Guinea Pig Agility Equipment
A-Frames, Low Set Jumps, Fat Balance Beams and Walks, Open Tunnels, Closed Tunnels and more. Just remember that Guinea Pigs need stable and safe Agility Equipment to enjoy the course.
PLEASE NOTE: And I will say it over and over and over again; Guinea Pigs need Guinea Pig Agility Equipment. Dog Equipment is too big, Hamster Equipment is too small, most Pet Fancy Rat Equipment is too narrow. Guinea Pigs need WIDE, LOW TO THE GROUND, STABLE/HEAVY MADE, Agility Equipment for their safety.
Some Guinea Pigs do and will jump higher then others. However, as far as training and maneuvering an Agility Course for a Guinea Pig/Cavy the Jumps should be kept low. It is not a good idea to ask your Guinea Pig to jump high and land with the wight of their bodies unto their little feet and ankles.
Your Agility Equipment Pieces for a Guinea Pig should be painted so that if the Guinea Pig soils it (yes, it can happen) you can wipe it off with a "wet wipe" and continue. This will not only keep the equipment piece nice looking a odor free, it will keep the Guinea Pig from stopping to sniff each time and or being tempted to repeating the violation at the same spot each time it is on that piece of agility equipment.
I will be using the terms GP, GPs, Cavy and Cavies....they all mean the same thing, those adorable little animals we love and know commonly as the GUINEA PIG!
An A-Frame for a GP should not be as tall or high peaked as you would see used for a Dog or a Pet Fancy Rat. An A Frame for a GP should be wide, low and very stable. The peak of the GP A-Frame should be more arched then peaked, or a low peak. It should be at least 5" wide and not too high at the peak.
THE OPEN TUNNEL
You can use so many things for an Open Tunnel for a GP. You might want to make sure it is either waterproof or washable....yes, sometimes the animals pee on the equipment.
Your Tunnel needs to be at least 1 1/2 times the length of a GP. I make mine approx (have to go measure) " long. I use fabric that can be either hand or machine washed. I hand mine to dry. They will last longer and look better over time dried that way.
THE CLOSED TUNNEL
The Closed Tunnel is usually fabric that is about the same length as the Open Tunnel and perhaps a bit longer. It has one open end and one end that lays flat on the ground. It is best, but not a must, if one end is "flared" like a Bell Bottom Pants leg on a good pair of 1970's Jeans.
There are some GPs that will need to be trained to a Double Open Ended Tunnel first to get used to the closed side as an opening laying flat.
Again, I make these washable so that if they get soiled, they are easy to care for.
DOUBLE OPEN ENDED TUNNEL
This is a long tunnel. Usually about twice the lenght of a Guinea Pig. It has two open ends, but is long enough that you can, one the GP is taught to come through it as an Open Tunnel, start pushing the ends closer to one another. This creates a sinking in the top of the middle of the tunnel, taught by lowering little by little, to create it where it is down to the ground in the middle. This makes the Closed area, if done little by little, less scary for the animal.
Bar Jumps are fun for everyone. No matter what animal is coming over them, humans love to watch. Did you know that some people and in some places such as the UK and Australia all jumps and most Agility Equipment are called "Fences". The reason is that ALL Agility came from the idea of Horses on Steeplechase Courses. In fact Dog Agility was first seen as a "half time show" at a Steeplechase Event....and the rest is History!
Bar Jumps for Guinea Pigs should have at least two bars and can have more. The highest should not be taller then 6". The Bar Jump, as every jump, must be stable enough to hold the weight of the GP on each side.
There are Bar Jumps with stationary bars and Stationary Bars with "knock down" bars. For Horses and Dogs it is a good idea to use the "knock down" type jumps so that if their legs hit the bars as they come over the jump the bars will fall from the jump so that the legs of the animal will not be injured or trip the animal. Small Animals, most, will use a front leg on the top bar as a lift to come over the jump. Some will even climb the jump. Guinea Pigs and hamsters are two of the most likely to climb a Bar Jump.
Bar Jumps can be "fancied up" in so many cute and fun ways. Just like Steeplechase jumps and Dog Agility jumps, have fun with these. You might even use ideas from Steeplechase or Dog Agility jumps.
Fence Jumps could be considered any jump on the course. However, in today's agility terms a Fence Jump is a jump that is made to look like a picket fence. it is a cute fence on any course and a crowd pleaser for sure.
You do not want this jump to be too high for the GP to jump. It should also be on a stable stand so that the stand will hold the weight of the animal on each side of the fence.
This is a favorite no matter what the species is coming through it. People love to see the Tire Jump jumped.
The tire needs to be the correct size. The inside of the tire, the hole, needs to not just the same circumference as your Guinea Pig, but a bit larger. A Pet Fancy Rat, Hamster, Gerbil or Mouse tire would be too small for a GP. A tire that is used for a Dog would be too big. The tire you want for a GP is just a bit smaller then twice the size of the GPs waist circumference.
The tire needs to be mounted on the frame so that it has a bit of give but does not swing as the animal comes though it. The Tire Jump should be mounted on a four sided stand with legs on each side for support. It must be stable enough to support the weight of the GP on each side as the GP comes through the Tire.
A Hoop Jump is a lot like a Tire Jump only made with any type of a Hoop. It should be approx. twice the size of the GPs circumference. A Hoop Jump can be mounted on a four sided stand or the hoop can be attached to a flat stable stand. The stand must be able to support the GPs weight on both sides as it comes through the hoop.
The Hoop can be an embroidery hoop, a yard games hoop, cut from a oatmeal or coffee can lid, or any fashioned hoop that is smooth (no sharp edges) and large and also small enough for a GP to use.
A Window Jump is a jump made out of a solid piece of board or fabric with a 'window' cut out of it for the animal to jump through. The window is usually cut into a circle, but any shape, as long as the animal can come through easily is fine.
A window for a GP should not be cut higher into the board then 6" off the ground. It must have a very stable stand, a stand that can bare the weight of the GP on each side.
BALANCE BEAM - DOG WALK - BRIDGE
For a GP your Balance Beam is more of a Walk (Dog Walk if you are familiar with Dog Agility Equipment) or a Bridge then a Balance Beam would be for a Pet Fancy Rat. Guinea Pigs, as a whole, do not have that same type balance as a dog or pet rat. A thin Balance Beam would be unsafe for a Guinea Pig to use.
A Balance Beam/Bridge/Dog Walk for a Guinea Pig should have a ramp up and a ramp down from the cross/balance bar so that the Guinea Pig can get up on it. The ramps should have cross pieces for grip on the GPs toes as it walks/climbs up. The cross board should only be approx 6" off the ground and all pieces should be approx. 5" wide.
It could be a good idea for this piece to have "hand rails" so that the GP does not step off the side but they are not necessary.
TEETER TOTTER - SEA SAW
Guinea Pigs should only use wide low Teeter Totters. Guinea Pigs should not use the higher set pivoted of the Sea Saw. Your Teeter Totter for a GP should not have a higher then 3" diameter pivot. The Pivot should be firmly attached to the Teeter Totter Board, just a bit off center so that one end is always down and ready for the GP to step onto as it approaches to mount. The board should be approx. 5" wide and at least twice the length of the GPs body long ways. It is a good idea to paint all equipment so that if the GP soils a piece it can be wiped clean in a moments time.
Weave Polls can be anything you would like to use that are alike and stable. They must be at least 7" tall and set approx. 6 - 8" apart from one another in a straight line.
I prefer Weave Polls to be a unit. Pegs in a stable stationary board. This way they do not move as the GP comes through them. The Weave Polls in the photo are made for a Pet Fancy Rattie, so they are a bit too close for a GP, but you can get the idea of how a set for a Guinea Pig should look. However, storage might be a problem with a Weave Poll Base large enough for a five Polls set far enough apart for a GP to Weave.
The Pause Table can be as simple as a block of wood or as fancy as a table with short fat fancy legs. It must be low enough for the Guinea pig to step up on as well as dismount easily and at least as square as the guinea pig is long.
What About Using Rabbit Agility Equipment?
While you could use a few of the pieces made for Dwarf Rabbits, such as Tunnels and Dog Walks, most Rabbit Agility Equipment is set up for Rabbits jumping over it. Guinea Pigs are not built like a Rabbit is. Guinea Pigs do not jump like Rabbits or more important, land like a Rabbit, so most Rabbit Agility Equipment is not appropriate for Guinea Pigs.
Ferrets Are About The Same Circumference as Guinea Pigs
While there are many pieces of Ferret Agility Equipment that a Guinea Pig could use Guinea Pigs will not want to play on used Ferret Agility Equipment unless the Ferret Agility Equipment has been thoroughly cleaned and or repainted. Guinea Pigs and Ferrets, being so close to the same circumference, could use the same size equipment, however, they should not share that equipment.
Because of the way that Ferrets move, different from a Guinea Pig, a Ferret is able to also use much of the Rabbit Agility Equipment. Again, not sharing of course, the Rabbits would not like that, but the same sized.
And, saying again. Each piece of Agility Equipment, for each species, needs to be safe and stable and able to hold the weight of the animal using it.
Pet Fancy Rat Agility Equipment for Cavies
There are a couple of pieces made for Pet Fancy Rats that you could safely use for your Guinea Pigs. These might be a Bar Jump, a low set Window Jump, large diameter made Tunnels. However, you would NOT want to use any Rat Agility Equipment for your Guinea Pig that is too small, too narrow, or too high for your Guinea Pig. Again, Cavies do not have the balance that a Pet Fancy Rat does, so sharing all the Agility Equipment could harm and be unsafe for your Guinea Pig.
So You Own Some Dog Agility Equipment
Unless your Dog Agility Equipment is for Chihuahuas and you have a very large Guinea Pig, Dog Agility Equipment is not safe for your Guinea Pig. And really, you would only be able to use a very small potion of the "Might Mite", as it is called, Dog Agility Equipment for your Guinea Pig. Guinea Pigs move very differently then dogs. Their body types are quite different and even though they might weigh as much as a Chihuahua, or other small dog breed, your Guinea Pig is not a dog.
YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE AND TRAINING OF YOUR ANIMALS. WE HAVE GIVEN INFORMATION ON IDEAS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR US. WE CAN NOT BE THERE TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING, WE CAN NOT KNOW YOUR TEMPERAMENT OR THE PERSONALITY OF YOUR ANIMALS. WE ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CARE OR HANDLING OF YOUR PETS.
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The contents of this page for Guinea Pig Agility Equipment is still under construction. Please check back later!
-- The Guinea Pig Agility Team
Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:04:07 -0500