Teaching jumping over an obstacle


Agility is excellent exercise for you and your dog. It is fun for children and also teaches them coordination and a sense of accomplishment for every new obstacle that they learn. Let us now see how to teach your pet “Over,” which means jumping an obstacle. In order to begin agility, it is a good idea for your pet to know basic obedience (sit, down, stay, come…etc).

Equipment needed

  • 6-12’ leash
  • Small jump or hurdle not higher than 6 inches (4 inches for tiny dogs)
  • Very yummy treats.

Steps to follow

Follow these simple steps, as many times a week as you can, and soon your pooch will be flying over hurdles!

  • Walk your dog to the front of the jump about 2 feet away. Make him sit.
  • Ask him to stay and walk around to the other side of the jump.
  • Show him that yummy treat and call his name. Make sure you do not allow him to go around the jump. He will probably just step over it for the first few times, this is fine.
  • As he is stepping over it, say “Over…dogs name…over,” in a very excited, happy voice. When he is over the jump, give him the treat and praise him.

Repeat this on the other side of the jump. Always do this with your dog on the leash, this will set you up for success. If he is off the leash, he might just come around the jump.
When your dog knows the word ‘over’ and will hop over the jump to come to you, you can start getting him used to jumping it at your side.

  • Walk towards the jump with your dog and as he is coming up to it, say “Over…dog’s name…over,” and make sure you keep walking.
  • If the dog tries to go around, simply stop, back up, and come at it again, closer this time.
  • When he does go over, give him his treat.
  • Repeat this both ways at a walk. When you feel comfortable and your dog hops the jump without pausing, come at it at a jog.
  • If he tries to go around it, slow down to a walk and come at it again. Then when he is reminded of what he is supposed to do, try jogging it.
  • Make sure you always reward your dog when he does what you ask and never punish him if he does the wrong thing. Always stay positive and he will love agility!

Repetition and consistency are the keys to teaching your dog agility. It is worth it and will help to create a strong bond between you and your dog!
(Mollie Rosedale has been breeding Collies for three years. For the last three and a half years, she has been training puppies in obedience, geared specifically towards a future in agility. She can be contacted at UnicornChaser@msn.com)