|Length of 4 inch diameter pipe:||Length of 3 inch diameter pipe:|
|Feet of pipe||Inside Diameter||Outside Diameter||Feet of pipe||Inside Diameter||Outside Diameter|
Have ready 2 inch wide cloth tape (or duct tape). Cut at least three pieces of tape about six inches long. Bend the pipe into a circle. Insert a connector sleeve (it should be the type that goes on the inside of the pipe on both ends). Or simply bring the two ends together. Use the three cut strips of tape to hold it temporarily. Then wrap the entire outside of the tire with one piece of tape. Overlap it at least six inches at the joint. Secure the joint by wrapping one strip of tape around the joint, and two more pieces (one on each side of the strip that is over the joint). I then make it pretty (and secure the circumference tape) by wrapping a contrasting color in a spiral around the tire. The contrasting colors are important for helping the dog judge the height and distance of the tire against varied backgrounds. Make sure to account for the dog's limited color vision. A red tape on a black tire may be obvious to us but barely noticeable to the dog.
The PVC pipe is easily cut with a hand operated pipe cutter, looks sort of like a wrench.
It is neater than a saw. Use at least 3/4 inch PVC, 1 inch is better, 1 1/2 inch is best. The extra sturdiness of the larger diameter pipe is worth it because you will be putting tension on the pipes to keep the tire steady. Note, however, that the larger diameter pipe may be very difficult to cut with the pipe cutter I show. A PVC saw is very cheap and easy to use, its just a piece of rough cable with handles. It doesn't cut very neatly. If you want to use large diameter pipe you will be happier if you can get it cut with an electric saw blade.
You will need at least 2 ten foot lengths of PVC (you might want an extra to give yourself some room)
You will be cutting the following: 2 cross bars (about 40 inches each)
4 feet (about 15 inches each)
2 straight connectors (about 3 inches each)
2 uprights (about 47 inches each)
You will also need 2 elbow joints and 4 T joints.
In this picture the upper crossbar is on the ground with the elbow joints already attached. The feet, straight connectors, bottom cross bar, and uprights are fully assembled.
Cut two cross bars the same length, about 40 inches. The best way to do this is to make the tire first then make the cross bars 16 inches longer than the outside diameter of the tire. I cut my pipes a little shorter mostly because I didn't know any better. Still its good for training if your dog likes to go between the tire and the frame, as mine does. I will have to make new cross bars because even now that she needs the practice with the increased gap.
To what will be the top cross bar attach an elbow joint on each end. Make sure the open ends of the elbow joints point in the same direction.
Hold the T joint so that it is like the letter T. Push the bottom of the T into the cross bar. Turn the cross bar over and attach another T joint to the other end (look at the picture).
Cut the four feet. Each should be about 15 inches long; length adds stability. Cut two straight connectors, about three inches each. Hold your T connector just like the letter T. Insert one connector into the bottom of a T joint, and one foot on each end of the T. Duplicate the setup. The bottom cross bar connects to the free end of each straight connector. Then the uprights go into the remaining T joint openings and the top cross bar finishes the connections (look at the pictures).
I've experimented with various methods of strapping the tire to the frame. Elastic cords work well, but are difficult to adjust to different heights. The Velcro shown here is safe, no hooks to accidentally snag a dog, and can adjust to any height, but is clumsy to work with. I've seen some other neat solutions, I just haven't played with them yet. My current favorite method uses an old slip collar to hang the tire. I found an adjustable "bungee" style elastic cord at "Home Depot" This style cord has two hooks but the cord can be pulled into a slot in the hooks to make it shorter. I'll get a picture of it up eventually. It is, so far the easiest of the lightweight adjustable solutions. Chain works for safety and adjustability, but I don't like the weight. For the side ties I'm using rubber ties that fasten with the plastic snap together buckles often used on dog collar. You can see them on the tire below, but I think the picture isn't clear enough to really know what you are looking at.
I don't glue any of the joints. I put matching colors of tape on each side of joined parts to make it easy to remember how it goes together. I tend to take it mostly apart to make it more compact for transportation.
13 September, 1996
Updated 7 September 2005
Copyright © 1996-2003, Diane Blackman Created: September 13, 1996 Updated February 27, 2006