Open Tunnel

Topics: Contruction  |  Training  


Most people buy their tunnels direct from the manufacturer. Although the "tunnels" are really manufactured for other real-world applications, they will know what you are talking about if you call it a dog agility tunnel. The tunnels come in a variety of colors. The newer gaily colored tunnels do not seem to be constructed to take as much abuse as the old yellow construction tunnels that all the older agility groups have.
Your next decision is what length you wish to specify. 12' is the practical minimum but you will find it difficult to set up some common training patterns with a tunnel that short. For example, it is difficult to set up the configuration where the tunnel is shaped like an S and stretches from one end of the A-frame underneath it to the other end of the A-frame. You can also go to the other extreme and get a 20' tunnel or so. Occasionally you will see judges that, when given a tunnel this long to work with, will set the tunnel so that it contains many bends & contortions. That many bends and contortions can unsettle a dog who's never been exposed to it in training so it is nice to be able to train for it ahead of time (although it really is very rarely seen). The problem with a tunnel that long though is that it is *very* heavy and really does require 2 people to manage it. If you have to pack any of your equipment away after training sessions, you will find it difficult to stack properly without causing possible long term damage to the ribs and stitching. It's also that much more tunnel to keep clean.

A nice reasonable compromise is a tunnel of 15' or so. One person can manage it (although that really should be discouraged; agility isn't worth ruining your back over), it is just long enough to stretch in a S under the Aframe, and it still stacks nicely for storage. 15' is also the minimum most USDAA judges would prefer to work with and it is the maximum tunnel length permitted for an AKC tunnel. (Janet Gauntt)

For a cheap tunnel, look for the children's play tunnel at an IKEA store. The tunnel is ripstop nylon (not vinyl, so less likely to crack or tear) and is about 9 feet long. It's a smaller diameter than a "real" tunnel, so you might not want to try it with a St. Bernard, but some larger breeds manage it just fine! The good news is they're only about $20. They also fold up into an incredibly small package so it would be easy to store. You probably wouldn't want to leave them out in the weather. (Jo Ann Mather)

For those of you seeking a tunnel that is more durable than the Toys R Us variety there is a place that sells therapeutic merchandise that sells a tunnel called the "Heavy Duty Crawl Tunnel." It is 108"x24", with a coil steel frame and heavy duty dark blue canvas for the cover. It's easy to store and lightweight, (has to be braced on windy days). It sells for $39.95 at Flaghouse (1-800-793-7900). There is a fee of $5.00 for orders under $50. (Nita Woulf)


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