9' Practice Tunnel w/22" Diameter
The perfect solution for an affordable, yet durable tunnel for backyard practice! Featuring a steel coil that is sewn inside the lining (nothing will catch on the dog), and like a big slinky it condenses up for easy lightweight storage. The material has the weight and feel of lightweight canvas. It is durable, resists the roughness of dogs claws, yet only weighs between 8-12 lbs!9' Tunnel (the most popular size) has a 22" diameter, and comes in Royal Blue w/red stripes (see picture above). It can be curved, and has a special flap for attaching two tunnels together to make one long one!
"How do these tunnels compare to competition tunnels?"
Minimum standards for "regulation" tunnels are 10 to 20 feet long, with an entrance 22-26 inches in diameter (usually 24"). Our portable 9 foot tunnel has a 22" diameter, and is made of a different, lightweight material. The competition tunnels are very heavy in construction, and are a challenge for one person alone to move and carry. (approx.50 lbs) They are great if many dogs are going to be running through it, but not so good for one-person set-up, storage space, or for the budget. But one advantage of competition tunnels for serious home practice may be the extra 2" of diameter size. Big dogs have to do a little crouching to get through any size tunnel, but the smaller the diameter, the more they learn to "crouch" when running through, and it could slow their performance if all you train with is the smaller diameter tunnel. Many people with big dogs are content to use the practice tunnels at home anyways, because competitions COULD have a tunnel with a 22" diameter. (though we've never seen one). (although to complicate matters more, the braces we include with the practice tunnels push against the material, causing it to lose approx. another inch).
"How do I keep my tunnel from rolling in the wind?"
These tunnels need to be staked down so the wind doesn't blow it away, and also so they don't move when your dog barrels through it at lightning speed. One way is pound garden stakes/poles on each side of your tunnel. Two on each end is sufficient. Another way is to use gallon milk jugs weighted down with sand or gravel (or water), and get a bungee cord to hook on the handles and go over the top.
"How do I care for my practice tunnel?"
These tunnels are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Their weathering qualities are like canvas tents: you can leave them out and they will dry if wet. Prolonged exposure to the hot sun with not enough moisture can dry it out, however, so we suggest bringing them in if you don't think you will be using it for a week or more, especially in the summer. It also helps to periodically treat your tunnel with a waterproofing spray such as Scotchguard, available in your local Walmart or camping supply store. It is a spray used to treat canvas tents and make them more water repellant.
"My dog loves the tunnel already. Why should I have one for my own practice?"
Actually, this is the reason why you should get one. When practicing, the tunnel works great for a reward... to break up the monotony of other obstacles he might not like as well. For example, after your dog does a stay on the pause table, use the tunnel as your next obstacle! Or after the weave poles. Your dog will be much more eager to learn the more difficult obstacles if he has his favorite obstacle in the lineup.
Also, the tunnel IS one of the obstacles that is most often used for tricky "traps" in a trial. By having your own tunnel, you can do many different control exercises that will make him less apt to fall for these tunnel traps. In advanced agility training, you will want to teach your dog to "go ahead' into the tunnel ahead of you, and you will want to do "cross behinds", and "call-offs" using the tunnel too.