Agility is a sport all about heights – how tall a dog is determines how high they jump. And getting a young dog measured is one of the things you will find people regularly worrying about.
All organisations are different in the way they measure and their height categories, but a number use hoops which are placed over the dog at the withers. Many dogs find this intimidating, so making a practice hoop which you can train your dog to be comfortable with at home is a big help.A dog that is comfortable with a hoop being placed over it, is less likely to hunch up or cower, will be easier to measure and give a truer height reading.
Building a measuring hoop is also very simple. All you need is some plastic plumbing pipe, a few connectors and a saw.
Because all organisations have slight variations in their heights, giving set measurements for this project would be impractical, so I will explain how you can adjust the hoop to suit your requirements. The hoop pictured is set for the Kennel Club small height (35cm).
What you Need: 22mm plastic pipe, 2x 22mm elbow joints, 2x 22mm 90degree tee joints; a small saw, plastic glue (optional), electrical tape (optional)
Step 1: The first thing to do is figure out the amount your piping fits into the tee joints, as you will need to deduct this from the pipe length. In the picture, I pushed the pipe into the tee joint and then marked the distance. I could then measure how deep my pipe fitted into the joint and deduct this from the depth of the joint.
It works like this: I want to make a hoop 350mm (35cm) tall. My pipe fits into the tee joint by 25mm, the tee measures 50mm, meaning I have to account for 25mm of the joint when cutting my pipe. End result, the pipe needs to be 325mm long.
325mm + 25mm = 350mm
Remember, that you are looking for the internal height, not the overall height. So you don’t need to worry about the elbows. The distance between the floor and the underneath of the top bar should equate to the height you desire.
Step 2: Measure your length of pipe to the desired height you will need for the legs. To get a straight cut, you can mark it with a strip of electrical tape. If you have a band saw, cutting a straight line is much easier, if not you will have to do the best you can by eye and then sand down the end. Remove any burrs of plastic or rough edges with sandpaper.
Step 3: Fix the pieces for the legs together as shown and measure them to check the accuracy.Next cut a top bar. The width of this will depend on your dog’s size, it should be long enough that the hoop can sit over the dog without knocking their sides. In mine I made the top bar 350mm.
Step 4: Cut four short lengths of pipe (about 75mm) to go into the ends of the tee joints to stablise the feet. Measure everything again and make sure the hoop stands square. Then, if necessary, you can dismantle and glue the joints with plastic glue.
Let the glue set and then you are ready to start measuring!
(Copyright Sophie Jackson 2017)