How to Buy Used Agility Equipment

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How to Buy Used Agility Equipment Dog agility is a type of sport in which a handler guides a dog through a timed run on an obstacle course. The sport originated in the 1970’s and has become extremely popular since. Dog agility provides great exercise for the dog, and deepens the bond between the dog and its owner.

Using eBay to search for agility equipment is a great idea as the site has a large selection with better value for money than would be found in a store or on a specialist site.

This guide will examine the various pieces of equipment available to buy, and how to navigate eBay to find the appropriate piece.

What is Dog Agility?

Dog agility came to the public’s attention at the 1978 Crufts dog show. The sport aims to display a dog’s natural agility and speed by using a series of jumps and obstacles similar to those used in equestrian sports. The popularity of the 1978 Crufts show led to the formation of a number of dog agility clubs around Britain the following year.

The sport is practised in countries around the world, with international competitions being held yearly. However not everyone practises with the intention of becoming professional, and many do it as a fun and healthy way to train their dog. Training will also improve a dog’s confidence and can be used to help dogs deal with aggression.   

Dog Agility Equipment

There are many different types of equipment available for training in the sport. Some of the equipment focuses on the dog’s agility, while some is used for speed and direction. All buyers should spend some time thinking about what equipment would best suit their dog’s training. Equipment used in agility training includes jumps, tunnels and contact obstacles.

Jumps

The majority of the jumps used in the sport consist of two upright bars supported by a horizontal bar. Jumps come in various sizes to accommodate different breeds, and the height is determined by the size of the dog’s shoulder height. Jumps are the most popular piece of equipment used in dog agility training.

Double/Triple Bar Jump

The most common of jumps used. Two upright bars support two or three horizontal bars which the dog then leaps across. Double bar jumps can have parallel or ascending horizontal bars. Triple bar jumps contain ascending horizontal bars only. All horizontal bars should

be at least 4 ft long. If being used by a large dog then the height of the jump should be between 55 and 65 cm. For medium sized dogs make the jump between 35 and 45 cm high, and for small dogs keep it between 25 and 35 cm.

Panel Jump

The panel jump contains a solid panel instead of horizontal bars. The panel begins at the bottom and rises up giving the dog an impression of a solid wall. The panels can be adjusted to suit the heights of various different breeds.

Tyre/Hoop Jump

A circular rubber shape similar to that of a car tyre that is suspended in a frame. The aim is for the dog to jump through the tyre without touching it. The diameter of the tyre is always between 19 and 24 inches and the opening is always 18 inches, regardless of the size of the dog. The centre of the tyre should be 800mm above the ground if being used by a large dog, 550mm for a medium sized dog, and 490mm for a small dog.

Puddle Jump

The puddle jump is comprised of two vertical bars supporting one horizontal bar. The horizontal bar will become displaced if the dog touches it when jumping over. The puddle jump sprays water in front of the bar adding to its difficulty. The pressure of the pump can be adjusted, increasing or decreasing the power and height of the wall of water.

Broad/Long Jump

Regarded as one of the more difficult obstacles, the broad jump tests how far the dog can jump. The broad jump is comprised of four to five narrow rising platforms that must be successfully cleared without being touched.

The length of the jump depends on the dog’s size. If being used by a large dog then the jump should be between 1.2 and 1.5 metres. Medium dogs should have jumps of 700 and 900mm, and for small dogs it should be between 400 and 500mm.

Window Jump

The window jump is used around the world in the training of police dogs. This jump requires a greater level of confidence and skill from the dog to master. Window jumps usually consist of a wooden frame within a canvas panel. The panel is suspended from a frame allowing for the jump to tear away if the dog catches it.

Spread Jump

This is made up of two jumps placed parallel to each other, creating a longer distance for the dog to jump over. The rear bar should be placed at the dog’s maximum jumping height, while the front bar should be 150 to 250mm lower. The distance between the two jumps should be at max 550mm for large dogs, 400mm for medium dogs and 300mm for small dogs. This type of jump will require patience and repeated training as the dog must come to remember to judge the jump by the rear bar as opposed to the front one.

Tunnels

The tunnel is a rigid pipe usually around 2 feet in diameter. The tunnel can be extended into a number of shapes and formations, and the focus of this piece of equipment is the dog’s speed. They are sold as either practice or competition tunnels. Competition tunnels are more expensive but are better built and are weather resistant.

Collapsed/Cloth Tunnel

Contains a rigid entrance of 2ft and extends for a minimum of another 2ft. The body of the tunnel is made from cloth or another collapsible material, requiring the dog to push his way through. Cloth tunnels with a maximum body of 12ft are available.

Hoop Tunnel

The hoop tunnel is made up of eight plastic hoops connected to a plastic frame. There is no cover or material on the tunnel to direct the dog, and this tunnel can be quite difficult to master.

Crawl Tunnel

Another piece of equipment used in the training of police dogs worldwide. The crawl tunnel uses an adjustable fabric roof to challenge the dog into crawling through a small space in a very quick time. Police training requires the dog to retrieve an item placed at one end of the tunnel as fast as possible.

Accessories

There are a number of tunnel accessories available to buy. Saddlebags keep the tunnel in place when in use by a dog, regardless of the surface’s texture. PVC braces are used on either end of the tunnel and prevent it from rolling away. Small sandbags can also be used to keep the tunnel in place but are not advisable for use with larger dogs.

Contact Obstacles

The remainder of the equipment used in dog agility obstacle courses test the dog’s balance, confidence and reflexes.

Weave Poles

These are plastic or wooden poles placed upright and supported by a frame. The poles are usually around 3ft high, and must be spaced apart a minimum of 24 inches. The aim is for the dog to weave through the poles without missing a single one. This is one of the hardest obstacles to master. Beginners should use five poles to begin with, eventually leading the dog to weave through twelve.

Pause Box/Table

Pause boxes and tables are used in competitions to showcase a dog’s obedience at staying put. The boxes are usually just squares marked out on the ground using tape or plastic pipes. The pause tables are raised off the ground. Large dogs should use a table measuring 600mm high, medium dogs should use 400mm and small dogs should use 300mm. The dimensions of the tabletop are 3ft x 3ft. Dogs are usually made to pause for five seconds before moving on to the next piece.

Seesaw

Similar to those used in children’s playgrounds, but in this case the dog runs up one side and down the other. The seesaw tests both the dog’s balance and its confidence. The plank the dog traverses is between 10 and 14ft long, depending on the breed of dog. It is noted that using a seesaw in training can help boost a shy dog’s confidence.

A-Frame

This consists of two ramps joined together with a hinge and placed in an ‘A’ formation. The ramps are 9ft long and 3ft long, and have narrow, horizontal slats to help the dog to climb and descend it. The bottom sections of the ramps are called the Contact Zones, and competitors are required to touch these sections with their paws.

Dogwalk

The dogwalk is made up of three connected planks, each around 12ft long and 9 inches wide. The middle plank is raised around 5ft in the air, and the dogs are required to travel up one side and down the other. The dogwalk tests the dog’s confidence and also the trust between the dog and its owner.

Buying Used Agility Equipment on eBay

Spend some time thinking about what equipment would be most beneficial to the dog. Some of the more difficult pieces should be avoided until the dog has mastered the basics such as tunnels.

  • Head to eBay.co.uk and click on the ‘Shop by Category’ tab located next to the search bar.
  • Move the mouse down the drop down menu and click on the see all categories tab.
  • Scroll down to the Pet Supplies title and click on the Dogs link.
  • On the next page enter Dog’s Agility Equipment into the search bar.
  • This will load up the relevant listings page. Once on the listings page scroll down to the Condition filter on the left and click on Used.

Listing and Item Pages

  • The listing page contains all used agility equipment for sale on eBay.
  • To change the number of listings shown, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the appropriate number.
  • Items are listed either as Auction or Buy It Now.
  • The item page contains relevant information about the product’s condition, price of postage and the location.
  • All items should be accompanied by a photograph of the item in its current condition. To request additional photographs, use the Ask a Question function located at the bottom of the page. Also use this to ask the seller any queries about the listing.

 Buying With Confidence

  • Check the seller’s history to see what kind of feedback they have received from other buyers. If there are a high percentage of negative comments, then search for equipment using another seller.
  • Contact the seller with any additional questions, and request more photos if needed.
  • If problems are encountered when dealing with a seller, then contact eBay’s Resolution Centre. The Centre’s link can be found on the top right of the page under the Customer Support tab.

Conclusion

Dog agility provides great exercise while building a dog’s confidence and trust in its handler.  There are many different obstacle pieces available to buy, each aimed at testing a particular area of skill, speed or agility.

eBay is an ideal place to search for this equipment as its extensive database of sellers means a greater selection at better value, and if buying from an eBay seller, it is important to remember that PayPal is the most secure way of transferring money, and that the consumer is protected by the eBay Buyer Protection Programme, so purchases can be made in confidence.

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