Rubber Coated Agility Contact Equipment

Spot On Agility is lucky enough to own two full trial-sized rings of amazing agility equipment. As with all equipment, if you want to have the very latest, it requires a bit of updating from time-to-time.

 

Since we mainly use the equipment for ourselves and our classes, we intentionally decided not to jump on the band wagon of rubberized contacts. Not because we didn’t believe in them, but rather we knew we had the luxury of hanging back to let others be the test-cases as the various options and methods were established.

 

Now that we’ve had an opportunity to watch, listen and view the various samples and types, we’d like to share the two methods that we have ultimately decided on.

 

The two directions we went with were:

 
  1. Making our own rubber skins and putting them on a wood surface for the teeter.
  2. Pre-made rubber skins on an aluminum sheet for the dog walk.
  3. The a-frame…well, we haven’t decided yet.
 
Why two different methods? Well, the main things we looked at were:
 
  • Safety for the dogs
  • Durability (long lasting with quite a bit of use)
  • Cleanliness (easy to clean as well as little to no rubber pellet loss)
  • Ease (to put the product on our existing frame-work)
  • Cost
  • Weight of the final product (preferably so 1 person could reasonably move each piece)
 
Teeter – Making our own Rubber Skins:
 
We went with this route as we like the wood plank on the teeter. Our concern with an aluminum skin would be that it would be too light, too thin, potentially bounce more upon impact and not absorb impact and vibration as well as the wood. Since most of our clients are beginner dogs, their first experience on a teeter was our priority. Sure, we might be over-thinking this, but since the teeter already has an aluminum frame, we decided to error on the conservative side.
 
As for price, this was the least expensive option. The kit came in a box with all of the main supplies. We did need to buy a postage scale (exact measurement and weight is very important for this option) and we visited the dollar store to get a few inexpensive measuring cups.
 
Dog Walk – Pre-Made Rubber Skins on Aluminum Sheet:
 
The frame on our dog walk, although aluminum, is VERY solid and has little to no bounce and/or vibration, so this left us with several options to consider. Since the dog’s safety isn’t in jeopardy,  we had the luxury of focusing on the comfort of the handlers (i.e. equipment movers).
 
Since rubber pellets can add quite a bit of weight to a contact, we decided to compensate by switching to custom-made aluminum skins (which are light-weight) with a rubber skin on top that includes rubber slates. While this option was a bit more expensive, it will definitely be an asset and allow one handler to ‘easily’ move each ramp on their own if need be.
 
The A-Frame – So Many Options:
 
The a-frame posses a few challenges. While this is a SOLID piece of equipment for the dogs, it is one heck of a mountain-like mass for handlers to setup and move! Rubberized a-frames are great, but most people don’t realize that the rubber can add up to 48 pounds of weight…PER SIDE!
 
Until we can come up with a way to address the weight issue (remember, our goal is that ideally 1 person would be able to set it up), we’re going to hold off on revamping this piece of equipment. At this point, we could do the aluminum skins with the rubber, but the equipment would still be incredibly heavy. To compensate, we’ll need to come up with a system with wheels or another means to move and setup the a-frame.
 
We’ll keep you updated!
 
As a resource, we purchased all of our supplies for this venture from Max200.

As a 20+ year dog agility coach, I am passionate about producing quality resources for dog agility teams by promoting self-development and delivering clear and specific training solutions that enable teams’ to perform with clarity and confidence!

My unique experience as a hands-on trainer and 18+ year dog agility judge led me to create Sequencing For Success and the highly successful 2on-2off Contact Training DVD.

Our household has included Dalmatians, Labradors, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collies and engaging cats.

Contact Lisa via email AgilityOne at Gmail.com (replace at with @ sign)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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