Unlike agility jumps, gymnastic jumps and poles are pretty boring. The average person will walk by your yard and think “are they planning their garden already?” For some of this I’m just winging it, throwing together my own experience with horses and sizing it down to dogs. There’s really nothing out there on doing this type of exercise with a dog, so your guess is as good as mine!
First of all, mow the grass! If your dog can’t easily see the poles then they’re not very useful to either of you. Or do this in the driveway since you’re not doing any real jumping.
You’ll need poles, and for dogs I think the most appropriate ones are the 1-2″ diameter PVC or wooden rods. The poles should be easy to step over but not so small that the dog is comfortable stepping on them rather than over. I would think that 4ft-6ft should be long enough, it just depends on how big your dog is (length will matter when fanning them out over a corner). Buy white PVC or paint the wood white so that it’s easily visible. You may also want to paint several dark stripes on the pole (every 1ft, around the circumference) to provide a visual guide for yourself and the dog. That way you can keep an eyeball on how straight he’s moving or how well he’s rounding through the corner (maybe that’s just relevant to horses, I dunno). You’ll want at least four poles, more if you have the time, money, space, and sense of over-achievement.
Cavalletti are basically a pole with each end attached to an X, and they’re not totally necessary for the purpose of gaiting. If you just want poles you can achieve everything you need without cavaletti. But I think they’re cool and I always wanted horse ones, so I’m building them!
Speaking from a totally untested standpoint, I would think a 1″x1″ or 2″x2″ cut into 12″ long pieces would be good for this. The thing about cavalletti is that, by turning the X, you can have three heights: nil, approx. 3.25″, and approx. 6.5″ (this assumes the X is square). I’m only willing to build four of these, which should be plenty.
Up next: Let’s do it already!