Saturday, July 12, 2014

DIY Agility Equipment: Tire Jump

Previously, I built an Agility Bar Jump.

Next on the list of Do-It-Yourself Dog Agility Equipment is the Tire Jump.

There are a couple different plans for the tire jump. I sorted through all of them and tried to weigh the pros and cons of each.

The Tire

An AKC competition tire jump should have an opening diameter of 24" and the wall should be 3-8 inches thick. The most popular material for a do-it-yourself tire is drainage pipe. This is lightweight so if a dog knocks his feet against it, it will not injure him. It's also easily shaped and commonly duct taped together. (More about duct-tape at the end).

The Frame

As I mentioned above, there are many different styles of Tire Jumps. I will show you what I found and then discuss what I chose.

This is what a competition tire jump looks like and retails for upwards of $130:
It looks more complicated than it is. The wires allow you to adjust the tire height. The tire should be almost to the ground, regardless of dog height, when introducing this equipment to your dog. Gradually go up to full height (which is measured from the ground to the bottom of the tire opening).
I found several instruction pages similar to this style:

These directions are fairly simple:
Finished product from
 This instruction page is pretty popular. Not being mechanically inclined I found it to be confusing.
Finished product from
The final instruction page is from a message board, but had the instructions I liked the best.
Finished product from
The next style of Tire Jump is much simpler. It does not involve hanging wires, just a frame and attaching the tire in whatever way is convenient, often bungee cords or duct tape if your tire will be in a fixed position.

These instructions are just for the frame. You would attach the tire inside the rectangle.
Finished product from
These instructions attach the tire with bungee cords. It's not hanging from wires.
 I wouldn't go through the trouble of building the tire like they did, but if you use drainage pipe, your dimensions for the PVC frame may be different than theirs.
Finished product from
Weighing the options

Since we are building our own equipment, it's all much cheaper than store bought. We could build a very affordable competition style jump. It's best if your dog uses equipment that looks like what he will be competing on.

However, Buster and I do not have a fenced in backyard of our own. A friend here in Greensboro has offered to let us use her yard and we will also be using my parent's yard 45 minutes away in Clemmons. Therefore our equipment has to be lightweight and easy to transport.

After much thought, we settled on this style, which is not competition style but will allow us to travel with it.
$75 from
With a little experience under my belt building an Agility Jump I was able to eyeball this and see how simple it is. It retails for $75 at Affordable Agility.

Here is how simple it is:

I have awesome MS Paint skills

How to build
1 inch PVC pipe in the follow lengths:
four 15" pipes
two 50" pipes
one 30" pipe

6 1-inch cap ends

two-four bungees (or another way to secure 'tire' to pipe)
2 4-way tees*
8-feet of 4-inch diameter drainage pipe

*Note: The 4-way tees can be difficult to find. I bought them online from home depot and had them shipped to the store for free. Two 4-way tees with tax and free shipping cost me $4.93. (They come in different sizes. Be sure you order the same size as your PVC pipes)

The 15" pipes are the feet, the 30" pipe is the bottom cross bar, and the two 50" bars are the vertical bars you attach the tire to.

Attach your tire between the two 50" PVC pipes with bungee cord. The tire height can be adjusted by just sliding it up and down the poles.

2 10' 1"diameter PVC pipes    $6.80
6 1" PVC caps                        $3.96
8' Flex Drainage Pipe             $5.78
2 4-way tees                         $4.93
8-pack of Bungees                 $2.47
Total price                            $19.40

(The blue and yellow duct tape was $3.57 each, but I didn't apply it to this project's cost because the duct tape is being used on several pieces of equipment.) *see below about colors*

As you can see in my finished pics, the tire is not perfectly round, but it's pretty darn close. It was very difficult to get it rounded and stay within the 24" diameter guideline all around. If you have better luck with a perfect drainage pipe circle, comment with your secret.


Decorated (with Buster in the center)

Tire Jump In Action
Here's a video of Buster using both his (as yet undecorated) tire jump and bar jump in a sequence.

 Decorating your Tire Jump (the duct tape info I mentioned earlier)

Dogs can see colors. But whereas we have 3 cones (red, blue and yellow) and can see the whole rainbow, dogs only have two (blue and yellow) and can only see those shades and some brownish and gray. 

Human color spectrum
Dog color spectrum
When decorating any of your equipment, you want it to stand out and be visible. This is why so much dog agility equipment is blue and yellow. And these are the colors I use for all my equipment.

More about dog's color vision in the sport of agility here.

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