We won’t be building tunnels or chutes here at Instant Agility.Here then are the results of my researching in looking for the least expensive:
Affordable Agility (affordableagility.com) has tunnels, barrels, and chutes. Their competition-quality items are the cheapest I have found on the internet. They also have “practice” versions, which are not as sturdy. I believe they sell the chutes and the barrels as separate items, so be sure you are ordering all the pieces that you need. Practice tunnel ($55-160), Competition tunnel ($150-$245), Practice chute/barrel combo ($95), Competition chute only (+/-$100), Competition “budget” barrel only ($45).
Clean Run: (these are “practice” quality) Pac-n-Go Tunnel ($90), Pac-n-Go Chute ($85), Pac-n-Go set ($230). If you have the book from Clean Run about building agility stuff, they have instructions in there for sewing your own chute–then you’d only have to buy or build a barrel.
I ordered the Pac-n-Go set from Clean Run (cleanrun.com) that included two tunnels and a chute/barrel combination. The price was decent, and the quality is good. I am very happy with those. I never leave these “practice” items outside when I am not using them.
For training the tunnel, one person holds the leash and the other one goes to the other end of the tunnel and demonstrates they have food, toys, or a game waiting. Very simple. With the chute, you will want to fold the chute part back on itself until you have only a little bit hanging down for the dog to go through. Then you extend this a little bit every time. If you have help, you can have the dog go through the entire thing, but have someone hold it open at the end. Then after they have the hang of it, you can let them drop the end as the dog is about a foot from the end. Then you can do it as they are 2 feet from the end, etc.
These things are quite hilarious to try to teach if you are all alone, as I am. Roger is the builder in the family and definitely NOT a dog trainer. For the tunnel, it was very easy. I threw a ball or a squeaky toy through to the other side and presto! Doggie goes through. For Kipp, I got him to go through one time and now he is a tunnel freak. If there is a tunnel in the yard, Kipp goes through it over and over and over. 🙂
For the chute, if you are all alone, you need a very cooperative dog if you do not want to roll the thing up and do it gradually. I stood at the collapsed end and sent Kipp to the barrel part and then called him to me. Kipp turned himself into a sausage encased in chute the first time, but he did manage to come out the right end. Kipp is not so good at continuing in the same direction if he cannot see, kind of like me when I am swimming with my eyes closed. After doing this a couple times, it dawned on me that since I could send him around to the barrel part, I could hold up the chute part for him to see his way through a couple times and then drop it when he got near the end. That worked perfectly. If I am running beside him, I just call “Chute! Chute! Chute!” as he is going through so he can follow my voice and not get turned around. With more practice he probably won’t need the help. If he does still need the help, who cares? We just do this in the backyard… 🙂 If you are taking class, probably they have a better way. 🙂
For Tess and the chute, I had already practiced with Kipp so she got the benefit of being sent to the barrel and being able to see her way through once, then I dropped the end a few times when she was almost out, and then I had her go through on her own and she did great. Now she is a master. 🙂
These obstacles, once learned, will probably turn out to be your dog’s favorites. There are no contacts and no possible way to do them wrong–they just go through and that’s it! Piece of cake!