How to Build an A-Frame Agility Ramp

a-frame-dog-agilityAgility courses can be a great training and exercise tool for you and your pup! They can include a variety of equipment that increases your dog’s athletic ability and stamina, while strengthening the team communication between handler and canine. Basic equipment that you can find on agility courses are jumps, tunnels, a-frames, teeters, weave poles, and dog walks.

We use A-Frames in our play yard to work with the dogs that are in our care, so we’re going to dive into how to DIY this type of agility equipment for your own backyard!

Let’s start with WHY you should consider building an A-Frame ramp…

  1. Agility is good exercise for you and your dog.
  2. Agility helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog because he must trust in you.
  3. Agility your dog fulfill it’s natural instincts (ie. climb, run fast, squeeze through narrow spaces, etc).
  4. Agility is good mental stimulation for your dog (following commands and navigating equipment) and you (calling out and signaling commands for your dog at a fast pace).
  5. Agility helps establish better communication between you and your dog.

A few things you should consider when you begin working with your dog on the A-Frame…

  • HEIGHT: Training should start with the A-Frame in a low position. It can be raised as dog becomes more comfortable, but your dog can seriously injure itself if it jumps off the peak of a high frame because it isn’t quite comfortable with the apparatus yet.
  • COMMAND: Pick a word to signal the dog to seek out and climb the A-Frame (e.g. “Climb”, “Climb it”, “Up”, “Frame”).
  • CONTROL: Handler should have good control of the dog on a short lead until dog knows how to climb and exit safely. Again, we don’t want Fido getting hurt, so make sure you are providing a strong sense of control in the situation – this will help you perceive when your dog is comfortable and will give your dog a sense of security.
  • TREAT TRAINING: Use treats to lure / reward the dog for climbing up and down the A-Frame. It’s common to stop the dog at the very top of the frame and treat, then at the bottom contact.
  • SUPERVISION: Dogs should NEVER be left to climb equipment unsupervised. Again, we don’t want any injuries to occur!

 

Now let’s turn to the DIY Network for a step-by-step guide on how to build your own dog an agility ramp:

Tools & Materials Needed:

  • 4×8′ sheets of plywood
  • table saw or circular saw
  • 2x4s
  • nail gun
  • wooden rungs
  • galvanized nails
  • house paint
  • sand
  • eye rings
  • chain

Instruction Steps:

  1. Build the A-frame climbing wall. Use a table saw or circular saw to cut two 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood down to 3′ x 8′. To make the plywood pieces rigid, attach 2x4s around the perimeter and one lengthwise down the middle of each piece. Attach the 2x4s with a pneumatic nail gun through the face of the plywood.
  2. Add wooden rungs to the wall. Wooden rungs will aid your dog’s traction as he climbs the A-frame. Starting from the bottom, mark lines every 12 inches across the width of the plywood. Cut 1×4 lumber 35 inches long for each rung. Center each rung horizontally along your lines; you should have a 1/2″ reveal on each side of the rung. Attach the rungs with wood glue and 1-1/2″ galvanized nails.
  3. Paint the A-frame wall. Apply two coats of standard, exterior house paint. Mix the paint with sand to add traction to the walls. Having two different colors on each side of the A- frame is recommended so your dog can get a clear picture of the obstacle.
  4. Finish the A-frame wall. Use 3-inch hinges at the top and to attach the two sides of the A-frame. Attach eye-rings about midway down on each side of the wall (on the 2×4). Attach a chain through the eye-rings so you can adjust the height of the wall.

Sweet Success: Mr. Puff!

 

mr-puff

Written by Shelby W, loving adopter

“I actually started working with BHS in August. I wasn’t really looking for another kitty but it is hard not to fall in love with some of them! Not too long after I started, Mr. Puff showed up with a litter of kitties. He was shy and scared of the new environment. I loved seeing him and watching him grow. He was there so much longer than I expected him to be! But obviously he was meant to join my family. He went to free roam and we instantly bonded. I knew it was time for me to take him home! Thank you BHS!”

We are so glad that Mr. Puff has found a happy home!

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Anderson

sue-and-kittenwolverinedog-wash-dayEvery person and every animal loves Sue! Whether they have met her or not, Sue has influenced their lives in some way. Congratulations on seven years and 2,000 lifetime volunteer hours!! You’re absolutely amazing!

“She is always so happy and caring for all the cats. She stays in tune with who is who and their stories. When I worked in cat adoptions, she would always ask how specific cats were doing and see if they finally found a home. She can make even the most timid cats look adorable and happy in their photos! She goes above and beyond to buy seasonal props too which are always adorable!” – Taylor Foster (She said it, but we all thought it!)

Holiday Idea: Doggie Christmas Cookies!

Make sure your dog isn’t left out when it comes to holiday festivities! Here’s a pet recipe for christmas cookies that will be perfect for celebrating this holiday season with your dogs.

Makes 25 medium sized cookiespuppy-xmas

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, molasses, peanut butter, water and olive oil in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. Knead flour and roll out to 1/4 thickness.
  4. Cut with festive holiday cookie cutters and place on non-stick baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Cool on wire rack.
  7. Seal treats in a container and refrigerate or freeze.

BHS wishes you a very happy holiday season with your loved ones and furry friends!

Sweet Success: Sherlock and Watson!

 

image

Written by Racheal B., loving adopter

“My boyfriend and I have adopted two cats from Butte Humane Society, and our little family is a definite success to us!

When we adopted our first cat Sherlock, a one-year-old male tabby (he was already named Sherlock and we loved it), he had just been returned to BHS because he wasn’t cuddly. We adopted him knowing that he wasn’t lap cat material, and we have respected that. But since coming to live with us, he has been sleeping at our feet at night, rubbing his face on us, and walking us to his food bowl each morning. He is a tough guy, but he’s a marshmallow in secret, and he loves showing off to company and playing in the bath!

A year after adopting Sherlock, we got him a friend, Watson, who was part of a litter of black kittens at BHS. Watson is the opposite of Sherlock in that he loves to snuggle and be carried around and vocalize his feelings. We also share a mutual love of bacon!

In the two years they’ve been together, Sherlock and Watson have basically turned out just like their literary counterparts, and we all couldn’t be happier. BHS really facilitated our little fur family, and for that we are grateful!”

We are so glad that Sherlock and Watson found their homes, and thankful for the love their new owners have shown!