Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obedience jumps

Due to popular demand... and popular is a relative term for this blog... I am going to share my sage knowledge regarding the construction of obedience jumps.  After all, they are relatively easy to build and they can provide a lot of fun for your dog.

So here is the end product:

I actually wish I did one thing different for my jumps.  As you see, I used a 90 degree fitting at the top, but I now wish I had extended the vertical pipe above the top crossbar to guide the dogs a bit better.  I will give instructions which include this modification.  (Note, these plans are designed using stuff you can find at basically any hardware store.  You can go a lot fancier and get furniture grade pvc pipe and specialty fittings.  The benefit would be that normal pvc pipe can be damaged by UV rays.  That being said, I think it takes years and years for that to happen and these jumps do not support any weight so you don't really have to worry about a structural failure.) 

First, go to your local hardware store and locate the plumbing aisle.  I used 1" pipe.  They come in 10 ft. lengths for about $3.00.  You will need 3 lengths for one jump.  You will also need 6 end caps and 8 "T" fittings  (also called Tee Slips). 

Make sure the caps and fittings are for 1" pipe.  While you are in the aisle with the pvc pipe, look for a package of pvc primer and cement.  They come in little tin containers with screw tops.  Next, go to the aisle that contains electrical supplies and pick up some vinyl electical tape for accent striping.  This is optional, but if you love your dog, you will want his/her jumps to look nice.  (Note: pick his/her favorite colors.  If you don't know your dog's favorite colors, you might need to spend more quality time with your dog.)  Most hardware stores will carry your basic Scotch brand 3/4" electrical tape which comes in quite a few colors:

(Grey, Violet, White, Blue, Black, Orange, Brown, Yellow, Red, and Green)

I have seen all of these colors at the local True Value.  Finally, you will need a saw to cut the pvc pipe.  If you do not have a saw, you can purchase a small hand saw for about $10.

Now, there are official rules regarding agility equipment.  Although it is not necessary to construct your jump to this standard, the rules do provide a nice guide regarding bar heights.    Under the rules, crossbars are set to the following heights:
  Dogs measuring 12" or less must jump at least 12"; 
   Dogs measuring 16" or less jump at least 16":
   Dogs measuring 21" or less jump at least 22"; and
   Dogs measuring over 21" must jump at least 26".

The rules also require crossbars to be 4 ft. wide.  I made my crossbars 3 ft. wide and they have always been sufficient for my purposes.  (You can go with 4 ft. crossbars w/o getting an extra pipe).  I also used bar heights of 18" and 26" since my dogs are about 16" tall, but also tend to be very athletic.

So here is a diagram with your cut lengths:

OK, so I'm not exactly an engineer, but you get the idea.  Now, before you put this together, you will need to cut the top 4 "T" fittings into cups.  This is a pretty easy process:

(Not an engineer, but I can get a lot of mileage out of Microsoft Paint)

Once all your pieces are cut, you join everything using some pipe primer and then some glue.  Put caps on the ends of your exposed pipes, and then apply your accent stripes using the vinyl tape.  Obviously, the top two crossbars do not get glued.  The bottom crossbar needs to be glued for stability.

Now get your dog and enjoy.  Start off using only the bottom crossbar.  Click and reward your dog for jumping over it.

Have fun.

No comments: