Jumping is a critical agility skill and one you can easily practice at home. You can use a broomstick or any other pole as an object for your dog to jump. You can also teach your dog to jump up. Both of these skills are good for burning some extra energy at home and making sure your dog has fun.
Just remember, never practice on a slippery surface. You might risk an injury. Another point to remember. Make sure the pole will fall if your dog accidentally hits it. This way you can prevent your dog from hurting himself.
Agility isn’t just for competition. It helps in so many ways to make your dog’s life fun. With that in mind, let’s talk about how to teach your dog to jump, when to teach your dog to jump, and what is height you should aim for.
How high is high enough?
Remember, what your dog can jump and what he should jump are two different things. Jumping up or jumping over an obstacle is a fun activity you can use to burn excess energy at home. It is a dog parkour exercise.
But you should not risk an injury. Always make sure your dog is safe and there is no risk for injury. Gradually work up the dog’s jump height. There is no need to rush your puppy.
Your pet has plenty of other things to learn before he can jump enough for a competition. You do not even need to enter a competition.
When to teach your dog to jump
Jumping is not a command or exercise you should work on in the early days. Your dog still develops its bone structure until 12 and 15 months of age.
There are plenty of other exercises you can work on in the early days. Yes, you can practice jumping, but no more than a few minutes per day during your pet’s puppyhood.
Once your dog fully develops its body, which is around a year, a year and a half in age, then it is safe to practice jumping. At this point, you can also increase the height of jumping.
Always ask yourself the question, is it safe for puppies to jump?
How to teach a dog to jump up
Before you can teach your dog to jump up, you have to work on your sit command. We assume you already know how to make your dog sit. If not, you can check my article here and here.
Now, let’s move on to jumping. In the beginning, I recommend using high-value treats for jumping. Use a low-value treat for sitting, and then up the ante. Use a higher value treat so that your dog is motivated to jump. Here is how to do it.
- Have your dog sit and then show him a treat
- Hold a treat above your dog’s head and say jump. Hold the treat one to two feet above your pup’s head
- if your dog seems confused or hesitant, jump yourself to demonstrate to the puppy what you want
- Try putting the treat closer to your dog’s face
- As your puppy is reaching for the treat, move it up and say jump
- Reward your dog and praise as he jumps
- Gradually increase the height of jumping
Jumping over an object
Now, this is an exercise you often see in dog agility and dog parkour. For this exercise, you need an obstacle. You can easily create one by placing a broomstick or any other pole on top of a pile of books. Or on top of cans. If you want something fancy, you can always find adjustable dog jumps online or at a local pet store.
Personally, since I have a small dog, I use my legs as an obstacle. I start by placing them on the floor and waiting for Milo to jump it, and then I raise them a bit up.
You can create your jump obstacle with cinder blocks and plywood. Place the plywood board over two cinder blocks or other sturdy and flat objects. Add blocks to increase the height as you increase difficulty. Now let’s talk about how to teach your pup to jump
- Start by putting your dog in a sit position in front of the obstacle
- Have your dog sit on one side of the jump bar and place a treat on the floor on the opposite side
- Make sure the treat is down. This way, the dog will get used to looking down and forward as it goes over the bar. It will teach your dog to round its back when jumping over the bar
- If your puppy walks around the jump instead of jumping, set it up with one side against a wall. You can also place obstacles on both sides, furniture for example
- Practice the lowest height until your dog learns. In the beginning, you can have your puppy just step over the jump bar. You want him to get comfortable with the object. Do not start with jumping right away
- Remember to make sure the obstacle will fall if your dog hits it accidentally to prevent injury