Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Build a $5 Dog Agility Jump in 10 Minutes

Marissa and I bought some PVC pipe yesterday, and decided to try our hand at building our first ever 'professional' dog agility jump. We figured it would take about an hour. Ten minutes later, it was ready for painting! Here are the steps.

The star in these photos is my amazing assistant, Marissa Lepe Preciado.

Step 1: Materials

We bought three pieces of half inch PVC pipe, each one meter long. We also bought four connectors. Be careful to buy connectors with no inside threads. Total cost of all materials, excluding spray paint which we already had, was under $5.

Here are the specs on the pipe we used. It's sturdy enough to withstand slight knocks, but still flexible enough to fall over rather than crack.

You'll need a saw. We happily learned that PVC cuts pretty easily. You'll also want a tape for measuring the height of the jump. A piece of string would work just as well.

We were making a one-pole jump. If you want more levels, just buy one and a half more pipes plus two more connectors per extra level.

Step 2: Design

Decide on a height for your jump. We decided on 35 centimeters, about 14 inches. This is a good height for medium-sized dogs. Chihuahuas will just run under it.

Step 3: Start Cutting

Now take one pipe and measure and cut at 35 centimeters.

Make another 35 cm cut on the same pipe. You should now have three pieces, the third a slightly different length. The two 35 cm pieces will become the sides of the jump.

Step 3: Cut Some More

The third piece becomes a base piece, of which you need four total. Measure the length of the base piece along the second pipe.

Just keep measuring and cutting the second pipe at the same length as the first base piece. When you're done, you'll have four base pieces, including the one from the first pipe, and a little bit left over. Here's the whole assembly, including the third pipe for the crossbar.

Step 4: Assemble!

Now comes the fun part! Make a base by putting two base pieces on the T arm.

Now add one side piece on the third opening.

Make the second base the same way.

Add another connector to the top of each side bar.

Attach the top bar, which is just the uncut one meter third piece of pipe.

You now have a dog agility jump! Total time for us, with NO construction experience, ten minutes!

Gemma approves! My beautiful rescue dog Gemma is twelve years old, and she doesn't jump! Each Saturday, she watches the dog agility antics of her doggy friends with the slightly skeptical eyes of an indulgent great-grandmother.

Step 5: Painting

The painting actually took us longer than the construction. First tape strips of paper to the crossbar and the sides of the jump, keeping the intervals even.

Then spray paint the crossbar and sides. Be careful not to paint across the connections, so the jump will come apart easily for storage. We left the base pieces white, so they wouldn't get mistaken for side pieces when we take the jump apart.

Here's the finished product, ready for jumping!

I'll add a photo of the hurdle in use after Saturday's Dog Agility Club event.

Marissa and I were thrilled that it turned out to be SO EASY and SO CHEAP to build a dog agility jump. Even if you don't do full-on dog agility with your pet, you could have a lot of fun with one or two of these jumps in the back yard. Kids love them too! One day I'll write a whole post about the benefits of dog agility for children. They learn so much about how to respect, to communicate with, and to train dogs.

I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into DIY! We certainly had fun making the jump and documenting the process. I'd love to hear about your own experiences with dog agility or with other DIY projects. If you have any questions, please ask. I look forward to reading to your comments.


  1. That looks fab! You two are multi-talented and incredibly busy! All of the time! Do you sleep? Xx

    1. Thanks Molly! Actually, a nap sounds good right about now. Ahhhh... Hugs, Carole

  2. Gemma looks gorgeous! Give her a big hug for me! Xx

    1. Hey Molly,

      Your iguana has been popping up in place of photos on my Pinterest page. How cool and weird is that!! I just recognized it from your image on the comment. Hee hee.

      Consider Gemma hugged an extra time for you!

      More hugs for you too,


  3. Awesome doggie jump! My dog would LOVE this. Looks like we have a little project to do :)


    1. Hey Patty,

      Just follow the photos. It really is super easy. What surprised me was how cheap the pipe was. Woohoo! How big is your dog? The 35cm jump turned out to be a bit tall, except for the large dogs. We made some more at 20 cm which worked out better. You can stack two sidebars for more height if you want, and the dogs don't have as much tendency to run under!

      Send me a photo of how it turns out, okay?



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