Agility Matting For Indoor Training

21 Feb 2007Steve Schwarz

I’ve taken the plunge and put rubber matting down in

Meeker's "room". The oxymoronically named "Sun Room" (it is north facing) is where I put Meeker when I first got him. It gave him a view of the backyard (for squirrel watching), has its own heat and air conditioning, and is safe for him to be left in unattended during the day. Now that Chicago finally has temperatures above freezing the backyard is thawing and is turning to mud. So I wanted to be able to play and train indoors on wet and muddy days to keep a little Border Collie entertained.

My house has hardwood floors throughout and the sun room has a tile floor. The slipperiness of the floor always worried me and was probably the cause of a minor soft tissue injury to Milo (wild scrambling and ball chasing induced). While the sun room is probably the nicest room in the house, it is also the best place for dog play and training. I had tried using big rugs with non-stick backs, but they always got rucked up. I was also thinking of indoor/outdoor carpeting but, since this is the primary access to the deck and the backyard, seeing the mud getting tracked through, even when I was trying to be careful, made that idea a non-starter.

So I decided to go with rubber matting, since it can be damp mopped and provides both traction and cushion. I had previously purchased “Tuff-Spun” roll matting (pdf) for Flyball practice from Crown Mats and Matting in Ohio. In this area of the country this matting is the de facto standard for Flyball tournaments. Years ago Crown Mats used to sell directly to customers but now goes through local representatives.

Their pricing is similar to that for other matting used for agility (See other types of matting discussed the Clean Run Email List archives for recent discussions and the original Clean Run article in the November 2005 Issue).

But if you want to save money Crown will sell factory seconds of their matting directly to individuals. The seconds run as little as 30% the cost of perfect matting. They are defective in some way but the worse I’ve seen has been the pebbling or ribbing on the surface might not be as deep throughout the entire roll. Of course, they might not have the size or color you are looking for as a second either.

If you decide to see what they have in inventory the trick is finding a phone number on their website that you can call directly. After some poking around I found their parent company number (800-628-5463) and at the voice menu select 9 for Crown Matting. You’ll get through to a sales person who can look up availability of seconds.

I ended up buying a 4 foot wide by 60 foot long roll of grey Comfort-King matting (pdf) for $216 with an additional $150 for truck freight to Chicago. So all told it worked out to $1.52 per square foot for my 240 sq foot dog area. Not too bad in the big scheme of things.

I just got it Monday and have started the installation and here is what it looks like so far:

Sun Room with Comfort King

So far I’ve only rough cut the matting to length to allow it to stretch or shrink over the next month or so. Then I’ll finish trim it and use carpet tape to hold it in position. I’ll move back what little furniture I normally keep in there then too.

One thing I neglected to think of was the off-gasing of the chemicals used in the matting once it was unrolled (smells like new carpeting). Luckily I can keep the room closed and have the ceiling fan running to speed the process (with temps in the 40s here I can open the sliding doors too). Checking with folks I know who’ve installed various types of matting (including Tuff Spun), the smell will continue to leach out for a few weeks, so no prolonged exposure for Meeker and me.

Anyway, Meeker and I are loving playing in there and now I should be able to video tape in house training sessions and write up articles on those wet days outside.

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