Different types of dog agility obstacles

Different types of dog agility obstacles

You’ve decided to try Dog Agility with your pet. Now that you know a bit about  what dog agility is  and  how to start training for it, we think it’s just the right time to get you more familiar with the types of obstacles that you can find on a dog agility course.  So, in this article we’ll explore a few of the most common elements in any obstacle course for your dog. 

Contact Obstacles 

There are a few types of obstacles that need to be present in every agility course. One of those categories is that of contact obstacles. Usually, in dog agility competitions you will find 3 types of contact obstacles: 

    1. See Saw - a long plank that is firmly placed on a center bracket, helping it balance from one side to the other. The dog will need to step on the plank, walk towards the other end and wait for the plank to touch the ground before descending. Contact comes into play when the dog touches a specifically colored area of the plank. 
    2. A-Frame - 2 boards placed in the shape of the letter “A”. The dog will need to climb on one end and descend on the other end. 
  • Dog Walk - a construction of planks making the dog climb up, then walk in a straight line for a few meters, then descend on the other end of the plank. 

  • Other Obstacles

    Beside the contact obstacles mentioned above, each course can have a variety of other obstacles. Let’s break them down one by one below:

    Pipe Tunnel

    With this obstacle, the dog must learn to go through a tunnel made with hoops and a material covering it. The dog should go through the entire length of the tunnel for the obstacle to be completed successfully. 

    If you want to start training your dog to go through the tunnel obstacles, start by using a very short tunnel and make sure you offer a treat that your dog likes, once he’s gone through. As soon as your dog is comfortable with passing through the short tunnel, increase the length a little to make it longer. 

    Weave Poles

    The weave poles might be one of the harder obstacles your dog may meet in a dog agility competition. For this obstacle, the dog must slalom through the pole line (measuring at least 12 poles) so that they reach the other end of the line. 

    To train your dog for this obstacle, start with 2 poles, by making your dog go in between them, then offering a reward when they do. Once they get the hang of it, you can make it bigger, by adding more and more poles. 



    Whether we’re talking about a speed jump or a long jump, these elements are essential to any dog agility course. 

    Teaching your dog to do different jumps may get tricky (pun intended), but it’s not impossible. Start by having your dog just pass through a hoop to get the reward, then move the hoop higher and higher as the training evolves. 


    Hurdles are actually another type of jumps, however, the dog must jump over the poles set at different altitudes, without touching or knocking over the poles. As you may imagine, this is a bit harder to teach, but once again, not impossible. 

    Start by having your dog only pass over the pole, while the pole is on the ground and only offer the reward when the pole is not touched. Then, slowly start lifting the pole of the ground and making it more of a walk over the pole, then jump over the pole.

    As you can see, there are quite a few obstacle types that you can find in a dog agility course. Some easy, some more complex, but with the right training methods and just the right amount of patience, you and your dog can find a common passion for this “game” and enjoy practicing as well as going to different competitions. 

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