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Our mini dogwalk has served us well over the years but there comes a time when you have to stop replacing bits and making running repairs.  We decided to put it out to grass and make a new one.

The new design is quite a posh affair.  Here it is in the raw before it's been painted.  It's about 28" to 29" high.  The ramps are 6ft long and the central section is 4ft long so it's quite compact and is fairly easy to make. 


For this design I decided to make the trestles from timber.   Mine taper inwards towards the top.  The legs are made from 50mm X 75mm  timber and the cross pieces are made from bits that I had handy.  The trestle legs are hinged at the top using strap hinges.

When the dog walk is painted and it's ready to set up I'll adjust the height of the trestles so that the whole thing is about 28 to 30" high.  I can then use chain to string between the legs of each the trestles so that they open up to exactly the right width.  


If you don't want to go to the trouble of making trestles you can buy builders trestles or get a pair of saw horses from somewhere like B&Q or Homebase.  I wanted mine to be fairly heavy as we live in a windy county where normal equipment can get blown over. 

For the top of the dog walk and the ramps I bought two sheets of 4' X 2' 19mm exterior ply.  I asked the DIY man to cut these sheets into 12" wide strips so that I had four bits of ply measuring 4' X 1'.  The man was very nice about it considering it was Sunday afternoon and he wanted to pack up and go home.

The ramps are 6 feet long and the top of the dog walk is four feet long.  This meant attaching two pieces of ply to frames made up from 25mm

X 50mm timber.  The slats are just cut from a length of moulding.  The top was built on  a similar framework and this is shown below. 

I have also made a second central section which is eight feet long so that I can have a longer dog walk if needed. 


The ramps and the top were joined together using loose pin hinges.  These are strong hinges meant for hanging doors and they have a steel pin that can be withdrawn from the hinge so that it comes apart.  I thought this idea was good for making dog walks and it has been used by other people.  I've shown the method here but after a while I found it too fiddly to put together easily.

 Shown right is one end of the top of the dog walk.  I used a couple of bolts on each side of each half of the hinge to strengthen the arrangement.  The hinges aren't really meant to be jumped on by big hairy dogs.



Below left is a top view of the ramp joined to the top of the dog walk.  I had to make an insert to fill the gap!  To join up the hinges I discarded the steel pins and used a metre of steel rod cut in half.  I bent the ends to make handles. 

We used this arrangement for a few months but it was quite fiddly getting the rod to slip into the hinges. 
Further down the page you'll find the modification I used to join the ramp to the central section.

Here's the hinge handle pushed through the slots in the loose pin hinge.  This has made a firm joint between the ramp and the top and it has the advantage that the dogwalk can easily be dismantled and moved or stored in the shed.  Now all I have to do is to paint it. 





The whole operation was closely supervised by Jamie and Sasha but they did have a few diversions. 

Sasha has been keeping a close watch on activities on the other side of the gate.  If she watches just long enough she might catch a passing postman or an unwary cat may venture into the garden.  Jamie has been working on an escape tunnel.  This is located beside the garden shed and is veering towards the stone hedge at the back of the garden.  Did he really think I wouldn't notice the enormous hole that he's dug in the compost heap?



Having made the dog walk it then had to painted.  This was quite a big job.  I used gloss for the trestles, undersides and the sides.  The top had to be painted with non slip paint and there are several things you can use for this. 

I used gloss undercoat with a bit of blue gloss added to give it some colour.  The contacts I did in white.  I mixed in a bit of fine sand which I sieved with a fine sieve.  If you use the one from the kitchen which is meant for sifting flour it works really well.  Mine had to have a good wash afterwards and I didn't tell the OH. Other things you can use are, deck paint coated with anti-slip granules,  CooVar Sure Grip paint which is expensive but good, or use non slip yacht or floor paint.  

These days most people use rubber contacts though and I've included a bit at the bottom of the page to show how you can simulate them without it costing a fortune.

Before I put the dog walk together I put one of the ramps in the garden to let Sasha and Jamie test it out for grip.


First Sasha has a go and Jamie gets jealous

Then Jamie has a go and Sasha watches to make sure he gets the contact.

Then they both want sweeties for being good dogs

....and finally we musn't forget the most important bit of all.  A plentiful supply of tea.


Update: After we'd used the dog walk few times I got fed up with trying to thread the hinge handle through the bolts to hold the ramps in place.  I decided to replace the hinges and hinge handle with some right angled brackets.  I pushed some coach bolts into the hinge slots on the top section of the dog walk so that the brackets could just slip over the top.  I found this much easier to set up but you do need to push down on the ramps to make sure that everything is stable.


Jilly loves all the contact equipment.  After a while I remade the dog walk down to it's original size again as it was too heavy for me to lug around all the time.  Here she is training over full sized club equipment for the first time when she was about thirteen or fourteen months old.

Rubber Contacts

Most people use rubber contacts now but buying the rubber granules or the skins to cover your own equipment is hellishly expensive.  I've just revamped our dog walk by putting new plywood on the ramps and then covering them with yoga mats cut to size. 

The yoga mats came from the TK Maxx clearance section and they cost me 7 each.  Annoyingly yoga mats aren't quite six feet long and so I had to buy three to get enough to cover the dog walk.  The top one isn't the same colour blue but I don't think the dogs noticed.  I glued them on with No Nails glue. 

Our dog walk is kept under cover but if you have to keep yours outside you'll need a weatherproof glue and good quality external plywood.



Here's Sasha practising the end position on the dog walk and a video of Jilly.  Jilly is obsessed with her toy and it took a lot of training to get her to ignore it until she's finished her run and she's been told to get it.  A toy is great for training forward focus though so that your dog doesn't keep looking back at you.











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