Doing agility with your German Shepherd can be a fun and great activity to do whether you do it for hobby or competitions.
In fact, according to AKC, dog agility is one of the top 5 dog sports where German Shepherds shine. The other four competitive activities are herding, obedience/rally, tracking, and Schutzhund.
If you’re looking to start agility training for your German Shepherd, here are the three best German Shepherd agility equipment kits that I would recommend.
1. Dog Agility Equipment Complete Package
- Durable, Easy to assemble and completely portable. USA Made!
- 1 Single Bar Jump | 1 Octagon Hoop Jump | 6 Weave Poles with Spacer
Dog Agility Equipment Complete Package by Dog Agility Shop, LLC (link to Amazon) is one of the best agility equipment packages that you’ll find in the market.
The price is lower compared with some other agility equipment sets. It’s a perfect set if you want to train your GSD just for a hobby.
With this set, you can train your GSD to jump and weave.
Here’re two videos that will show you how:
It’s easy to assemble and disassemble. Each jump is individually wrapped with very clear, easy to follow assembling instructions. The assembly only took me 5 minutes, and it could not have been simpler.
The packages come with:
- 1 single bar jump
- 1 octagon hoop jump
- 6 weave poles with space
It works as described and holds up well for a long time. My friend has used it for 2 years now without any problem.
2. Affordable Agility Agility in the Bag by Affordable Agility
- Features a 36" wide adjustable bar jump, 6 Weave Poles, Tire jump, pvc Pause Box and 3 ft tunnel with closed chute. Lightweight, adjustable, pvc obstacles.
- Bar jump is 36" wide w/adjustable jump height up to 26". Weave poles are spaced at 24" and the poles are 33" tall. Tire jump has a 24" diameter tire, with adjustable height. Tunnel is 3 ft long with 22" diameter. Removable chute is 8 ft long. Pause Box is a 36" pvc square frame.
This Affordable Agility Agility in the Bag (link to Amazon) is more expensive than an agility equipment kit by Dog Agility Shop, but the package comes with more pieces of equipment.
It’s the best deal if you are looking to train your dog for dog agility competition since it mimics the real equipment used in the actual competition.
It comes with 36″ adjustable bar jump, 6 weaves poles, tire jump, PVC pause box, and 3 ft tunnels with a closed chute.
The package also comes with a carrying bag and vinyl tape to create your own obstacle design. The carrying bag is quite large and fits all the equipment nicely.
Since it’s designed to be mobile, It is easy to assemble and disassemble; you can fit all the equipment into a carrying bag, bring it to various locations, set it up quickly, and in less than 5 minutes your dog is ready to navigate the obstacle course.
3. Affordable Agility Travel Jump Set (4 Jumps and Carry Bag).
- Features 4 Portable, Adjustable Jumps that only weigh 14 lbs total.
- Jumps are 36" wide and feature adjustable heights from 4" up to 24".
Affordable Agility Travel Jump Set (link to Amazon) is another excellent agility equipment set made by Affordable Agility. It features 4 portable, adjustable jumps.
It also comes with a carrying bag and vinyl tape for decorating your own jump obstacle course.
Just like other agility equipment sets made by Affordable Agility, this set is created for easy mobility in mind.
The total weight of all the jumps is no more than 14 lbs. And it’s easy to assemble and disassemble, so you can carry it around in the carrying bags and move it from location to location.
I’m totally impressed with the quality of the carrying bag. It’s hefty and could carry more than the weight of the agility bars.
Some of you might argue about the price; you might think it’s a lot cheaper to go to the local hardware and make the equipment yourself.
However, it actually costs a lot more if you buy each item separately (different length of PVC pipe, PVC elbows, flex drain pipe, drain coupler, link chain, and more) to make the equipment yourself, not forget to mention the pain of calculating, cutting, and finding the right fit.
Different Types of Dog Agility Equipment
The basic dog agility course consists of jumps, tunnels, teeter, weave poles, and pause table.
Whether you’re looking to buy the ready-made agility equipment set or make it yourself, you need to remember your backyard course should consist of those five different types of agility equipment.
How to Make Your Own DIY Dog Agility Course
Jumps are the main obstacle equipment in dog agility obstacle course. There are many different types of jumps: winged, wingless, double jumps, spread jumps, panel, wall jumps, tire jumps.
There are also other specialized jumps that you can see in dog sports competitions such as water jumps, brush jumps, and wishing well.
For beginners, you want to start with standard jumps.
Standard jumps can be made using stacking cinderblocks on top of one another. After that, you need to get strips of plywood and place them on top of the stacking cinderblocks.
You need to adjust the height of the jumps depending on the height of your German Shepherds. You may want to start by putting the bar on 16″ then progress from there gradually.
Healthy adult German Shepherds that have been trained well in agility can jump at 26″.
Tire jumps are another great obstacle equipment for German Shepherds who just started in agility.
To make tire jumps for your course, you can use an old bike tire or car tire and hang them from a sturdy tree branch.
Make sure the tire opening is large enough for your dog to jump through.
You may want to read this article from cuteness.com for detailed instructions on how to build your own DIY tire jump.
3. Weave Poles
Weave poles consist of a series of upright poles that the dogs navigate in between. In dog sports competitions, they are lined up in complex order and used to test the dog’s agility and ability.
You can make weave poles by sticking 10 to 15 ski poles or PVC poles into the ground. Make sure there is enough space between each pole so your dog can safely weave in and out around each pole.
4. Climbing Obstacles
A list of dog agility equipment included in the climbing obstacles category is a Dog Walk, A-Fame, and Teeter Board.
To make a Dog Walk, you can use a picnic bench, or you can construct one by getting a 12-foot piece of plywood and place them across 2 cinderblocks.
To use it, your dog needs to climb each obstacle and touch a contact zone (usually yellow paint) at the end of each board to finish the challenge.
There are two types of tunnels that are used on an Agility training: Pipe or rigid tunnel and chute or collapsed tunnel.
Pipe tunnel is a little bit hard to be made on yourself because of the wiring and construction. It’s a lot easier to build your own collapsed tunnel.
Collapsed tunnels obstacle can be made using a plastic collapsible children's tunnel that you can get from Amazon for less than $20.
Many dogs love this obstacle, try it and see how happy your GSD is as he enters the barrel and crawls through it to appear on the other side.
6. Pause Table
A pause table is a place for your dog to stop and take a break after navigating through a series of obstacles.
In dog sports competitions, the judges give a score on how long and how calm your dog can stay on the pause table. So you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this pause table.
A pause table can be made from an old table that sits low to the ground. Make sure the table is stable enough for your dog to stay on it.
Dog Agility Course Design
The following are some of my favorite dog agility course design:
German Shepherds Dog Agility Competition
If you’re interested and you think your GSD is ready to compete in dog agility competition, you may want to visit the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA) website for some information about the requirements before entering the contest, and when and where the next event will be held.