An agility dog ramp is effective for training and exercising your canine companion -and it’s easier to build than you may think. Today we’re going to show you how to build an agility ramp for your dog.
My chocolate Labrador is an active guy. He spent most of his pup hood chasing squirrels and ducks on a huge New England property. Now that we’re in the city, though, our yard is a fraction of his former playground size. To keep him happy and healthy, I needed to get creative.
I immediately knew the answer would be an agility ramp. Just like city architecture, it’s more vertical than horizontal, and it can fold up and be stored. Agility ramps, however, can set you back a few hundred bucks.
Fortunately, as a bird dog trainer, I’ve built my fair share of athletic equipment for dogs. Any sport you train your dog in, whether it’s pheasant hunting or mushing, requires an element of obedience, stamina, and dexterity. The agility ramp is one of the most important and universal training options out there. Even if your pooch isn’t sport-specific, the mental and physical health benefits of giving them an agility ramp to play with are universal.
So today, I’m going to help you build your buddy an a-ramp.
Table of Contents
- What You’ll Need
- Steps for Building Your Ramp
- List of Tips for Using Your Agility Ramp
- List of Benefits for Using an Agility Ramp
Let’s get to the building!
What You’ll Need
Fortunately, you can get everything you need at your local hardware store. You may even have a lot of these items in your garage already!
- Two two-by-fours These pieces of the wood measure at 1 1/2 x 3 1/2in (38 x 89 mm).
- 4×8’ pieces of plywood, cut down to 3×8. You can do this yourself, or you can have it done at the hardware store!
- Molding or wooden rungs
- Two-door hinges
- Four eye rings
- Two 2×8′ chains
- Four hook bolts
- Wood glue
- 2 ½” nails or screws
- Several 1″ nails
- House paint (two colors)
- A pool noodle
- Circular saw, or table saw
- Nail gun
Steps for Building Your Agility Dog Ramp
We’ve broken down each step of the building process to the smallest and most specific for clarity. Ready to do some building?
Step 1: Cut down the plywood to 3’ x 8’ pieces.
Often, you can also have this done at your local home improvement store.
Step 2: Attach the 2x4s to the plywood with your nail gun.
Attach them around the perimeter and one down the length of the plywood. This will make the plywood more solid and safer for your dog.
You now have your A-frame!
Step 3: Make your rungs.
Using your saw, reduce the 1×4 lumber to a length of 35” per rung.
Step 4: Attach your rungs by centering them width-wise across the plywood.
I recommend starting from the bottom and, with a pencil, drawing an X every 12 inches across, so you know where to put the rungs. Use both the wood glue and the galvanized nails to attach them.
Step 5: Choose two different colors of paint.
Mix each with sand (this will add traction).
Step 6: Paint each side of the frame a different color
So your dog can have a better idea of what he’s looking at.
Step 7: Attach the two frames using the door hinges.
Step 8: Attach eye rings halfway up each side of the wall, and put the chain through the eye rings.
This will help you adjust the height.
Step 9: Fill the gap at the hinge with a pool noodle!
This is more of a tip than a step. By the time your dog is an expert agility wall climber, he’ll know to jump over the gap. The pool noodle can add a level of safety until then, or throughout!
Beginner’s Guide to Using an Agility Ramp
Here is a list of tips for training your dog to use your new A-frame!
- Keep your dog on a short lead in the beginning. This ensures he won’t get hurt, especially since it’s new territory!
- Start with a low height. As your dog gets comfortable, you can raise the frame gradually.
- Be consistent with your command word. Stray away from vague commands like “go” and stick to more specific ones like “climb” or creative ones like “upwards!” Have fun with it!
- As always, treats for good behavior is always a good idea.
Benefits of Using an Agility Ramp
You and your dog can get a lot out of using an agility frame. We’ve listed just a few reasons:
- Physical Exercise: For you and your dog! You’ll definitely be running around just as much as he will be! Moreover, agility training is an instinctual exercise that dogs are built for.
- Mental Exercise: Agility training is a mix of following commands and having to be resourceful.
- Obedience: Agility training requires your dog to follow commands in a fast-paced environment. If you guys can master agility training, getting him to stay out of the food cabinet will be simple!
- Trust and bonding: Just as any challenging activity, you and your dog will learn more about each other and feel a sense of accomplishment together.
- Expel excess energy: This is particularly important for young pups!
- Long-term fitness: Agility training will enhance your dog’s muscles, endurance, and coordination and keep him healthy in the long run.
Fun and Exercise for You and Your Dog
With a few easy steps and easy-to-find material, you can save hundreds of dollars on an agility ramp for your dog. Moreover, it will strengthen your dog’s health and your bond with each other. To build an agility ramp for your canine companion today!