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Can you make it Jump

Train to Win

All dogs can jump, however do you give them permission to jump or do they go about it as and when they feel. If it is the latter you could one day be in trouble and either lose a dog or have some very heavy vet bills. One of the shoots I go on has a bridge with no sides and on either side of it is a 150 foot drop, this is only one of many reasons to never let a dog jump without giving it permission. We shall now look at how we train a dog to jump when told and not when it wants.

Starting from a very early age you will see your puppy running round and jumping up and down the garden steps or even over your legs, whilst every care should be taken to prevent a young pup jumping it is inevitable that it will do a jump that you are not prepared for. Let me add that a pup jumping up is not as big an issue as jumping down as the joints of the pup are not loaded as much. I would not let a young dog jump too high especially the larger breeds until they are a year old however the smaller breeds I feel are less affected due to their size that said, where ever possible a good guide would be one year old. Whilst out in the woods with the dog you may come across a fallen tree, this is a good chance to practice your first obstacle with the dog, just a branch on the floor is fine but when we negotiate the obstacle we must say “get over” to the dog. We can do it several times and more if it is not that big of a jump, turn and walk over the branch repeating the command. It would be good at this point to ask the dog to sit before jumping and repeat your command every time. Your dog will soon learn that the command “get over” is the command to deal with what is in front of it.

Moving on, we need to ensure our dog can confidently achieve each jump without issue therefore don’t try a 5 foot wall next, when moving up we need to do so in small increments. Set yourself a little obstacle in the garden about 1 foot high and again repeat the “get over” command. Repetition is key to success so long as the dog can do it with ease. You could then get the dog to retrieve over a small jump, this should only be tried when the dog is steady to a thrown dummy. There is no rush in any training so if anything goes wrong stop and slow down and re think what is required for it to be a success. It is also a great idea to ensure the dog returns the same way it went over as we don’t want it to find what it thinks is a better way back. This is a big issue on some estates that I have worked on where there is barbed wire all over and if you were to send a dog over a gate for a bird it is because that is the safe area, you don’t then want your dog deciding the barbed wire is the easy option, so insist the return is the same way. This can be achieved by using plastic fencing and put the fencing up in a funnel shape to guide the dog back directly to you. Where ever you see a chance to get a dog to negotiate an obstacle use it. Get the dog to sit then throw a dummy and say the “get over” command. It would be good if you also asked the dog to “get over” then throw a dummy this is getting the dog to believe you are asking it to do it for a reason. You can use the jump for directional work too. Sit the dog down at the side of the wall then walk away from the dog, when you are so far along the wall let the dog see you throw the dummy, continue walking further until you feel you have reached a sufficient distance from the dog. Recall the dog half way to where you threw the dummy and stop the dog on the whistle. When the dog sits give it a left or right arm command with the command “get over”. The dog will love this game and you are training your dog to jump when told.

To make sure your dog understands the “get over” command, ask the dog to sit and then you climb over the obstacle, once over then use the command and see what happens. The safety of your dog is in your hands, if you are not sure what is over a wall or fence don’t send the dog, it is not worth it. Check your surroundings when on a shoot day make sure you know what is laying around. Has the fence your about to send your dog over got barbed wire on the top? Has the farmer parked a farm implement at the other side of the wall? It does not take long to have a look and it takes far longer to train another dog should the worse happen.

1 comentario

Jeffrey Gibson
Jeffrey Gibson
04 mar 2022

Evening Dazzler, I read somewhere that a lot of working dogs get front leg fractures by being dropped. being lifted over obstacles then dropped on the other side. Apparently they lock their legs when dropped and this causes stress fractures.

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