For the solid portion of the tunnel, you can use a plastic soap drum from a car wash. It's about 23" in diameter and works really well. The top of the drum has a ridge around it where the top is "welded" to the barrel and that provides good support for the collapsible tunnel part. When you cut the bottom out, the drum becomes a little wobbly so build a 2"X3" frame for the open end and mount the whole thing on a plywood base. (Del Hersey)
When using one of the sawed-off plastic barrels, be sure that the plastic rim of the mouth of the tunnel (where it was sawed) is then sanded smoothly down into a concave shape. (Debbie Hunt)
If you are planning on using plastic barrels that have previously contained soap be very careful to rinse them out (maybe get them to rinse it out). A dog can step in the gel and get a chemical burn. Unless the barrel is rinsed out before you get it, look for plastic barrels that are food-grade. (Denise Mclean)
For a durable collapsed chute, use rip-stop nylon, then add an inside liner of heavy jean material, sewn to the inside floor of the chute. The liner measures 3 feet wide by 12 feet, and is sewn to the actual chute material around all the edges, and every 6 - 8 inches for the length of the chute. The purpose of the jean material is twofold:
- To keep the dog's nails from tearing the material,
- To add weight to the chute to keep it from blowing or twisting. It works for mild to moderate windy days, as well as on rainy days. The jean material is a little less slick than the rip-stop nylon.
You can also use the plastic blue and white barrels from an auto rebuild place for tunnels. The white one is a bit larger and has two nice blue ends that look nice with a blue and white chute. After cutting the ends off with a sabre saw, the remaining plastic is pretty rough. Take a carton knife and a rasp and smooth it out as best you can, then, for the end the dog goes through take the foam insulation that they use around doors -- the kind with the sticky back, and form it around the edge. Then take cloth tape and cover the foam insulation, making a decorative and protective padded edge that a dog couldn't possibly hurt itself on. For the other end, which doesn't show with the chute over it, but was still a bit rough, just cover the rough ends with cloth tape. (Jo Ann Mather)
One type of cradle for the barrel is built in two parts. Attached to the barrel by large screws are two 2 x 4's cut in a curve for the barrel to fit into. To make it even more stable, take a piece of 4 x 4 fence post and cut it diagonally, (it's about 18 inches long), then fasten it to a piece of 1/2 inch plywood with screws. The barrel then sits in this cradle to which it is attached with bungees and eye-bolts. The whole thing is very stable, yet easy to transport because it comes apart easily. (Jo Ann Mather)
Another method of padding the barrel's entrance is to use the tube type insulation that comes in six foot lengths and are slit on one side to fit around PVC pipe. These can be fitted around the end of the barrel and held in place with the plastic cable ties. When the insulation wears out, it is easily replaced. It offers a lot of cushion around the tunnel opening and is easy to see. It is also fairly cheap. It can be painted for contrast if required. (David Hanson)
Use sand bags on the open end of the chute rather than having it totally staked down. There are far less problems with a completely unattached open end or one that is lightly weighted rather than one that is completely staked down at both corners. If it is staked, just one grommet, PLEASE! If it's too "tight" at the open end it invites bunching of the fabric under the paws of dogs moving through, which in turn causes tangling. (Katie Greer)
For a quick and easy practice tunnel, you could use a big heavy-duty plastic trash can, cut the bottom out, using bungee cords to go around the opening. Use an old sheet, sewn together, for a chute with the bungee cord to keep it on. (Marilyn Gingras)
For demos and training you can have a rubber mat inserted into the chute, from just before the solid entrance to the far end. This alleviates the possibility of having a dog slip in the solid barrel entrance and also prevents the chute from shifting requiring a ring crew person to reset it every time. (Jackie Dowell)
For the chute itself, a mid weight nylon is best if cost is no object. This is available in most fabric stores. If of adequate weight (denier), it is very durable, dirt and moisture resistant, opaque, low stretch, and does not absorb water in rain. Coated nylon can be used, but the coating eventually flakes off.
Parachutes are normally made of nylon. It might be difficult to sew because of the triangle gore construction (many seams, little flat areas)in parachutes. The fabric might also be too light, which could be transparent and a problem in wind. Fabric with many seams across the dogs path could also tend to catch dogs as they proceed through the tunnel.
The cheapest mid weight non stretch fabric available is a good choice because of the high price of suitable nylon. Some flawed, inexpensive denim works well as long as it's dry. Rain can make it heavy enough to be a problem for small dogs, and any mud in the general vicinity will become an integral part of the chute. The dogs don't mind, but you can't predict human reactions. Avoid stretchy fabric (knits or elastics of any kind). Dogs can form pockets which tangle them in chutes of stretch fabrics even when proceeding straight thru.
Rip stop nylon is too light weight. It would blow and get twisted in the wind. You need fabric that has some weight to it. There is a heavier nylon. Tightly woven nylon fabric on the sale bolts works well. Sale fabric costs $2-3.00 a yard, in comparison to the non sale fabric cost of $7.00+ a yard. Nylon fabric dries faster when wet. Look for 60" wide fabric also. Don't forget the nonskid strips for the bottom of the barrel.
|« Open Tunnel Training|||||FAQ Home|||||Closed Tunnel Training »|