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Agility training once seemed to be the preserve of Crufts contestants, but now you and your four-legged best friend can train at home, thanks to the affordable equipment making its way to market. One of the most popular agility items for at-home training is the dog tunnel. As its name suggests, this is a small, flexible tunnel that you can train your dog to run through. They’re often a key component of agility courses, and a great place to start for would-be agility trainers. With so many agility tunnels out there to choose from, though, making the right decision for both you and your pet can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best options available online right now. We’ve also answered some common questions about tunnels and agility, so you can find out everything you need to get into this exciting hobby!
This 18-foot long tunnel with a 24-inch opening is a great introduction to agility for your dog. At less than $40, it’s a perfect starting point that won’t cost you the earth!
Made from durable Dacron fabric, the tunnel will hold up to whatever your dog can throw at it. It also includes a set of stakes sturdy enough to secure the tunnel to the ground during use, but short enough to avoid hurting your pet if they miss the tunnel. As well as this, the tunnel comes with its own convenient storage bag, so you can transport it easily, and pop it away when training is over with no fuss. Overall, this is an excellent, easy-to-use option for new and seasoned agility trainers alike.
According to a survey by Houseables, over half of the dogs in the USA are overweight – this tunnel is their solution! Like HDP’s dog agility tunnel, Houseables’ offering is 18 feet in length, with a 24-inch opening. This size is actually standard for these tunnels, so your furry friend will be able to get used to this size prior to any competitions. Houseables advise that this tunnel is the perfect fit for small to medium sized dogs, up to around 80 pounds in weight.
The tunnel is constructed from tough but lightweight Dacron fabric and comes with its own set of eight stakes to pin it down with. The stakes are made from stainless steel, ensuring they won’t rust away with a little moisture, and you can keep using the tunnel again and again. It can also be easily tucked away in a storage bag, making it perfect for that trip to the park with your pooch.
This agility tunnel by N&M Products is another great option for giving your dog some exercise and mental stimulation. Like the other tunnels on our list, it’s made from durable Dacron – interwoven so it can stand up to whatever dogs can throw at it.
The tunnel also comes with eight rust-proof stakes, so the tunnel can be secured firmly to the ground in your garden. The stakes are designed to sit flush with the ground, so as not to do your furry friend any harm. Customers report that their dogs love this tunnel, which is a great toy for burning off excess energy at home as well as an easy introduction to agility training. They were also impressed with the tunnel’s quality considering the price – the wire allowing the tunnel to hold its shape never poked through, preventing potential injuries.
This one isn’t actually an agility tunnel, but it’s a handy accessory you can use with any of the tunnels on our list. Rise8 have come up with a clever alternative to securing the tunnel in place with stakes, allowing you to use your tunnel inside, and save your lawn from repeated assault from stakes!
The device consists of two weighted bags which hang on either end of a thick strip of fabric – much like saddle bags. They weight down your agility tunnel without the need to stake. The bags and holder are both coated in waterproof and long-lasting PVC, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. The fabric which rests on the tunnel is also highly grippy on its underside, helping it stay put as the tunnel moves about.
Rise8 recommend purchasing one bag for each end of the tunnel to make sure it stays firmly in place during use, loading each bag with up to 25 pounds. We recommend weighing the bags down with sand.
With the PAWZ Road Cat Toys Collapsible Tunnel, you can give your kittens, puppies, and ferrets that exciting and pleasant environment to exhibit all their instinctive characteristics whilst they explore more of their natural world. This product provides fun, excitement, amusing and enjoyable moments for your pet as you look on, or even when you are not around. It is ideal for puppies, kittens, ferrets, and rabbits, as they want to express their agility, reflexes, and energy even as they stay fit strong and healthy. The pets may even find it as the perfect place to hide away, rest or sleep. This tube enhances their exploratory instincts whilst at the same time offers a perfect place of relaxation.
It is made from strong, durable anti-scratch polyester material with a steel supporting frame to ensure its safety and durability. The serpentine outline of the tube adds further fun and enthusiasm, thrill and pleasure to the pet’s experiences. The spacious nature of the interior makes the animal relax and feel very comfortable. It collapses easily and is simple to fold away in its carrier bag attached for easy transport and storage.
If your pooch is new to the concept of agility or they need a little more practice before they move on to something more challenging, then the Trixie Basic is the perfect place to start.
Designed for agility newbies of the four-legged kind, this beginner tunnel is both durable and easy to use. Made from structured nylon, this tunnel is super-easy to set up and can be anchored to the ground using the supplied metal pegs for extra stability when needed. Large enough for medium-sized breeds, the tunnel runs for 7ft 6, so a good place to start for pups who may be nervous or a little less agile. And it can take a lot of use, thanks to the durable and easy to wipe down and clean design.
We also think the Trixie Agility Tunnel is a good choice for smaller outdoor spaces and fun in the backyard as it quickly folds down flat into its own nylon bag for easy storage. You even get a ‘how to’ booklet full of tips and agility tricks to get your pooch up and running in no time!
The Cossy Home dog agility tunnel is available in three sizes so that you can select the perfect fit for your pooch. This tunnel has been designed to be easily secured to the ground using the attached post tabs and included posts. The tabs can also be used to secure the tunnel to tiled or hardwood floor with the use of strong tape. It utilizes an easy pop-up design for quick and easy setup and even bends to form an “L” shape to add some variation to your dog’s tunnel playtime.
Many owners have found this to be the perfect plaything for dogs, cats, and children alike. It is also made using a strong waterproof polyester material, meaning it can take a beating and be used in all weathers. Training doesn’t have to stop just because it’s raining!
If you’re looking for a mid-range agility tunnel, you can’t go wrong with Pacific Play Tent’s training chute. Perfect for kids and pets alike, the tunnel is made from heavy-duty polyester, and reinforced with spring steel wire. The wire is cushioned to prevent discomfort or injuries during use. Thanks to its wipe clean surface, this tunnel is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
According to Pacific Play Tends, using this tunnel for play is a fun and effective way for both children and pets to develop their motor skills and muscle control. Bear in mind that this particular tunnel is not made with grommets and stakes. If you need to secure it to the ground more securely, we recommend purchasing a sandbag holder, such as Rise8’s (item number four on this list).
The strong anti-scratch durable material of the Juvale Pack is made from is just ideal to give your little pets the perfect surroundings to enjoy themselves while they stay fit and healthy. This pack of one Pet Agility Play Tunnel Tube is a specially designed pet play tunnel for small pets such as puppies, cats, rabbits, and kittens. it enables these little animals to explore more adventure whilst having their ultimate fun all the way and stay healthy and strong and is manufactured from tear resistant tough and durable polyester fabric, supported by a steel frame and so is very durable even for this purpose.
It is lightweight, folds in very easily to occupy very little space to enable it to tuck simply into its carrier bag so it can be conveniently carried to any place. A little ring rattle and a small soft ball toy that can be hung at the exit comes with it as an additional accessory to enhance the excitement generated. This gadget measures 47 inches in length and 9.75 inches in diameter and an amazing starting price of $9.99.
This isn’t just an agility tunnel, it’s the whole package! This PawHut agility kit provides you with everything you will need to start your pup out on their agility journey. The agility tunnel as well as the other fabric elements are all made using rip-resistant 190T polyester material. Meaning your dog can run, jump, crawl and hop to its heart’s content without worry and causing damage to the equipment. All grounding stakes and rope are provided in order for you to secure your obstacle course to the ground and hold it in place whilst your pooch practices.
A well as the agility tunnel, this kit also includes an adjustable high-jump setup, eight weave poles, and a square pause box. Everything has been made using a lightweight material in order to make this the perfect portable agility course. You can just throw everything into the three easy-carry bags provided and head off down to the park for a change of scenery. It can even be taken away on camping holidays to give your pup something to entertain them outside of the general daily activities.
And there you have it – what we believe to be the best agility tunnels on the market right now. We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of your options and encouraged you and your pup to give this fun activity a try.
Purchasing dog agility equipment is just the first step, however! We’ve also answered some common questions people have about dog agility and scouted out some tips and tricks to get you started. We hope this guide can be your ticket into agility training – good luck!
Things to Consider When Buying a Dog Agility Tunnel
As this list makes clear, there are a lot of options available when it comes to buying an agility tunnel! Which tunnel you decide to purchase will depend very much on your individual needs – below are some of the most important factors to consider.
Many agility tunnels are designed in accordance with regulations from the AKC (American Kennel Club), which essentially means they’re competition grade. These tunnels are typically 18 feet in length, with a diameter of 24 inches. Training your pooch with one of these tunnels means they’re used to the size and shape when it comes to competing, but smaller dogs and puppies might find this a little large. There’s no need to write off agility training just because your dog is small, though – you might consider purchasing a tunnel of a smaller size, such as number 10 on our list.
Most of the tunnels on our list are made from a polymer fabric called Dacron. Dacron is durable and versatile, so these tunnels can usually resist the wear and tear of dogs hurtling through them (or into them) time after time. Dacron tunnels are usually budget-friendly and light-weight, but they shouldn’t be left outside for extended stretches of time. Tunnels made from PVC are better suited to this function. They’re weightier, saving you the need to pin them down with stakes or sandbags, and totally waterproof. These tunnels tend to be more expensive, but are certainly a sound investment for more experienced trainers. Because they’re less portable than their Dacron counterparts, PVC tunnels are also better-suited to having a permanent position.
If you’re new to dog agility, splashing out on the priciest tunnel available is probably not the best option! Good quality tunnels can be found on any budget, but those at the more economical end of the spectrum may not last quite so long, and shouldn’t be left to the elements much.
Benefits of Using Dog Agility Tunnels
Agility training, in general, is hugely beneficial to dogs and owners alike, and tunnels are a great starting point for a number of reasons:
Getting your dog to negotiate their way through a tunnel is one of the simplest agility tasks to teach
Tunnels allow for gradual training – you can scrunch up your tunnel at first, and gradually add length as your dog becomes more confident
With proper training, most dogs love running through tunnels, providing an encouraging spring-board for further training
Having your pet safely navigate the tunnel builds trust between owner and pet
Learning new skills is great mental stimulation for both you and your dog
Dogs who are well exercised – both mentally and physically – are usually better behaved
Getting into agility training, in general, is a great way to socialize with like-minded owners
Since agility trainers often run around with their dogs, it’s a great way to get fit alongside your four-legged friend
Dog Agility Training Tips
Beginning agility training with your dog might seem like an enormous tax, but with small steps and plenty of encouragement, anyone can give this exciting hobby a go. Below are a few tips for starting out.
Before embarking (pun intended) on your agility training adventure, it’s important that your dog can understand a few basic commands. There are:
These skills are an important stepping stone towards engaging with more complex tasks. Plenty of training advice can be had online, but you might also consider taking your pooch to obedience classes for some support.
Train in Small Steps
Dog agility can be impressive, so wanting to race ahead with training is only natural. However, taking your time ensures that your dog learns commands more thoroughly, and allows you to better build a relationship of trust. Break tasks which might be daunting for your dog down into simpler steps for best results and minimal stress.
You can train your dog to traverse other agility obstacles using similar methods – the key is to build up gradually. Other common agility obstacles include:
Weave poles – a line of poles which dogs must weave in and out of
Dog Walk – A raised, narrow platform which dogs must walk across
Standard Jumps – Dogs must jump over raised poles
Tire Jumps – Dogs must jump through a circular opening
Pause Table – Dogs must hop onto the table and ‘stay’ for five seconds
Teeter Board – A device resembling a seesaw, which dogs must carefully move across
You can purchase all of this pet agility equipment if you choose, but some obstacles can be replaced with household items – at least initially. For instance, PVC pipes and broom handles made excellent weaving poles or jumps! Eventually, you might want to purchase a dog agility set, so you have a wide variety of obstacles to train with, keeping things interesting for both you and your dog.
Starting any new hobby can seem daunting, but luckily there are plenty of beginners’ agility classes, where you and your dog can learn alongside others from a professional. If your budget doesn’t stretch to classes, why not team up with another doggie friend? Learning together is usually more effective, and makes the hobby even more enjoyable!
Best Dog Agility Tunnels FAQ:
Q: What age should I start agility training?
A: Dogs can’t officially enter agility competitions until they are 18 months old, and training isn’t recommended until they are 12 months old. Agility training can be too intense for young puppies, but, at the right age, short bouts of encouragement and patient training are fine. You can even buy puppy agility equipment specifically designed for younger dogs.
Q: How can I train my dog to use a tunnel?
A: Like any successful dog training, agility tasks should be broken down into smaller steps, and you should encourage and reward your dog at every stage. Below is a basic outline of how to get started with teaching your dog to run through an agility tunnel:
First, simply introduce your dog to the tunnel – allow them to explore it and see that it’s safe to interact with.
The first time your dog walks through the tunnel, it should be made short, and your pet should be able to see you waiting for them at the other end.
Call your dog, tapping the bottom of the tunnel to let them know it’s safe to come through.
Reward your dog with a dog treat when they have come through – for nervous dogs, building the confidence to walk through the tunnel may take some time, so patience is key.
Gradually make the tunnel longer as your dog becomes accustomed to it.
When your dog is used to running through the full length of the tunnel, you can begin to lay it shapes other than a straight line – this requires more trust, as your dog won’t be able to see the end when they enter.
Closed tunnels should only be tried at this stage – when your dog is comfortable enough to walk through an open tunnel without nervousness.
Remember to frequently encourage your dog, and give them treats for completing tasks regularly.
Q: How do you get your dog into agility?
A: Almost any dog can enjoy agility – it gives a great opportunity to exercise both their mind and body, and also provides ample opportunity for bonding with owners. Whatever you and your dog’s fitness level, there’s bound to be some agility you can engage in. You could start with a beginner’s class, or look for advice online – we’ve tracked down some excellent blogs on the topic which can be found below.
Before starting with agility, though, do try to cement the basic commands of ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘lie down’ and ‘come’ in your dog’s vocabulary. Training is far easier from a solid foundation.
Q: Is dog agility a sport?
A: Dog agility is classed as a ‘dog sport’, placing it in the same category as sled dog racing and sheepdog trials. Unlike many other dog sports, though, agility places owners at the heart of the action, and requires them to be almost as involved as the dogs themselves! Whilst people of all fitness levels can participate in agility, the practice encourages better fitness for you as well as your dog. In this sense, dog agility is a sport for owners just as walking or jogging is.
Our Top Pick
Above are what we believe to be the best dog agility tunnels available right now, and best in the show is HDP’s. Their tunnel conforms to ACK competition standards, making it perfect for competitive training, yet its affordable price means that it’s suitable for complete beginners too.
Its durable fabric holds up well to whatever dogs can throw at it, and it’s versatile enough to be used both in and out-of-doors. The tunnel also comes with its own stakes – carefully crafted so as not to harm your dog – as well as a convenient carrying bag. This easy-to-use option makes a great addition to any dog’s playground!
Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.