Best Way to Train a Dog to Jump

Most dogs love to jump onto things, over things and even, after an initial introduction, through things. For any dog with a healthy back and legs, jumping modest heights can be terrific exercise as well as a very satisfying activity. Here are three jump­ing games to try.

Jump over Legs

With a stash of your dog’s favorite toys hidden on your person, sit on the floor and put your legs on a low barrier, such as a coffee table. (If your dog is very short or very young, simply sit with your legs on the floor and your feet against a wall.) With your dog on one side of your legs, whichever side he happens to be on, toss one of the toys over your legs to the other side, giving him your play-retrieving command if you have one.

Train Dog to Jump Best Way to Train a Dog to Jump

Most dogs will walk or jump over a low barrier—in this case, your legs—to get a favorite toy. If not, try the following: If your legs were up on the coffee table, lower them to the floor; next, tease your dog with the toy, just for a couple of seconds, so that it seems more desirable, then toss it again.

In no time, your dog should be jumping over your legs to fetch a toy. Instead of trying to get the toy back and having a struggle, get your dog’s attention with the next toy or ball and try again.

With practice—a minute here, a minute or two there—your dog will fetch over your legs and return the toy so that he can do it again. Be sure to keep your dog’s size and age in mind; young dogs and short-legged dogs shouldn’t be asked to jump over more than a few inches; old dogs shouldn’t jump at all. As your dog gets better, gradually raise your legs, using the coffee table, then just holding a leg across a doorway.

Next, with your dog wearing a buckle collar and a leash, teach him to:

Jump over a Barrier

Set a narrow board, or, for a large dog, a leaf of your dining-room table, across a doorway. Now the only way in or out of that room is over the barrier. With your dog on leash, take the jump with him, using your most cheerful voice and lots of praise. A few sessions later, send your dog over for a toy, and call him back with the toy. After a week or two, send your dog over the jump, just like so. Once he’ll do this, you can look for low fences and other safe barriers when out on a walk and you can spice up any of his walks with a little snappy jumping.

You may wonder if teaching your dog to jump over low fences will encourage him to jump your yard fence. In my experience, it will not. There is no dog so foolish that he does not already know he can jump over a barrier. After all, your dog can already sit or lie down, too. You are merely putting a skill on cue.

Now, once again without a leash, teach your dog to:

Jump through a Hula Hoop

If your old hula hoop is still in the basement, you can save ten bucks. If not, many toy stores or five-and-dimes still stock hula hoops. The easiest way to teach your dog to jump through the hoop is to squeeze the hoop into a doorway and call your dog back and forth, with a toy and praise. Once your dog goes through the hoop as it sits on the floor, raise it, an inch at a time, and have him jump through.

Train Dog to Jump 1 Best Way to Train a Dog to Jump

If your dog is a terrier or loves to jump even though he isn’t, you can free-hold the hoop and have him jump through whenever and wherever you are both in the mood to be silly and active. You can still toss a toy through to get him going. And be sure to move the hoop down or to either side if your dog appears to want to go around or under rather than through.

Jumping is a happy activity, good exercise and a great reward after a session of more serious work.

Leave a Reply