Wednesday, February 5, 2014
What's the best flooring for dog agility?
One of the most important questions you should ask as a dog agility trainer is, "what type of flooring should I use to train my dogs?"
Before we answer that, let's look at those flooring options that are NOT great for the sport.
1.) Rubber. Perhaps the biggest misconception out there is that rubber (rolled or interlocking tiles) provides some sort of spongy, super surface that provides great traction while also providing comfort for animals and trainers alike. This notion is false. Rubber, while a great surface for protecting floors from heavy equipment like treadmills or weight benches, does not provide much fatigue relief at all. In fact, a rolled rubber floor isn't much softer than the concrete floor it covers. And while rubber may be easy to clean (usually a damp mop will do the trick) it is NOT waterproof. Also, because most rubber floor products come in black (they are made from recycled tires) they show dirt immediately. In short, rubber has it's place but that place is generally not in a dog training facility.
2.) Vinyl/Plastic. Another seemingly great choice for flooring your training facility would be vinyl or plastic. It's waterproof, easy to clean, it looks nice...However, like rubber it is generally an unforgiving surface. Products made of these materials are also often slippery making for a treacherous area for both trainer and dogs. Slippery = no good for training dogs.
3.) Carpet/hardwood. These products get destroyed quickly by animals and are a nightmare to keep clean. Enough said.
Believe it or not, the best flooring for dog agility training is foam. Not just any foam, of course. Kids mats from the local box store will be shredded in no time. However, dense EVA foam that is designed specifically for dog training provides everything you're looking for for your facility. It is waterproof and easy to keep clean. A high-traction, commercial grade carpet top provides excellent traction and is resistant to dog claws. Superficial scratching and tears will happen, to be sure. But the quality and performance of the floor will remain unaffected for years. Dog Agility mats are simple to install. Puzzle tiles that simply piece together, they require no adhesives. For a wall-to-wall installation, you simply cut them to fit with a sharp utility knife. Also, if one tile gets damaged, you can simply replace it and carry on. Not so easy with a roll of rubber or hardwood floor!
Would you like more information on dog agility flooring or other products we carry? Give us a call at 877-822-6622.