How to Create an Indoor Obstacle Course for About $20

A mindfulness practice offers more than stress reduction. Give your mind a break from your constant, controlled thinking and it can come up with some pretty clever stuff without your help.

That’s how I came up with this little obstacles course for Rico and Roxy (R&R). They love it, though I’m sure the plain, air-popped popcorn rewards have something to do with that.

To keep it fun and challenging, I change up the sequence and cadence.

So, here we go ….


From a down position – so a little cue training in here, too – I just bring them up to a stand … without taking a step forward. That way this exercise is like doing a push-up. No equipment, no cost!

Figure 8

There’s no chance I’m setting up a line of weave poles inside. Luckily, I don’t need to. I just needed the two small trash cans from the bathrooms. To accommodate R&R’s body lengths, I set the cans up about 3-3 ½ feet apart, then lead them in “figure 8” and circle patterns around them. Another freebie!


Ah, the old step bench. Recent years, it’s been a plant stand. But now, it’s been restored to its former glory of exercise greatness. Just not mine.

Instead, I have each dog either step up with just their front paws or climb all the way up on top of the bench. It strengthens their legs, but also serves as our pause platform, if you’re into agility. An added bonus, the dogs have learned to enjoy stepping onto the scale at the vet’s office.


And the cost? Free if you have a step, but you can get a new step for as little as $20 online. Or just use an ottoman.

Oodles of Noodles

Pool noodles might be the dogs’ most favorite toy of all time ever. We started off using them as safe, soft obstacles to step over, but they quickly became the most entertaining toys to run with and shake in the yard. And at 60-cents each at the end of summer, that’s just fine by me.


I have to give credit for this one to doggy daddy. Roxy is a natural jumper. She can make eye contact with adults, usually him. So I looked up dog agility hurdles online. The cheapest I could find was $30. Instead, he built one using about $15 in PVC pipe, a miter saw, and a little creativity. He even remembered to cut in half the top two pole holders so the pole could be easily knocked off in case Roxy doesn’t clear it.

Like my photography here, it ain’t pretty, but it gets the job done.



Now, I know these few challenges will only last so long, so if you have any creative games you came up with on the fly, I would love to hear about them!


About Christie Green

I'm a certified health coach, intuitive healer, writer, animal-lover, and peace artist (formerly martial artist) helping clients create lives with more balance, less bark.
This entry was posted in A Mindful Life with Dogs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to How to Create an Indoor Obstacle Course for About $20

  1. Hi there, I saw your post on Blog Paws and found my way here! I love the ideas here, and the look of your blog. Dogs and martial arts mindfulness are a great combination! I studied capoeira for one year, probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done!

    • Thanks, Lara! I’ve learned a little about capoeira through some demonstrations … learned enough to know I’m not agile or acrobatic enough to try it. But it sure is beautiful to watch. You get my respect!

  2. jsteuten says:

    Hi, just came across your blog on Blogpaws. I love it! What a great idea it is combining our relationship with our dogs with mindfulness. This concept really appeals to me.
    I have one question tho, how do you manage to achieve so much with two dogs together?! My first dog, Anika, knows so many tricks etc because I put a lot of time into it when it was just me and her but now that Billy is in the picture too I find it so hard to get anywhere with them both interfering with each other and jostling for attention all the time 🙂 looking forward to more of your posts, Jo

    • Hi Jo! Thanks for stopping by! You’d get a kick out of our behind-the-scenes shenanigans during photo shots. R&R jockey, jostle, bounce, drool, and apparently forget their names when food is at stake. My routine is to start off positive, then ease into frustration, working my way toward pulling my hair out before finally relaxing enough so they can calm down and pose for a few decent pictures. Once my switch flips to calm, they come right with me, but I have to go through fire first. I look forward to getting to know you! – Christie

  3. Cathy Connolly says:

    What great ideas! We have a GSD who would probably just love this, and at the same time use up some of that energy he has!

  4. I saw this on the BlogPaws blog hop and love it! I’ve been looking for something like this and just didn’t know where to start. Thanks!

  5. Nailah Bone says:

    Very cool! I’ve always wanted to make my own agility jumps but haven’t gotten around to it! 🙂

    • Hi Nailah – Thank you for stopping by. Doesn’t it seem strange to buy some of that equipment when it’s pretty pricey and you can just as easily make it yourself? Now, if I can just figure out how to make a tunnel …. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Dog Play — It’s Good For Us, Too | Dog and Dojo

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