Whether you want to make dog agility equipment to compete or just keep your dog entertained, we are here to help.
Below you will learn how to make a dog agility tunnel.
DIY Agility Tunnel
Most folks building dog agility equipment make PVC items but end up buying a tunnel.
However, I thought I’d take a stab at making one.
Since I loathe to spend any money if I don’t have to, I used scrap wire for the frame and a full-size cotton sheet from a thrift store for the cover.
Preparing the Wire for the Tunnel Frame
Finding a mold/mould for the wire
Since this was my first time building dog agility equipment of this type, I reckoned I needed some type of mold and looked for something round to use that would be in the neighborhood of 20-24″ in diameter in U.S. That is the size commonly recommended by the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA).
In the U.K., official specifications by the Kennel Club and Agility folks are 24″ in diameter or 600 mm.
Other options I looked at included a 20-inch bicycle tire and the top of a large Weber barbecue grill that measured 22 inches across.
Figuring Out How Much Wire To Use
Using the thickness of wire that I had, each hoop needed to be adouble coil in order to be sturdy enough to stand up.
I had about 40 feet of wire. After doing the math, I decided I could make twelve coils, or 6 hoops, which would use about 38 feet of wire.*
*My calculation was based on the circumference of a circle (pi x radius, or 3.14 x half the diameter). With my 24-inch diameter tunnel, this came to 3.14 x 12 for each coil, or 38 inches, with each hoop taking about 76 inches of wire. Then I multiplied that by 6 to get 456 inches or just over 38 feet.
*For metric sizes, use millimeters and convert to meters.
*You can make as many coils as you like, but may need to use additional sheets to make the cover. The coils will collapse for storage so no need to worry about adding more.
Molding the Wire
I wrapped the wire around the tire and weighed it down with rocks for a few days. (You may be able to omit this step if you have a wire that is smooth, without kinks; rope or rags tied at intervals could also be an option.)
Creating the Tunnel Frame from the Wire
Turning the wire coils into hoops
This part of building dog agility equipment was a bit tricky to execute and took a while; however, it was worth the trouble.
- I tore off two-foot long (600 mm) strips of dark green duct tape, about a third of the width of a roll, and attached the top end of each strip to a nearby surface.
- Next, I mashed two wire coils together for the starting hoop (Hoop 1).
- Then I taped the two coils together all the way around, wrapping the tape at an angle for the best coverage.
- I left the single strand of wire leading to the remaining coils untaped and had it go off at an angle from the starting hoop as shown in the photo.
- I then formed the next two coils into Hoop 2, trying to preserve the same size diameter as Hoop 1, and leaving about 12″ of single wire before taping the two coils of Hoop 2 together.
- This made a V formation of a single wire that was left untaped. To make Hoop 3, this V ended up being in the opposite direction from the first V.
- I continued making the next three hoops with Vs in between. I’d recommend using a measuring tape to make each V the same length rather than the eyeball method I used.
- For the last hoop, I simply doubled up the wire coils and taped them together all the way around. The excess tape was cut off and sharp wire edges were filed smooth.
Covering the Frame of the DIY Tunnel
Adding the cover turned out to be another aspect of building dog agility equipment that I had never tried before. It turned out to be quite simple; although it was time consuming.
- I started by folding over the top end of the sheet all the way around Hoop 1. The sheet was just wide enough to fit around the hoop and meet at the bottom.
- Then I sewed the sheet to the hoop by hand, using a sturdy black thread and strong needle.
- Tip: To keep your thread from pulling out of the eye, attach it to the needle with a slip knot. You can leave a really short tail. When you’re done, simply cut the knot to release the remaining thread.
- I placed the rest of the sheet around the frame, making sure nothing was twisted; then pinned and sewed the two long sides together.
- Next, I lifted the tunnel up and shook it out and decided on the best places to attach the covering to the hoops. I pinned the tunnel cover to the Vs and points along the seam I had just sewn.
- Using double thread, I then sewed several loops around each marked point.
Finally I added loops made of nylon webbing to the first and last hoops on the bottom edge so that if need be, the tunnel could be staked to the ground.
As mentioned, the coils can be pushed together to sit on top of each other for storage.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial on building dog agility equipment! For more ideas, go from Building Dog Agility Equipment to Dog Exercise Equipment.