Gerbil Agility Equipment
Any items you use as agility equipment for your Gerbils needs to be stable enough for the gerbils weight and have no sharp edges. The pieces of equipment need to be the right size for gerbils. Some Rat or Rattie Agility pieces of equipment may work for your gerbil but for the most part these items will be too large. You may be able to use a couple of items a mouse would use for agility, but most of these items will be too small. Just like Goldie Locks, your gerbil needs the right sized "stuff".
You can buy items already made up or make some yourself.
Items as simple as a empty cardboard paper towel roll can become an Open Tunnel or a Sea Saw Tunnel.
Many gerbils only jump. They have a series of different jumps that they seem to fly over. This is really called "ShowJumping or Show Jumping". It takes a bit more training to teach the gerbil to use the agility equipment....under, over, around and through. It does not matter what you choose, the gerbil will have fun either way.
The above photo is of how an agility course for a gerbil or hamster might be set up.
Gerbil Agility Equipment Pieces
Same basic Jump as the Tire Jump but made with any type hoop/ring....needs to be very stable.
Hoops are usually but not always round.
The hoop jump for a gerbil can be made of many cute items. Just make sure that the frame does hold the hoop well and is stable enough for the animal to climb on while first learning the piece. Some gerbils and most hamsters will always climb rather then jumping the Hoop Jump.
Window Jumps are much like a Hoop Jump but the background is solid. In other words the Window Jump is made with a solid piece of wood or plastic with a "window" cut out for the animal to jump through. Most of the "windows" are made larger then a typical "hoop" would be for a Hoop Jump.
Window Jumps can be any shape but usually are rectangle with the long side facing up and down.
This piece, the Window Jump, is a real crowd pleaser in events.
Bar Jumps can come in many shapes and sizes. The important thing is that they stable and set for a fair height.
The Bar Jumps should also be the right size for the animal. In other words, you would not want to use a set of Bar Jumps for your Gerbil or Hamster that were made for a Rabbit. A Dwarf Hamster might need smaller Bar Jumps then a Gerbil would. Certainly a Dwarf Hamster would need smaller equipment then a rat.
Bar Jumps are made so that the bars are adjustable. Each side of the jump must match the other so that the adjustments are even when set up.
These Bar Jumps (for any agility species) are usually where you see the Agility Art, if you will, on the Agility Course. Bar Jumps are often times wood cut out shapes and painted in detail. Many times the bars themselves are part of the art.
STATIONARY BAR JUMPS
Stationary Bar Jumps are Bar Jumps with stationary bars...or bars that do not adjust.
These Bar Jump is made with colored Popsicles Sticks and is stationary enough to support a gerbil, hamster, mouse, or young/baby rat.
Gerbils use lots of jumps in their courses because jumping them is fun for the gerbil.
Fence Jumps are made to look like a fence that a horse would be behind in the country. Why? Because all animal agility, all, meaning dog, cat, rat, gerbil, mouse all or any species came from the idea of Steeple Chase. An event horses compete in by jumping over all kinds of pretty and functional fences...well, cut outs if you will. The event can also be called "Show Jumping".
So you will see, even in mice agility, fence jumps on about every agility courses. This is also the reason some folks call all the jumps "fences". Many people also refer to the small animals agility or jumping courses as "Show Jumping".
WIRE "A" FRAME
For this Wire A Frame you may want to use a smaller sizing in the webbing of the wire. I like the larger wire as it teaches the smaller animals to reach (LOL once you teach them not to go through the wire and hang upside down)
These are two I use (photos coming soon). The first is approx 8" x 5" and is bent over at the first "squares" of the wire. I have found this size to be great for teaching the young ratties for the first time on a Wire A Frame.
The second is approx. 8" x 8" and is also folded at the first "squares". Both of these I have painted red with spray paint.
An "A" Frame is a "walk", if you will, that from the end is shaped like a capital letter A. It has some sort of planks, slats, or steps for the animal to climb up one side and down the other.
This piece is usually a favorite with animals....dog, cats, rats, mice, most animals really enjoy scaling the "A" Frame.
For an Open Tunnel for a young (small) rat or a Hamster or Gerbil, 2" PVC pipe works well. It is light weight, easy to clean and can be painted or decorated if you desire.
Or you can use a fabric Open Tunnel. This one is a McDonald's Restaurant fabric print with purple polar fleece lining. It is approx.5 1/2" long with a 2 1/4" opening. It is machine or hand washable and I can let it air dry.
The Closed Tunnel should have one end open and a drape in the "fabric" with a closed end.
This one I use for my hamster and gerbil. It is approx 10 1/2" long with a 2 1/2" opening. It is made with polar fleece that is washable.
The Balance Beam can be as simple as a plank or as elaborate as a slated bridge with picket sides.
For a gerbil the platform that they run across should be approx. 2" wide. It might be as long as 18-20" or as short as 6". The Balance Beam should be approx 3-4" tall. It will need to be painted so that it can be cleaned easily.
Weave Polls are a series of 5 to 7 polls that the gerbil will "weave" through. The polls are set up in a row, some staggered, and the gerbil walks to the left of the first, right of the second, left of the third and so on.
I have seen some really cute ideas for tiny Weave Polls. I have seen Playdough used to hold polls, small dolls used, toilet paper rolls, the ideas are endless.
Make sure that the stand or platform that you attach your Weave Polls to is stable. The gerbil, fast as they are, may bump into a poll or two and they need to stay upright and not fall over on or near the gerbil and scare it.
When your gerbil masters this piece it is really cute to watch them run through it. It will take a lot of training, so stay patient and have fun.
Teeter Totters are a fun piece of agility equipment. Everyone loves the Teeter Totter. Make sure while training this piece to your animals that you go slow and keep it low until they get used to the teeter. remember, when they first begin, it feels like the ground is dropping under them.
A Teeter Totter for a mouse should be approx. 2" x 15". The teeter should not be more then 2" and 1 1/2" would be best.
The Teeter Totter like all pieces should be painted with a paint that can easily be cleaned with a wipe.
The Teeter Totter is smaller then the Sea Saw and should be taught to the animal first. Take your time training this piece. If not trained slowly it could set back your entire training as it might scare the animal.
The Sea Saw is a favorite piece. Everyone wants it tall and fun. For a well trained gerbil a taller, but not too tall Sea Saw is fun. But it must be taught correctly.
The piece should be approx. 3" wide, by 12" - 15" long with a 2" pivot, or teeter (break over).
The piece must be stable or wide enough to hold the animals weight even if the animal is running off center.
Remember to train the gerbil to the Teeter Totter first. The Teeter totter is a shorter Sea Saw. Remember when the gerbil walks on the Teeter Totter or Sea Saw, it feels like the ground is dropping under it when it pivots. Take training for this piece slowly, it will be worth it.
Usually a Pause Table is a small table type area for the animal to stop on. Sometimes it is the ending piece for the animal and when it arrives it will get a treat at that or on that piece.
Many times the Pause Table is a plastic or wooden box. I have also seen large lids used for the tiny animals for Pause Tables.
This one is a cute little wooden house with a treat bowl built in.
This jump is made with a small dog toy tire tire and frame. It is one of the cutest pieces (in my opinion). It must have a stable frame to hold the gerbils weight should the gerbil climb through this piece, in training, rather then jumping through it.
The rope up on top will be cut when I decide just where I want the tire to hang.
SMALL ANIMAL SEVEN PIECE AGILITY SET
This seven piece set (including the plastic storage box the items come it) is a great starter set for gerbils, regular and dwarf hamsters, mice, mouse, a small or very young rat, rattie, rats.
This set is made safe and sturdy for the tiny agility competitors weight.
It comes with two Stationary Bar Jumps, one with two bars the other with three bars, a Triangle Hoop Jump, an A Frame, and both an Open and Closed Tunnel made with fabric.
While not competition equipment, still fun and functional and great for training and having a great time at home or with friends that also own small animals. It is also recommended for entertaining friends and family with your small pets antics!!
We sell these sets, in several color choices, in our on site stores to encourage people to get started in this fun and exciting sport....small animals love the equipment and the time spent with you.
You can use it just as it is and or add jumps and other equipment as your small pet learns to manover the course you set up for it.
The contents of this page for Gerbil Agility Equipment is still under construction. Please check back later!
-- The Gerbil Agility Team
Tue, 11 Mar 2008 20:03:45 -0400