With a little imagination and a lot of patience you can build a really nice obstacle course for your dog. It is very important however, that you make sure you make your course suitable for all kinds of weather. You will want to make sure you make your track sturdy enough so that you don't have to put it up and tear it down every single time you want to practice the obstacles with your dog.
You will need to keep in mind to buy materials that will be suitable for your dog and he/she will not get hurt when going through the obstacle. Tables and boards must be bolted down and standing horizontally. So that it is hard to knock them over.
If you are using bars always make sure that they are loose so that they fall if they are even the little bit touched. It is really important to make your obstacle on pavement or gravel. Make sure it is not somewhere, where the rain or snow is going to swamp the area. If this happens the game will have to be stopped. Some fun things to use that your dog will love are; tires, tunnels and slanted wood planes. Remember that making your own obstacle course always gives the risk of the dog getting hurt.
When doing obstacle jumps please set limitations for your dog. When the dog is jumping his obstacle jumps it gives him encouragement. The dog might get it in his mind that he can jump the fence. When making a tunnel or tunnels for your dogs obstacle course do not start with long black tubes. Your dog will be intimidated. Consider trying to use a clear or light coloured cloth. It is pertinent that the dog see a familiar face at the end of the tunnel. Ramps are very easy to make. Start with a piece of wood and make it slanted and sturdy. Bolt the wood to a piece of metal or something sturdy in the obstacle.
Try to remember that your dog must recognise basic commands. Your dog will not be able to learn an obstacle course without them. Make sure your dog has confidence in you. The confidence that the dog has in his owner will make it easier for you as the owner to teach your dog the obstacle. Always make sure you have a treat or a toy around the obstacle course. This will make it easier in training the dog to do everything he has to do. To teach the dog to jump over a jumping obstacle throw a treat or a toy over the obstacle the dog is to jump.
If you have trouble trying to get your dog to do the obstacle course make sure you have not over exhausted the dog. The dog may be too tired if you make her/him do the obstacle too much. It is very important that you make sure your dog has enough breaks and enough water during the training of the obstacle course.
If your dog does not want to cooperate maybe try letting it go for the day and try again another day. Remember yours and your dog's goal before anything else is that your dog passes through each obstacle without any kind of problem. If this isn't happening then there is something wrong. There is always a reason a dog isn't doing what you want it to do. The hard thing is getting inside his/her mind to figure it out. Be patient with him/her and the obstacle will eventually work out.
By John Sommer