Now that my young boy Seven has reached 18 months and his growth plates should be closed it is safe to start teaching him to jump full height. To ensure this is a positive experience for Seven I am using a jump that will let the bar easily fall if he hits it. I am going to start at a lower level and work up to the full height.

Exercise 1:

Sevens full height jump would be 22″ inches so I am going to start with a bar set at 8″ and work up. Positioning is important. I want Seven to learn to gather his body and am going to position him in a sit less than half a stride away. For the first few times when I put him in position, I move to the other side of the jump by going over it. I give him to the cue word “over”. When he was successful I increased the height by 2″.

If your dog does knock the bar – check that they are positioned correctly. If they do knock the bar down and they are positioned correctly then you may need to increment the height more slowly.

Exercise 2:

Once I know he is jumping well I will move to the next exercise. I will use two white plates with a food treat positioned a distance away on either side of the jump. Whenever you significantly change the picture you should always set it up for the dog to succeed and so I am going to lower the jump height. I position Seven a bit further back and then instead of being on the far side of the jump, I will stand to one side of the jump. I give him the cues “over” and “get it”.

Going forward I will increase the distance but I will continue to offer him both pictures: One where I am across from him and one where I am positioned to the side of the jump and I will also include some instances where I cue the behaviour from behind the plates.