Try out agility in the comfort of your own yard without investing a lot of time, energy, or money. You can set up a fun agility course—jumps, weaves, a pause table, tire jump, even a tunnel—with a just a few dollars and items found in your basement or sourced from yard sales. Just remember that safety must always come first: don’t ever ask your dog to climb something that is unstable or jump something that could injure him. Jumps must give way if your dog hits them and anything that your dog climbs must be designed to support his weight.

1. Set up jumps using broom handles or lengths of dowelling from
the hardware store balanced atop cinder blocks.

2. Search for old ski poles at yard sales
or flea markets. Stick them
in the ground in a row and use them as your weave poles.

3. Use cinder blocks for the dogwalk.
Cut a strip of plywood 6 to 12
feet long to place on the cinder blocks. Though it won’t be very
high, your budding Super Dog can practice walking across it.

4. Look for a sturdy, low-to-the-ground wooden end table or coffee
table at a yard sale to use as a pause table. If you want to get
fancy, glue AstroTurf to the top.

5. Purchase a children’s nylon play tunnel for around $20. These
inexpensive, collapsible tunnels are prefect for backyard agility
courses. A quick online search yielded a 5’ Disney “Princess”
tunnel for $23.67 at Wal-Mart. Or go for the plainer primarycoloured
versions at either Target or Toys R Us for just under

6. Hang a hula-hoop from a tree and use it for the tire jump. Using
rope, hang the hoop at an appropriate level for your dog; a good
rule of thumb is to suspend the top of the hoop 6” higher than
the standing height of your dog. Be sure to hold the hoop as
your dog goes through it.