You don’t have to be training your dog for professional agility competitions to make use of some of the same unique physical challenges that regulation dog agility equipment can provide. But there are other benefits as well.
“Some people think of agility as an activity that is all about the dog racing over and through jumps and other obstacles, so they may think the greatest benefit is as an outlet for physical energy,” expert trainer Andrea Arden told The Spruce Pets. “This is certainly one of the benefits. But in fact, when done properly, one of the best benefits of agility is relationship-building between a dog and their person.”
We spoke to Arden and Beverly Mapes—founder of the dog agility resources site Dog Agility Trials—about the best equipment for both beginner and advanced dogs.
We took into account their advice, and our own dog product expertise to find our favorite, the customizable 7-piece at-home kit Better Sporting Dogs Deluxe Agility Equipment Set. But there’s other fantastic agility equipment out there that might suit you and your dog’s objectives even better.
Better Sporting Dogs Deluxe Agility Equipment Set
Comprehensive competition set
Appropriate for both beginners and dogs with advanced training
Can be used indoors or outdoors
Collapsible and transportable
Less suitable for very large dogs
For an exceptionally designed, versatile, and affordable training kit that the professionals recommend, the Better Sporting Dogs Deluxe Agility set is the best option for most dog owners.
Most agility tests include between 15 and 20 obstacles, but a 7-piece kit helps owners create a great practice course for their dog, no matter their experience level. This kit is customizable to challenge your dog in a variety of ways, incorporating two bar jumps, a tire jump, six fixed-base weave poles, two tunnels, and a pause box. The bar jumps are 26-inches wide and adjustable, while the tire jump has a generous 24-inches diameter. The tunnels are 10 feet long, and include sandbags for maximum sturdiness.
The equipment is well-made and suitable for indoor and outdoor use year round. It’s not prohibitively heavy either, which means it’s not hard to drag back and forth from the garage. If you are varying your training location between your home and elsewhere, you can easily transport the entire set with its accompanying carrying case set; all items are easily collapsible.
The adjustable capabilities of the items in the 7-piece set means that this kit can adapt to you and your dog’s changing skill level. Consumers and professionals agree that it is a fit for beginning to advanced dogs and trainers. The customizability of the set also means that it’s the rare kit that is both reasonably budget-friendly and suitable for dogs of most sizes and breeds, except for the very largest.
Price at time of publish: $185
Best Competition Kit
Affordable Agility Agility in The Bag
Affordable compared to other similar kits
Competition-grade training kit
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Easy to transport
Not suitable for large dogs
This kit from Affordable Agility—Arden’s favorite agility equipment brand—represents the industry standard when it comes to competition-and-trial-level equipment. It comes with a 36" wide adjustable bar jump, 6 weave poles, an adjustable tire jump, pause box, and a tunnel which can be adjusted to run between 3 and 11 feet.
At 22 inches, the tunnel is the same diameter as the agility tunnels used in competitions, and the other items in the kit are similarly professionally designed. As a result, they pass the safety standards laid out by the American Kennel Club for agility equipment.
The kit is only unsuitable for very large breeds, and is acceptable for indoor or outdoor use. With an oversize carrying bag, it is relatively easy to transport and reassemble. If the price tag seems daunting, do some price checking; with most combinations of products, you’ll pay less than you would if you bought each of the pieces individually.
Price at time of publish: $259
Best Budget Kit
CHEERING PET Dog Agility Training Equipment
Comprehensive 28-piece set
Includes helpful training accessories
Easy to transport
Not suitable for advanced competition training
This affordable kit is chock full of crucial obstacles and fun toys and accessories designed to build your pup’s mental and physical aptitude and awareness. It is a 28-piece set including this cornucopia of items: a 58.5-inch long tunnel, 2 vertical poles, 8 slalom poles, and an adjustable hurdle, and a pause box. Also included are stakes and carrying bags for securing your equipment, plus a few helpful training accessories—string, a rope toy, and a whistle.
The kit is a great pick if you’re looking for training equipment to take to the park with your dog. Its high-end polyester makes it easy to transport around without the material ripping. Though it’s marketed for both dogs starting out with agility exercises and competition-level pups, it is likely best for beginners, however, since its items are not up to American Kennel Club size and safety standards.
Price at time of publish: $70
Best Jump Set
PawHut 6 Piece Dog Agility Training Equipment
Jumps are adjustable
Suitable for every size of dog
Comes with carry bag
Only available in one color
Beverly Mapes recommends adjustable jump sets as the first agility equipment items you should invest in for your dog. This product for PawHut is a top-of-the-line, fully adjustable, and safe set of bar jumps that is suitable for dogs of a range of skill levels. With their moveable cups, the jumps can be set at anywhere between 6 and 33.5 inches, with generous proportions to accommodate pups of all sizes (38.5 inches long, 26.5 inches wide, and 36.5 inches high).
The design is outfitted to prevent the jump from toppling; if the dog doesn’t clear the jump, the bar will fall, rather than the whole structure. The set allows for a fairly rigorous workout, including six jumps; with its customizability, it can emulate either an American-Kennel-Club-level agility trial or a modest workout. While not suitable for indoor use, it is easily movable—via a carrying bag—to different outdoor locations. Just be sure you set your course up on flat ground.
Small but important note: the cherry on top in the set is a whistle, a beneficial accessory when it comes to dog training.
Price at time of publish: $99
Best Open Tunnel
HDP 18 Ft Dog Agility Training Open Tunnel
Adheres to American Kennel Club competition standards
Suitable for beginner and advanced dogs
Durable nylon fabric
Steel grommets to assure safety
Not suitable for indoor use
Might require sandbags (sold separately) to anchor in windy conditions
Tunnels are usually considered to be the best agility exercise for dogs to start out with. This HDP tunnel is highly affordable—currently less than $40 on Amazon—but is not just a toy for beginners. It meets AKC’s competition standards, with its 24-inch opening and generous length. Thanks to the set of steel rings included in the kit, the tunnel can expand to 18 feet in length, longer than many popular tunnels in the same price range.
The tunnel is also incredibly durable and safe. The tough nylon fabric is resistant to tearing and waterproof; thanks to a convenient carry bag, it is easy to transport the tunnel around without wear and tear. The kit includes steel grommets to keep the tunnel safely affixed to the ground to prevent the tunnel collapsing on your dog or ripping.
All of this points to the reason that the tunnel is best used outside. If you’re looking for a more modest item to use in your basement or garage, this product won’t be a good fit for you; for most dog owners though, it’s the best bang for your buck you’ll find among affordable open tunnel options.
Price at time of publish: $40
Best Weave Poles
Cool Runners Agility Dog Training Weave Poles
Good for all skill levels
Meets American Kennel Club competition standards
Customizable to create different kinds of courses
Safe and sturdy
Poles are not striped for better visibility
Along with open tunnels, weave poles are one of the most popular starting exercises for dogs and owners who are experimenting with agility training. Cool Runners makes a popular 6-pole kit that is both suitable for dogs starting out with agility training and advanced pups, since it adheres to American Kennel Club guidelines for trials and competitions (in this case, in regards to spacing).
The poles can be customized to form more or less complex courses—straight, offset, or 2x2—thanks to their adjustable PVC bases. The kit is also more easily portable and lightweight than the majority of modestly priced pole sets on the market. They are also safe for pups, with no metal edges, allowing for a margin of error as they build their skills, Grass stakes make the poles easy to fully secure wherever you choose to set up your course.
Price at time of publish: $60
Best Tire Jump
Weave Poles Tire Jump Dog Agility Equipment
Adheres to AKC guidelines
Perfect for dogs of all sizes and skill levels
Another high-caliber product endorsed by the AKC, this tire jump is built sturdily enough to be worth the $100-plus investment for any dog owner who is serious about agility training. The product can be a go-to training jump for pups throughout their agility education and can serve all sizes of dogs, with a height adjustable from 4” to 26” and a 24” diameter. (These are ideal measurements for agility training and trials, according to AKC guidelines.)
The frame for Weave Poles’ product is extremely sturdy, constructed from Furniture Grade PVC and uses a ground bar with a wide base to create maximum stability for the jump. But despite its heavy-duty design, it’s easy to assemble and reassemble. This allows it to travel easily, making it perfect for owners who like to train their dog in different locations or those who break it down and store in between sessions.
Affordable Agility Mini Travel Teeter
Easy to assemble and reassemble
Not suitable for large dogs
Does not meet AKC specifications
Seesaws are a key part of agility courses, and if you’re committed to training your pup in all aspects of the art form, it is important to have a “teeter” on hand for home use. Unfortunately, seesaws that are worth having—that is, well-made and resilient against weight and the elements—are hard to come by for less than a few hundred dollars.
The Mini Travel Teeter from Affordable Agility is 14" tall with a plank that is 11” wide and 8 feet long, Its plastic design means that it won’t sustain weather damage. If you’re worried about your pup slipping and harming themselves during their exercise, never fear—the teeter features a sand-infused traction surface. It’s not unwieldy or difficult to break down, either, and comes apart into four pieces that are easy to fit in the car or other spaces that can’t accommodate the full length of the main plank.
This see saw has limitations, of course: It’s tough to manufacture an affordable product that can handle the full weight of the largest breeds. The Teeter is not suitable for dogs over 60 lbs. It is also not up to American Kennel Club specifications, though it has been deemed suitable as a practice item for dogs who are just starting out with training.
Price at time of publish: $280
Best A Frame
DogSport 5' Dog Agility A-Frame
Collapsible for transport
Owners committed to making their dogs competition-ready may wish to take the leap to investing in an a-frame, which is an essential part of agility courses.
The A-Frame features two ramps, each 5 feet long and 30 inches wide, made of aluminum alloy with steel supports. This allows for a safe level of sturdiness for your exercising dog. Despite its intimidating price tag and materials, it is actually fairly compact, and works for practice in small spaces as well as on larger courses. Though it seems heavy-duty, it is also relatively painless to assemble and reassemble, making it easy to integrate into a larger, transportable set of agility equipment.
Price at time of publish: $995
We chose the Better Sporting Dogs Deluxe Agility Equipment Set because of its excellent value for a comprehensive training kit. The set will serve both beginner and more advanced dogs well, thanks to its customizable features, and safe for larger dogs as well as small ones. It is the rare reasonably priced kit that comes recommended by professionals. As Beverly Mapes explains, it is worth shelling out slightly more money to make sure your training course at home is adjustable and safe. The Better Sporting kit is not prohibitively expensive but feels like you’re making a serious investment in your dog’s well-being and athletic future.
What To Look For
During agility exercise, dogs will often throw their full weight on different pieces of equipment, and come at them at rapid speeds. Using outdoor agility course products without weight to keep them grounded is a major hazard to any dogs’ safety, so make sure the equipment you invest in includes steel stakes and adequately heavy bases. Beverly Mapes advises consumers to make sure their equipment, especially a tunnel, is sandbagged down as well as affixed with stakes.
“This is a safety concern,” she explains. “If your dog is moving really fast through a tunnel, it can spin around and hit the stakes you’ve got it staked down in.”
With equipment like seesaws or A-Frames—the most expensive items on the market, Mapes warns—it is important to be sure that the product has adequate traction on any surfaces your pup might be standing on.
Dog agility training can be a hobby, but it is also a sport. Like any other sport, it has rules and regulations. If you’re planning on running trials or entering competitions with your pup, you will want to be aware of the American Kennel Club’s Regulations for Agility Trials and Agility Course Test document. The AKC encourages you and your pup to begin with a test, and then, if you’re interested, to move onto one of three different agility trials or competitions. Reading over the rules and construction of these events can give you an idea of what equipment might be most helpful to have on hand at home to prepare. It also gives you the tunnel and jump diameters, among other specs, that are used on the courses.
When choosing the spread of equipment you want to purchase for your dog’s training, one of the first things to consider is: what are your goals for your pup? Is it just a bit of exercise or are you hoping to get them prepared for agility tests and competitions? Short tunnels are considered to be a great starter item for dogs beginning training, and from there, it’s easy to build items by item. It is also generally safer to use more beginner and cost-effective equipment with smaller dogs who are less likely to get hurt.
If you know you’re planning to do elaborate exercise regimens with your pup, it may be prudent and more cost-effective to shell out for an agility set—five pieces or more—or weave poles and jumps that are AKC regulation size. Beverly Mapes believes it can definitely be worth the investment to buy more top-shelf stuff when you and your pup move to more rigorous exercises, though she specifies there is good quality training equipment on the market.
“Like with human athletes, you might have less good quality equipment at first. But if they are really becoming good athletes, you want the better stuff because they are gonna get hurt on that cheaper stuff.”
How do you assemble dog agility equipment?
Most of the dog agility equipment on the market is designed to be easy to assemble and collapse, even when the items are fairly large and weighty. You can follow the instructions on the packaging, and transport it or store it in the carry cases usually included with the products.
What equipment do you need for dog agility training?
As both Arden and Maps specify, the essentials for basic dog agility training are an open tunnel, a couple of types of jumps, and weave poles. Many dog owners starting out with dog agility buy training versions of these (that is, not up to AKC specifications) or even build their own out of PVC pipes and other materials. As training and interest progresses, tire jumps, dog walks, A-frames, and seesaws can be added to your home collection, but this will require a much bigger investment.
Why Trust the Spruce Pets?
Winston Cook-Wilson talked to several experts in the dog training world, Andrea Arden and Beverly Maps from Dog Agility Trials, about what to look out for when selecting dog agility equipment. In addition to specific product recommendations, he researched the dog agility landscape more widely, in an effort to determine which products are necessary for dogs and owners with different aims within the dog agility landscape. He also rigorously examined American Kennel Club guidelines and trial information. This product list comes from a combination of recommendations from professionals, owners of competition-grade dogs (like Mapes) and customer testimonials.