So, you're ready to start training and competing in Utility. Sure, places like J&J and Max200 offer the standard sets of articles. You can have your choice of single, double or triple bar. And triangle or square ends. But your set will look like everyone else's. And you'll be paying over $100 for your set that looks like everyone else's. If you're cheap like me.....or you just want to be different, you do have other options.
AKC does not require any specific type of article, the just need to be similar, numbered and sized appropriately for your dog. You can make your own and not only be as unique as you want, but also super frugal!
Metal ideas: metal shoe horns, bent spoons, cabinet/drawer pulls, lengths of aluminum pipe, small tins/cans (altoid, spam, tomato juice, etc), bottle openers
Leather ideas: small leather ammo pouches/belt loop knife holsters, coin purses, pieces cut from a thick leather belt, braid leather and glue/stitch together to create rings
CloudsandCompany makes sets using leather and metal rings, but this gives you another idea for using canning rings. (They also make really adorable embroidered article bags!)
This is a great pattern and calls for vinyl mesh, often called "pet screen" which you can find at fabric stores by the yard.
This free pattern doesn't include the side pockets. But it's free!
Here's a free tutorial that uses more flexible mesh and has a drawstring.
You can also just stow your articles in a mesh laundry bag or a string backpack that has a mesh panel (I get these often at 5Ks).
Not handy? Good thing there are others who are!
ObedienceProducts.com has very basic sets in leather, wood and metal and you can buy each separately for a good price.
OtchArticles.com has basic sets, but can do custom vinyl decals to cute-ify them! And they are also the makers of the wooden carrying case you sometimes see (which can be decorated with wood-burned details!).
Scents-A-Bell offers colors, colors and more colors!
Pat Scribner creates the most gorgeous custom articles and anything you can dream of can be on your articles!
There you have it! Be creative with your articles, don't be afraid to buck the traditional dumbbells and make your own unique set of articles or ask Santa for a super-custom set.