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Bar Jump

Here I illustrate simple bar jumps made out of PVC. Nothing beats PVC bar jumps for transportability and low cost. One jump costs less than ten dollars worth of materials. If you use plumbing grade PVC, as I have, do not store them outside. They tend to get brittle when exposed for long periods to sunlight and temperature extremes. The examples below are with very narrow diameter pipe mostly to enhance portability. Larger diameter pipe is sturdier (thus safer) and looks better. Consider furniture grade PVC, much better quality than plumbing pipe. Also the fittings available for furniture grade pipe allows more flexibility in design.

For more information and resources on both competition and practice grade equipment you can buy ready made, or sources for designs you can build see my agility equipment links page or Katie Greer's Agility Ability Equipment page for more information.

Here is what you will need:
1 PVC pipe cutter

optional: (see below for drilless version)
1 drill
5/32 inch drill bit (size to machine screws if you use a different size than #8)
7/32 inch drill bit (may be larger)

Then for each jump
2 ten foot lengths of PVC schedule 40 pipe -
2 cross joints
2 slip joints
2 male plugs
2 #8 machine screws with 2 washers and 2 nuts
4 bolts and 4 either wing nuts or toggles
2 end caps
colored plastic tape
The diameter of the PVC pipe is up to you. Larger diameter is easier for the dog to see, and sturdier. Smaller diameter is more compact and cheaper. In these illustrations I used 1/2 inch pipe. Do be sure to use schedule 40, which is thick walled, not thin walled pipe.

I prefer jumps with holes drilled in the uprights and toggle bolts (bolts with wing nuts work well also) used to hold the jump bar. Take the cross joint and drill a hole in the center. Drill a hole in the center of the male plug. Attach the male plug to the cross joint using the #8 machine screw. I found it easiest to put the screw into the plug, then into the cross joint and put the nut on inside the cross joint. It is best to secure the nut with glue, if you can. It is not absolutely necessary but I found it helpful. I used hot glue - just poked the nozzle of the glue gun into the opening and let the glue fall across the exposed screw threads and nut. It need not be hot glue, anything that will stick to metal will be fine.

Put the slip joint over the end of the plug - that is what you will put the upright into.

The PVC cutter is easy to use. Have someone in the hardware department show you how. Cut the each PVC pipe into one 30 inch upright, one 4 foot bar, and four 10 inch feet. Starting four inches from the bottom of the upright drill holes all the way through the pipe at 2 inch intervals. The size of the drill bit depends upon the size pipe you use. I find 1/4 inch bolts are easier to handle than thinner ones, but 1/4 inch is too big for 1/2 inch pipe. Here I am using 7/32 inch holes for 3/16 inch bolts.

Wrap the uprights and the jump bars with colored plastic tape to improve visibility and looks. Put an end cap on the uprights to create a finished look. Insert the uprights into the slip joints. Put a bolt through holes at the same height on each upright and rest the jump bar on the bolt. Add a second jump bar half way down the upright. (not shown)

When I transport these jumps I don't remove the male plug from the cross joint, but I usually do take the rest of it apart.


Drilless version Then for each jump
2 ten foot lengths of PVC schedule 40 pipe -
4 T joints joints
2 conduit clamps (same size as your upright pipes e.g. 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch)
2 conduit holders (next size larger than your jump bar (if available))
2 end caps
colored plastic tape
If you don't have a drill you can use holders intended for electrical conduit to clamp to the uprights and hold the jump bar. Use 4 T joints instead of the cross joints, male plugs and slip joints. Cut the PVC pipe this way: two 30 inch uprights, one 4 foot bottom bar, one 4 foot-two inch jump bar, four 10 inch feet and 2 connectors (five inches is good). Then change the "feet" for the uprights as follows: I don't think I can describe how it goes together, but I'll try. The T joint has a long way that goes straight through, and a short way. The first T joint goes on the ground. One foot goes on each end the long way. A short length of PVC (about 5 inches) is inserted in the short end. With the feet on the ground the short length of PVC should be pointing straight up. Insert the long end of the second T joint onto the end of that short piece of pipe. Do the same for the other jump leg. Then connect the use the 4 foot bottom bar to connect the upper T joints - the short way. The uprights go on the remaining opening of the T joints. Look at the pictures.

Note that the bottom bar needs to be a little shorter than the jump bar. It is easiest to cut the bottom bar, put the jump together, then cut the jump bar to fit.


Recently I have been using yet another alternative that is even more compact.

I started using this style of jump when I wanted something extra compact to keep in the car all the time. One jump takes up just over 3 inches wide, 3/4 inch deep and 30 inches long if you are using 3/4 inch diameter pipe. Eight jumps fit into a space about 3 inches by 7 inches by 30 inches.

The jump bars can be made more compact by cutting a regular jump bar in half, i.e. if you would normally make a five foot jump bar, cut that five feet in half. At set up time just use a PVC slip joint to rejoin the jump bar to full length.

Use those giant nails as "pegs".  Pound the peg into the ground, drop the PVC pipe over it for the uprights. Use either the style upright that has been drilled for bolts to hang the jump bars on, or the clamp style bar holder.

Half inch PVC won't fit over the nail head so if you want to use the small diameter pipe you will need something else as a peg. I use quarter inch threaded bar because it is easy to find, is sturdy and comes in a convenient length. It is a tad expensive for just pounding into the ground (a bit less than a dollar a piece). One advantage of the threaded bar is that its blunt ends are less of a risk to buried plumbing. The nails (sometimes called "garden stakes") are very tough and can be pounded into very hard ground with a small sledge hammer.

When it is time to put the equipment away the peg or nail are stored in the uprights. You can also put in the bolts for holding the jump bar if you are using drilled uprights.

If you want something more polished you might want to turn to a commercially made jump or Agility Hurdle

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Copyright © 1996-2003, Diane Blackman     Created: August 15, 1996     Updated November 23, 2010    

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