PVC setup as recommended in the outside options, but there are a few different requirements to keep in mind.
Depending on your dog’s size, you may want this to be taller or shorter. Typically, we have much less room inside than outside and the smaller jumps allow your dog to still practice the commands without overshooting the obstacle and running into a couch or other piece of furniture inside. For hoop jumps, the higher the obstacle, the further away your dog will land.
Like the other indoor equipment, we try to keep these very portable and easy to store. For example, if you don’t use PVC cement, you can take apart the legs and reduce the area required to store this obstacle. It helps to be able to put away the obstacle, especially if you have a few different pieces of equipment or don’t have a ton of space to store things.
Creating obstacles and practicing agility work with your dogs can be affordable and rewarding for both you and your pup! We recommend trying the temporary methods first or rigging up another removable option, so you can determine whether you and your dog enjoy practicing agility. You can always transition to more permanent setups or create your own DIY dog agility hoop!
We’d love to see your success with DIY agility! Share your photos of your dog trying out your own DIY dog agility hoop with us on Instagram by tagging @therulybully.