Dogs need plenty of stimulation to keep them happy and healthy and not tearing apart your couch.
Sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy to give them the playtime or walks they need, so it helps to have some fun things to keep them busy in the backyard. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a playground for your pup, you just need a multitool and a little ingenuity.
These obstacles and games are simple to make on your own.
Materials You’ll Need
All of these projects will be much easier if you have a multitool on hand for sawing, holding things in place, clamping things down, and screwing in screws. As for materials, be prepared to get a lot of PVC pipe and maybe some wood, screws and fabric.
The Standard Jump
The jump is the most basic necessity for any backyard playground. Building one is a cinch and doesn’t require much in the way of technical skills. A few 18-inch PVC pipes are all you need to construct a standard jump in your backyard, along with some end caps and Ts. Make sure to vary the heights on your jump so your dog doesn’t get bored jumping the same one over and over.
The tunnel is a fixture at all agility competitions and a great way to test your pup’s smarts. Head over to the local toy store and throw down a few bucks for a few children’s play tunnels. To connect them to the ground pick up a few landscape fabric pins, which are really inexpensive. Connect the tunnels together with the same pins, or tie them together however you see fit. You can switch your tunnel up by creating as many turns as you like, or closing off different sections to create dead ends.
Who doesn’t love playing in a sandbox? Dogs love it almost as much as children do, and it’s a great way to keep them entertained. Construct a wooden box in the backyard using a few pieces of wood you can find at a scrapyard or the local hardware store. Nail them together to create a high enough barrier to contain sand. Once it’s filled, simply bury a few toys underneath and let your pup go to town.
Perhaps the most easily constructed obstacle you can DIY is the weave pole. This obstacle is nothing more than a group of PVC Ts and as many pipes as you want your dog to weave through. Connect them, standing up, at intervals large for your dog to weave around without breaking them. They should be secured tight enough to the base that they’ll stand on their own but can also move a bit if your dog’s body nicks them as he goes.
Much like a child’s teeter totter, the agility course teeterboard is a fun thing to watch. It’s also pretty simple to build. You’ll need enough PVC pipe to make a triangle base, a light wooden board about 8 feet long, and a single PVC pipe slightly larger in diameter than the ones used for the base. Attach the slightly larger PVC pipe to the middle of the board—small screws that don’t go all the way through the PVC is a good idea, but feel free to improvise. Then assemble the same-sized PVC parts into a triangular shape on which to set the board, and don’t forget to put the board/PVC part over the pipe on top of the triangle.
Instead of a large, cumbersome tire, look for a bicycle tire or head to your local hardware store and grab some flex drain pipe. Connect it in a loop large enough for your dog to fit through and hang it from a connection of PVC pipes or wood. Chain links and rope both work well to hang your loop since it shouldn’t weigh much.