Agility training and competition are wonderful bonding experiences for both dog and owner. It presents challenges in time, obedience, skill, and accuracy and is one of the most popular ways of engaging in canine sportsmanship.
These competitions consist of a variety of obstacles – the most familiar being tunnels and chutes. The best agility dog tunnels and chutes will test and develop your dog’s skills so that they’re prepared when competition time arrives.
What are Dog Agility Tunnels and Chutes?
Tunnels and chutes are variously-sized barrels consisting of rings and fabric. They’re wonderful teaching tools for control, obedience, and increasing your dog’s stamina over time. Plus, they’re just plain fun!
How are Tunnels and Chutes Used?
When tunnels and chutes are used to train or compete in agility, the dog is required to run as fast as possible through one end and out the other without missing a beat. If your dog misses the entrance to the tunnel or chute and has to retrace their steps, this will negatively affect the outcome of the final score.
You’ll often see tunnels or chutes placed in between two larger obstacles such as bridges or poles (which are either stepped over, jumped over or woven through).
What’s the Difference?
Though agility dog tunnels and chutes look similar and serve a related purpose, they are different in a few minor ways.
Chutes generally consist of a single, straight barrel that your pup can zoom right through. They usually don’t require much canine skill or endless hours of training and patience.
Contrarily, tunnels can be made up of curvatures, fabric blockages in the openings, and multiple barrels. These pose a little more of a challenge to your dog than chutes do and may cost you a weekend or two.
When Can We Start?
Because agility training requires your dog to push their body to become more athletic and agile, you may want to begin training when your pet is one year or older. Any younger, and you could very well be putting your puppy at risk of joint damage. A puppy’s joints and bones are not fully developed until they’re around 18 months old.
However, if you’re serious about getting your puppy started, you can consider pre-agility training. This type of training is suitable for dogs under one year and focuses mainly on teaching puppies to focus when surrounded by noises and objects, as well as learn how to immediately obey commands.
Your Dog’s Stamina
Of course, with Agility comes building your dog’s stamina. This will help your dog to endure running through chutes and tunnels for a few hours during training and as they compete.
Going on hikes, long walks, and participating in engaging play will help to cultivate your dog’s overall endurance.
Be careful as to not overwork your dog. If your pup begins to slow down, increase their panting, or otherwise show signs of exhaustion, loosen the reigns a bit and take a breather until they’re ready to get up and going again.
Can My Dog Compete in Agility?
When it comes to competing in agility, most any dog can do it just as long as you’re in it for the fun. As we mentioned previously, building your dog’s stamina plays a vital role in agility training. With enough responsible practice, your dog should be able to withstand running through a few chutes and tunnels.
It goes without saying that some dog breeds are built to withstand jumps, sprints, and crawls better than others. For example, dogs with shorter legs or flattened snouts, such as Bulldogs or Boxers may not fair so well in agility sports.
So if you’re looking for breeds that are specifically suited for agility competition, there are a few breeds that you could consider:
- Whippets (a close relative of the Greyhound) are sleek, fast, and great for short distances. This makes them great Agility dogs.
- Border Collies are high-energy, limber dogs that are often used in agility competitions. They’re incredibly quick dogs — in fact, in 2018 a border collie named Fame beat her competitor’s highest scores in agility by over 8 seconds!
- Jack Russell Terriers are known for being boundless balls of energy. And it shows in agility competition! These little fellas can jump, hop and skip right to the finish line.
- German Shepherds aren’t just great police and family dogs. They’re also amazing runners and highly intelligent – great for crushing the competition on the agility course.
In general, any dog with the proper build can work towards becoming an agility star when given the correct time, training, and patience.
Best Agility Tunnels
1. PawHut 16′ Durable Lightweight Pet Fitness Training Dog Agility Tunnel
- Overall unit length of 16'; 24" diameter
- Quick and easy to setup or store away in included carrying bag
Our top choice for tunnels, the PawHut Dog Agility Tunnel is an extremely high-quality training option made of tear-resistant polyester and metal rings.
To make practice feel more like the real thing, this tunnel was carefully crafted to regulation size, measuring in at 16 feet long with 24-inch openings — perfect for dogs of varying sizes.
What’s great about the length and build of this tunnel is that it can be easily manipulated to create different shapes. Manipulating tunnels can help your dog to learn and become comfortable with the random, winding patterns of tunnels come competition time.
With the tunnel, 12 heavy-duty stakes are included along with a nifty carrying case for simple storage and traveling.
- A regulation-sized tunnel, this tunnel is 16 feet long with 24 inch wide openings, perfect for dogs of nearly all shapes and sizes.
- This tunnel is made with strong polyester materials that resist rips, even when your pup is barreling through it.
- Because of the length, this tunnel can be manipulated in various shapes to challenge your dog even further during practice.
- A carrying case is included for easy transporting and effortless storage.
- 12 stakes are included to keep this tunnel firmly placed on the ground.
- This is a great agility tunnel that will hold up for years.
- We have no complaints! This is a sturdy tunnel, great for making practice similar to real competition.
2. Cool Runners Agility Tuff Tunnel
- Manufactured from rugged 16oz PVC
- Our tuff tunnels are ideal for home practice
Want something a bit more professional and durable? The Cool Runners Agility Tuff Tunnel is a training tool to be reckoned with. This tunnel could easily be #1, but because of its higher price, we reserved it the runner-up spot.
Both the material and size of this chute meet regulation for competition chutes, with the openings being wide enough for large dogs and the length measuring in at 10 feet.
The material is made of a thicker, but lightweight, fabric that prevents tears and snags as your dog sprints from one end to the other.
For the awesome quality (that is sure to last through years of training abuse) this may very well be a worthwhile investment for the serious dog and owner.
- This is an extremely tough chute, great for large, determined dogs.
- It’s made from the same materials as competition chutes. It won’t easily tear and will hold up to constant practice.
- Like the material, the size of the opening is also similar to that of a regulated competition chute. This chute is 24 inches in diameter.
- Folds up easily for storage and transportation.
- No complaints here! This is an all-around sturdy, great chute for agility training but is a little more on the pricey end.
3. HDP 18 Ft Dog Agility Training Open Tunnel
- Length: 18 ft
- Opening: 24"
This dog agility training tunnel is an affordable, lightweight option perfect for home training.
It’s made of strong fabric materials, and steel rings to keep the tunnel self-standing and sturdy. Short, steel stakes are included in the purchase to anchor the tunnel to the ground.
The HDP Tunnel is regulation size, and AKC compliant, with openings measuring 24 inches in diameter; big enough for a German Shepherd to run comfortably through.
Overall, this is a decent pick for at-home use and may be a great option for those looking to get their dog familiar with tunnels that are similar to those used in competition.
- 18 feet long, but incredibly lightweight.
- Made with steel rings, and stakes rather than plastic (which are less durable and prone to breakage).
- The stakes are made short as to not risk nicking your dog as they run through the tunnel.
- It’s AKC compliant, meaning the tunnel is similar to models used in regulation competition.
- This tunnel comes with a carrying case for simple transporting and storing.
- The opening is 24 inches, making it suitable for large and small dog breeds alike.
- The thin, lightweight material may tear if used roughly.
4. POCO DIVO 4-Way Tunnel
- Single piece 4-way tunnel set with a portable carry bag
- Pop up tube design based on steel-spring construction
Tunnels with multiple arms can be useful in agility training, building your dog’s confidence and helping them to learn various tunnel shapes and routes.
The POCO DIVO 4-Way Tunnel would make a great addition to any at-home agility practice setup. It’s waterproof, made of sturdy materials that are resistant to rips, and strong, metal rings.
Each tube easily pops up and collapses for effortless setup and storage.
The downside to this tunnel is that it’s not so great for large dog breeds and it’s not regulation-sized — and even with small dogs, this tunnel will need to be staked in the ground to prevent it from moving (not included with your purchase).
- Though made for kids, this is still a great option for dogs in agility training. This tunnel consists of four individual arms that expand your dog’s learned memorization skills.
- It’s made of waterproof material and metal rings that can hold up to both indoor and outdoor conditions.
- Not regulation size and would be more suitable for smaller dogs, such as Russell or Boston Terriers.
- It doesn’t come with stakes, but will definitely need to be staked into the ground to avoid moving as your dog runs through.
5. Sunny Days Entertainment 6-Foot Chute
- Creativity and imaginary play: Bends into many fun shapes to promote creative, imaginative play....
- 6 feet long: With kids, the possibilities for play are endless with their creative imaginations. Get...
Though its intended use is as a children’s toy, the Sunny Days Entertainment Chute is still an excellent option for those needing a simple, durable practice chute.
This chute measures only 6 feet long, making it great for quick sprints and as a minor obstacle between larger, more challenging hurdles.
It’s made with thin, but durable, materials carefully crafted to make agility practice as painless as possible.
The Sunny Days Chute can also be quickly folded down to a compact size for effortless storage and transport.
- Short, 6-foot long chute for practicing quick movements.
- It can be quickly folded for effortless storage.
- It contains loops that can be staked into the ground for stability.
- Chute consists of large openings to suit dogs of practically any size (perhaps up to a German Shepherd).
- It’s made of durable, but lightweight materials and rounded entrances to prevent nicks and scratches.
- Wire rings may poke through the fabric with constant use.
Best Agility Chute
1. Pacific Play Tent Agility Dog Training Chute
- Tunnel size: 3 ft. x 24 inch with 8 ft chute - Tunnel collapses flat for easy storage and...
- 190T 70 Denier Polyester Taffeta fabric with durable construction for long lasting play and fun
Unlike some chutes and tunnels that require you to insert rings, the Pacific Play Training Chute is ready to go right out of the box — just be sure to stake it into the ground!
With your purchase, a carrying case is included and the chute easily collapses to make traveling to and from the agility club a breeze.
This is an incredibly petite chute, measuring in at only 3 feet long. This might be an ideal chute for helping beginners feel comfortable around and while running through the material.
Though a great training chute, it’s not exactly regulation sized. Your dog will likely be running through chutes that are around 3 feet longer, so this is something to keep in mind.
- Self-standing chute. No need to insert rings – just stake the chute to the ground!
- A case is included with the purchase for transportation and storage.
- Made of high-quality materials that can stand up to constant practice.
- It can hold up to the elements and indoor or outdoor use.
- Very short, 3-foot chute. Great for beginner dogs who are just started to get used to chutes.
- It isn’t regulation size, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Though there are many options on the market for agility dog tunnels and chutes, we do have our biases.
Our favorite chute is the Pacific Play Training Chute. While it isn’t regulation size, it’s super quick to set up and it’s an affordable option to get your pup started with experiencing chutes.
As for tunnels, we recommend the PawHut Dog Agility Tunnel. The PawHut Tunnel is regulation sized and suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes. It’s incredibly long and can be easily manipulated to bring your dog a new challenge at every practice.
Overall, the best agility dog tunnel or chute for your dog depends on his individual needs, how often you plan to practice, and the type of agility you’ll be engaging in.
Last update on 2022-12-10 at 22:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API