Ever wish you knew how to teach your dog to jump over hurdles like the pros in the dog shows?
Here’s some great news for you, it’s surprisingly easy when you follow our 7-step guide!
With a little patience and a few inexpensive items, your pooch will be flying over those jumps in no time.
Keep reading to learn how to teach a dog to jump over obstacles like a champion!
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How To Teach A Dog To Jump Hurdles in 7 Steps
I’m sure that you’ve always thought about how cool it would be if you can make your dog jump over hurdles.
After all, a few things are more fascinating than watching a dog leaping and soaring over obstacles. It’s a true show of beauty, grace, and elegance.
The good news is that teaching a dog to jump hurdles that it’s not as difficult as you imagine it to be.
However, you have to be committed to the task and have enough patience and time to train your dog to jump hurdles.
On the plus side, this agility exercise is an excellent way to tire your dog when you can’t get Fido out for a walk.
Next time it’s snowing or raining you can simply stay warm at home and practice with your dog.
So, let’s see how the magic happens.
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#1 Gather the necessities
You don’t need much to start training your dog to jump over objects. In fact, you don’t even require a special hurdle for agility training.
A broom handle fixed to two buckets will do the same job as a jumping bar. You can even use your arms, as shown in this video.
In addition to choosing what you’re going to use as a hurdle, you should have high valued treats – something that your dog will never say no to.
Besides food, you can also have toys at hand to lure your dog with them, like the flirt pole below.
Furthermore, you must clean a spot and remove anything that your dog might knock accidentally during the workout.
If you have a yard, you can also do the exercise there. But wherever you do the training, it must be on even ground.
#2 Consider your dog’s breed and age
Before you learn how to get your dog jump over hurdles, you should take a few things into consideration.
Not all dogs are good at jumping, even though all dogs can jump. But for some jumping can lead to problems.
For example, your Dachshund might love to jump, but it’s a bad exercise for their back.
Moreover, toy breeds are fragile and can get easily injured even if they tumble from the bed.
As such, you must discuss with your vet when it is safe to teach your dog to jump over hurdles.
#3 Go over your command
Before you get to jumping, you need to make sure that your furbaby knows basic commands.
What you want is for your dog to respond well to “Sit,” “Wait,” and “Come.”
Your pooch might not have a perfect response to these commands, but he should be able to stay still and listen to you.
Otherwise, getting your dog jumping over hurdles will be much harder.
The video below will help you master those basics so you can move on to advanced trick training like hurdle jumping.
#4 Get your dog used to the jumping bar
Before you start your training session, walk the dog on his leash to warm up his muscles. 5-10 minutes are enough.
Then place the bar/hurdle low to the ground so that your dog can step over it.
The purpose of the low bar is for Fido to get comfortable with the obstacle.
Don’t expect or make Fido jump over it right away.
Get your dog on a leash and encourage Fido to go over the bar. You can do that using these two methods:
- Take the leash and let the dog follow you over the bar.
- Make your dog sit on one side of the hurdle. Then go to the other side of the bar and lure your furbaby to you. You can do that with a treat, favorite toy, or the “come” command.
Once your dog is over the hurdle, label the action as “jump.” You can also use “hop” or another word as long as it’s short and easy to understand.
Your dog might decide to go around the hurdle instead of over it.
In these cases, you should add furniture on both ends of the hurdle so that the only way to the treats is over the bar/rod.
In addition to introducing the command word, it’s important to praise and reward your dog.
You want Fido to have a positive experience with the jumping bar so that you can indulge in some play or petting, for example.
After that, you have to practice until your dog is comfortable stepping over the obstacle in both directions.
#5 Teach your dog to jump over obstacles safely
When it comes to getting your dog to jump over hurdles, you have to consider your dog’s safety.
If your dog jumps the wrong way, Fido is going to strike the obstacle and might get injured.
As some trainers say, you want your dog to jump like a dolphin, not like a deer. Watch this video that shows you the right jumping stance.
Doing the previous exercise, you’ll notice that the dog is watching you when he steps over the hurdle. Fido is not watching where he will land. That’s a problem.
So, instead of you luring the dog, you’re going to use another tactic.
Place the treat/toy on the floor and have the dog go after it. In this way, the dog will be looking at the reward when going over the rod.
Here’s a video that shows two ways to do that:
- Give the “command” and walk over the other side of the obstacle. Place the treat/toy on the ground and release your dog. Fido will come bouncing to get to the reward.
- Hold your dog in place by his collar. Toss the treat/toy over the hurdle and then release the dog.
As in the previous step, it’s important that you practice this exercise on both sides. ‘
#6 Raise the bar
Once you have your dog comfortably jumping over a low height, you can raise the bar’s height.
But do it slowly in small increments. Then continue to practice the previous step until your dog is jumping comfortably over the new height.
If your pooch knocks the bar, go back to the previous height, and do some more practice.
#7 Make it a challenge
When your dog has mastered jumping over one hurdle, you can raise the bar and make your own agility course at home.
Just pick up another jumping bar, place it at a distance from the first one, and continue to practice the previous steps.
But make sure that your dog has enough room to move between the obstacles.
Jumping over hurdles is an excellent exercise to stimulate your dog and burn off his excess energy.
Once your dog is comfortable jumping over on your command, you can make Fido your own agility course.
And who knows. Maybe one day you’ll be ready for the show ring like Tex in the video above!