Category Archives: Agility Equipment 101

3 Problems You Can’t Overlook When Choosing a Dog Walk

We had a unique opportunity to really compare the EMMCO SPORT Dog Walk, side-by-side in our shop, with another manufacturer’s product while working on a refurbish project for one of our customers and we were struck by what we found and thought it would be helpful to share our findings with you.

 

Dog Walk Comparison

Dog Walk Comparison

The main problems we found where:

  • Significant flexing
  • Exaggerated twisting
  • Unwanted bounce and movement

We found that some manufacturers use bleacher planks as the basis of their construction. This may seem like a good approach until you realize that bleachers are made to be supported at regular intervals and not made to be unsupported for a 12′ span (the normal length of a dog walk plank). The width of a bleacher plank is also on the narrow side. The product we saw was only 11 1/4″ wide. In competition grade equipment the planks should be closer to 12″ wide. A wider plank on the bleacher structures would only have provided even more instability.

EMMCO SPORT Dog Walk Plank

EMMCO SPORT Dog Walk Plank

Our products are manufactured from scratch and we use strong tubular aluminum to create the supportive structure and then apply aluminum sheet metal followed by fully rubberizing the contact surface. This really makes a difference! In the video, you will see for yourself the dramatic contrast. The difference boils down to one word stability. Please take a look at the video and decide for yourself. Information is key!

Click below to view the video:

Dog Walk comparison and feature characteristics – Medium

If you have any questions, please let us know. Run Happy!!!

Do you know the origin of the rubber used on your contact equipment?

Poodle on Aframe Lap it Up

It’s important to know where the rubber on your contacts comes from. Some rubber granules manufacturers, outside of the USA, are not as stringent about making certain that foreign bodies and unwanted chemical additives are not included in or with their rubber granules. This really matters! You don’t want your dogs exposed to contaminants. Always make sure that the products you use or your agility equipment provider uses are made in the USA. The products we use are manufactured here and are also used for children’s play grounds, sports tracks and around swimming pools to improve safety and performance.

“Some agility clubs are  also using recycled crumb rubber and painting it.   That rubber has metal and fiber and claims to be 99% metal free.   Thus if you do the match backwards and say 200 lbs of rubber is used on a set of equipment … then at least two pounds of fine thread like metal is on that surface for the animals to step on, just as if we stepped on a needle.   And not to mention what oils and such the old tires had driven across and  held onto.   They don’t wash the tires prior to recycling them. TPV is a virgin material designed for athletics and my opinion is the 4 legged kind deserve the same surface. ”   Rochelle Bagwell, American Recycling Center

The colored rubber granules we use, for indoor and outdoor safety surfaces on the equipment we manufacture, have  superior UV stability.  Our canine athletes deserve the same quality products that human athletes train on everyday. The materials and binders that we use give our agility equipment the best results.  Our supplier provides us with rubber granules that are free from wire, fiber, plastic, wood, and other undesirable contaminants. Our surfaces comply with the standards adopted by the AKC, CPE, NADAC, UKI and USDAA.

American Recycling Center, Inc.,  Premium Rubber Comparison    Traditional rubber safety surfaces in the past were installed using EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).  Depending on the manufacture at the time, including those manufactures that are no longer in business today.  There was a wide range of products in the market place that ranged from top quality (produced in a plant with rigid quality standards), to those that made a product that were labeled  “Just good enough”.   These sub standard products had numerous failures, color lot issues, and even pigment releasing.  In addition to that,  EPDM rubber granules were often formulated with sulphur, clay fillers, plasticizers and heavy metals such as Zinc.   Polymer content had been reduced as low as to include only 16% of its actual name sake EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).  

American Recycling Center, Inc.  with a synergy from Rosehill Polymers in the UK has made some strategic decisions to change the quality of colored rubber offerings in North America and to utilize the advancements in technology to do so.

The advancement of premium colored rubber has been branded TPV, named after the technology  that was utilized in it’s .   Starting off with no less that 22-24 % polymer, this TPV colored rubber that is essentially a cousin to EPDM in the elastomer arena filled the quality gap that was missing in the safety surface materials.  These TPV elastomers are the high-performance elastomers that combine the best attributes of vulcanized rubber – such as flexibility and low compression set – with the processing ease of thermoplastics.  This process as well is the solution to the color range issues that have always been an ongoing issue with traditional EPDMs.   

When comparing colored rubber in the safety surface industry, make sure to clarify the source of their materials.  Currently there is only one TPV that has been tested and proven by top installers of running tracks and playgrounds.

Here’s an other real note of caution. If you are either recovering an existing contact surface or creating a new one yourself, please make certain the specifications you use for contact zones are up-to-date and clearly defined. Check online with the sanctioning body or bodies you and your dog compete in to make sure you get current specs. It’s very disappointing to work so hard to rubberize a large contact surface such as a Dog Walk or A-Frame and find out later that your source material was OUT OF DATE! So please use caution and always double check! 

If you use our U-Do-It kits or any other rubberizing kits, please always make sure the plastic bags you mix the rubber and binder in are securely closed and locked to permit you to completely mix the 2 ingredients together. It’s also a good added safety step to fold over the end of the plastic bag (with the opening), for added insurance that it stays closed as you mix the ingredients together. A fact to remember is that the binder is moisture cured and the amount of moisture in the air will determine the length of time it takes to setup. One additional caution, NEVER try to do this without using rubber gloves. The ratio of binder to rubber granules is very, very important. If not exactly proportioned the surface will be shiny and not provide the traction needed on these surfaces.

Remember rubber really matters!

If you have any questions, please let us know. We are always glad to help.

RUN HAPPY!

 

Rubberized Dog Walk Plank with Rubber Slats

Rubberized Dog Walk Plank with Rubber Slats

 

Dog Walk Version 3 – Characteristics To Look For in a DW

http://shop.emmcosport.com/Dog-Walk-D… The Emmco Sport all aluminum dog walk has the following features:

▪ Our dog walk converts from 4′ to 2′ height for training.

▪ The light weight, all aluminum construction never rusts.

▪ The no maintenance powder coat finish will retain its color for years.

▪ The rubberized contact surface provides grip and comfort.

▪ The 12′ planks are rigid yet light with no unwanted flex or bounce.

▪ Easy set up or break down in just a few minutes by one or two people.

Dog Walk Version 3 – YouTube.

What is a Contact Trainer and how can it be used?

Contact Trainer – YouTube.  We hope you will like learning about contact trainers and seeing how much enthusiasm Patch has helping around the shop! Find the contact trainer at : http://shop.emmcosport.com/Contact-Trainer-CT01.htmContact Trainer

 

What qualities do you look for in Single Jumps? Our new jumps use Plastic Connectors.

New Jump with Patch and Dad

New Jump with Patch and Dad

Single Jump tripod side

Single Jump tripod side

Single Jump Footed side

Single Jump Footed side

Single Jump Foot

Single Jump Foot

Single Jump center bar and foot

Single Jump center bar and foot

New Single Jump fully assembled

New Single Jump fully assembled

There are many discussions and points of view about jumps and what they should include or exclude. The top of the list should always be safety for the agility team members (you and your dog). It’s important that when a dog or person come in contact with the jump that the component parts fall away dismantling the structure. We also feel that the lighter in weight the materials, that the jumps are made of, the more likely they are to fall out of the way. Our jumps only weigh 4 lbs. Some PVC jumps are very heavy and rigid and can present just as many issues as the older model jumps made from steel. Being light weight is also an advantage when it is time to move the jumps to create a new course, store or transport. It is also important that the exposed ends have plastic end caps creating a blunt end. Plastic jump cup strips are practical and provide a soft impact when brushed up against or when contact occurs. Some agility enthusiasts also feel that the bottom bar is unnecessary. If you feel this way we also offer free standing single jumps that will fit your need.

Click here to see the videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2_MFs62Uho

 New Single Jumps and Patch