Want to know how to teach a dog to jump rope?
While he may never master Double Dutch, you can teach him the basics of the classic schoolyard game.
Read on to learn the steps for this fun advanced dog training trick!
Preliminary Steps for Jump Rope Training
Once your pup has mastered all the basic training skills, the fun really begins!
Advanced trick training isn’t just about teaching your dog YouTube-worthy skills, it’s also a great way to bond with Fido and reinforce his basic training!
Training your dog to jump rope sounds like a complicated task, but it’s actually surprisingly easy!
If you’ve already trained him on dog hurdles, you’re more than halfway there.
Even if he’s brand-new to jumping-related tricks, with just a little patience he’ll be joining you on the playground in no time!
Don’t believe me? Check out this brilliant dog that actually has mastered Double Dutch!
Wait until he is old enough
This isn’t so much a step for how to teach your dog to jump rope as it is a piece of important advice.
Most experts recommend waiting until your dog is about 18 months before teaching him any jumping tricks.
Up until then his knee joints are just too soft and serious damage can occur if he lands too hard to just too wrong.
If you’re feeling impatient and want to get a head start on teaching him this fun trick, there are other things you can do in the meantime to prepare him.
For example, you can begin groundwork (literal and figurative) agility training, such as teaching him to run through tunnels or weave poles.
The video below will help you with that!
You can also work on step #1 below, since no real jumping is involved.
During this “pre-training stage,” you may also want to refrain from using a rope for play time.
Otherwise, when you bring it out for jump rope training, he’ll think you’re ready for a fun game of tug!
Decide on a command
The very first think you should do with any training task is decide on a single command that’s unique to the skill.
A simple “jump rope” works just fine, or you can get creative and say “Double Dutch,” or “hop,” or heck, even “Fred!”
The key is to choose ONE command and use it consistently. It’s also smart to use something that doesn’t sound too much like another command.
For example, I wouldn’t use “skip rope” as a command because skip sounds too much like sit.
If you already taught him to leap over hurdles, you can use the same command, as it’s essentially the same skill.
How to Teach a Dog to Jump Rope
#1 Start with a stationary object
It’s tempting to just grab a rope and say “jump,” but you’re better off starting with a stationary object, like a cane or a stick.
To train your pup to jump, put the cane in your dominant hand just high enough off the ground so he can easily step right over it.
Your other hand will be holding a tasty treat in such a way that he has to step over the cane to get to it.
As your dog gets used to the cane and understands what you expect from him, you can raise it a few inches at a time.
Eventually, raise it high enough that he actually has to jump over it to get to the treat.
Remember, if you’re working with a puppy, you’ll want to keep the cane low to the ground until his bones and joints are done forming.
You may also want to gradually remove the treat so he gets used to jumping without a reward.
Of course, you don’t have to do that! If your dog is super food-motivated, you may want to keep the reward. Just make it a low-cal treat.
#2 Introduce other objects & obstacles
Once Fido masters jumping over the cane, start to introduce other objects and obstacles.
Again, it’s tempting to just move onto the rope and skip this step, but trust me, it really does help.
You want to accustom him to jumping over a variety of things on command.
For example, you can teach him to jump over your extended leg, through a hoop, or even through your arms (provided he’s small enough, of course).
As with the cane, start low and work your way up.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to introduce the rope! First, though, get inspired by this adorable video:
#3 Move on to Rope Jumping
After your dog has mastered the art of leaping, it’s finally time to teach him to jump rope.
Let me warn you, though, this is going to require a lot more practice and patience than simple hurdle or cane jumping.
Remember, it took YOU time to learn how to coordinate your jumps with a moving rope as a kid, right?
Here’s how to get started:
- Begin by tying one end of the rope to a stationary object just off the ground.
- Hold the other end in your hand, pulling the rope taut.
- Give your dog the jump command and get him used to leaping over it while it’s not moving.
- Reward him every time he makes the leap.
Now, we’re going to get that rope swinging and swaying!
- Again, tie one end to a stationary object just off the ground and hold the other end in your hand.
- This time, though, give the rope a bit of slack.
- Start slowly swaying the rope while giving him the jump command.
- After he masters the slow sway, add a bit more speed and height.
That’s it! You’ve taught your dog to jump rope.
Now, you can bring in a partner (or tie the rope higher up on your stationary object) and start swinging it all the way around a la school yard jump rope style.
Just keep in mind that it’ll take him some time to master the “wait, jump, wait, jump” combo that goes into jump rope game of your childhood, so again don’t expect a Double Dutch partner just yet!
One last important note: I’ve seen videos where dogs have been trained to stand on their hind legs and jump rope.
Please don’t do this. It’s dangerous and can lead to serious bone and joint problems for your dog.
The same goes for teaching him to walk on his hind legs. Your pup has four legs for a very good reason.