Finding the right flooring surface to support frequent traffic by humans and dogs alike can be a chore. Dog paws and nails can damage many traditional surfaces, and hard or slick floors could injure dogs and humans alike-- especially if they are engaged in energetic training. On the other hand, you also want flooring that is easy to maintain and clean. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions that meet all these needs.
Often made of either recycled or premium rubber, industrial rubber flooring is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses, and often come in interlocking mats for cheap, quick installation in any sized space. Such flooring has many benefits, including absorbing shock -- an important consideration for agility trainers, or those who might work with older dogs -- and also offers great traction for human and animal alike, while still being smooth-surfaced enough for easy cleaning in the case of accidents.
Foam flooring -- which can be found developed specifically for dog-related applications -- can be bought in rolls or interlocking mats. Foam flooring often has more depth and softness than rubber flooring, and can come in a wide variety of bright colours. This can help brighten small or poorly lit spaces, and also help dogs (which have relatively poor vision) better identify obstacles and markers. Some varieties may show stains, however, and in some cases the additional softness of this type of flooring may result in nail punctures, scuffs or indentations.
Cork flooring is still another option; like foam and rubber, it can be bought in easily installed mats, and can come in a wide variety of colours. Cork flooring is environmentally friendly and easily recyclable, and very durable. Cork's unique texture means that scuffs or punctures made as a result of training are easily obscured, and its innate softness cushions impact. Cork is also an excellent soundproofer, is insect and fire resistant and hypoallergenic.
Benefit of Tiles
Many dog training facilities buy their flooring in tiles so that any significant damage can be easily fixed by cheaply replacing single tiles, rather than redoing the entire floor surface. Tiles are also often easier to install than mats and rolls, and may be either interlocking, have bevelled edges or is pre-glued for quick and easy installation.