DIY Dog Agility Jump (6 Quick & Fun Options)

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For the first part of our series for creating your own agility equipment for your dog, we’ll be starting making your own DIY dog agility jump! 

The premise is simple. Your dog moves over an obstacle. Easy enough, right?

We’ll walk you through the benefits, 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 jump, 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!

Getting started

Before we get started with our guide on creating your own DIY dog agility jump, let’s review some information that’s important before we begin. 

An important 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

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First, you want to make sure that your dog is able to handle jumping over obstacles with his 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. If you start with extremely low bars now, you can always add more of a challenge 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. Try something else, such as an agility tunnel or cavaletti that are lower impact. 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 own DIY dog agility jump to be 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

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The most common issue in our experience is your pup trying to go around or under the jump instead of over. Fortunately, this is easy to fix.

Initially, don’t give your dog any other way to go past the obstacle. If he’s trying to go under, cover or block the bottom. If he’s trying to go around, close in the sides. You can remove your guides later after your pup understands the activity better and is more willing to complete it. 

Not wanting to go over

Fortunately, the second most common issue is also easy to address. There are two different options for how to address this, especially if you made a DIY dog agility jump.

Lowering the obstacle height will increase the likelihood of going over the barrier, dramatically. Even if you just start with an awkwardly high stepover, you can increase the height later.  We recommend trying this step before the next one. After your pup gets used to walking over the barrier, increase the height in small increments.

The other 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 over. You may have to combine a barrier for the sides or bottom with the lure 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.

Equipment Options

Alright, we’ve finally reached the section on creating your own DIY dog agility jump. We’ll provide options for inside and outside, as well as if you need to be able to move them easily, want to build your own, or just want to buy one. 

Outside options

Pre-made

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There are two different routes you can go here. Personally, we found a lawn game kit at Walmart that had a set for ladder ball included and telescoped up and down for height adjustment. This allows us to adjust the height easily and fold it up when we aren’t using it. It was also something like $20 for two different jumps. Here’s a picture of ours.

You can also buy equipment that is marketed specifically for dog agility, but that tends to be comically expensive and it’s generally not great quality, either. However, it does tend to be more aesthetically pleasing and easier to adjust the height. Something like this from Chewy would be useful for the ease of adjustment but honestly is a bit expensive.

Temporary

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Making a temporary DIY dog agility jump is one of the easier pieces of equipment to create. Find two things you can use to prop up a bar and you have a jump. Some examples are 2 buckets and the handle of a tool, 2 stools/chairs and a tarp, or car jacks and a pool noodle.

Honestly, anything works and you can always add or subtract items to adjust the height of the bar as needed.

Build your own DIY dog agility jump

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If you’re interested in building your own, you can build your own DIY dog agility jump for $10! You’ll only need a piece of PVC (½ inch is more than appropriate) and a few connections that you can get at your local home improvement store. We recommend 4 Ts & 2 90-degree connections. If you don’t have any tools to cut PVC, that would be required, as well.

All you’ll have to do is cut 2 vertical pieces of the same length and 2 horizontal pieces of the same length. The 2 vertical pieces should be whatever height you want your dog to start at for jumping and the horizontal should be wide enough for your dog to jump across comfortably. Join the pieces into a box and put whatever scrap pieces you have left to make legs for stability. 

That’s it! 

If you need to adjust the height later, you can cut some length out or add more height with a coupler.

Here’s a list of supplies you’ll need:

  • 1 segment of PVC pipe (8 ft is recommended)
  • 2 PVC 90-degree fittings
  • 4 PVC T fittings

Optional supplies

  • 4 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)

Inside options

We have to call out an important consideration for a second time. 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 well-being to have some fun. 

Pre-made

We recommend following the same recommendations as for the outside options for this. The only real difference is ensuring your house has enough room for the jump to fit in comfortably. Other than that, the same recommendations apply.

Temporary

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The same recommendations apply to this as for the temporary outside setup. You can use a broom on a couch, small trash cans, a mop handle, or a dowel rod through your dog’s crate or carrier. There are plenty of different options to help you here!

Building your own DIY dog agility jump

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 narrower 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.

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.

Conclusion

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Creating obstacles that your dog can safely learn to jump over can be an easy, rewarding experience for both you and your dog. We recommend trying the temporary method initially. This will allow you and your dog to see if you enjoy the challenge without wasting any time or money. Afterward, if it’s an enjoyable activity, you either create your own DIY dog agility jump or buy something more permanent or just continue using the temporary obstacle!

We’d love to see your success with DIY agility! Share your photos of your dog trying out your own DIY dog agility jump or any other obstacles with us on Instagram by tagging @therulybully.

Have fun!

    Lincoln Schaefer

    Hi, I’m Lincoln!  I’m the owner & primary writer here at The Ruly Bully!  My wife and I have two dogs, Goomba & Prim, and a host of other critters in our home.  Feel free to send a message!  We love to hear your stories, too.

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