Teaching your puppy to jump is a fun command to have in your training arsenal, and it will instill confidence in your young companion. Many people assume that teaching a puppy to “jump” will encourage them to inappropriately jump on furniture, people, or try to jump over the backyard fence. This is a common yet false misconception. Teaching your puppy to jump will provide boundaries of when it is acceptable and constructive to jump and when it is not.
If your puppy grows into a medium to large breed dog, having a jump command will prove useful for car rides and vet appointments.
Follow the six tips below to have your puppy jumping on command in no time at all.
1. Choose a jump command and be consistent using it. The command you choose is a personal choice so decide if you want to use jump, hop, over, up, etc.
2. Puppies should never jump higher than their elbows.
3. Practice jumping on non-slippery surfaces and stay away from hard non-forgiving surfaces like concrete.
4. Start with an item or a board that is flat on the ground. Put your puppy on a flat collar and a leash. Place your left hand close to their collar and as you approach the board say your command. Once both you and your pup have cleared the board allow slack in the leash and immediately break into a trot. Do not forget to praise your puppy and get excited. Repeat this three to four times max per session.
At this stage, your puppy may not actually be “jumping” over the item on the ground, but that is okay. You are teaching the command and with it, associating fun and praise by running at the end of the activity. Running is fun for puppies, but it also relieves stress.
5. The next step is to place something low that your pup will have to jump over it. A solid item is best. If your pup can see under the item, their instinct will be to go under it rather than over.
- Have someone else approach the jump with your puppy. You should be on the opposite side of the jump. Tap the object with your hand as they approach and give your puppy the jump command. Backup excitedly to give your puppy enough space to safely clear the object. Once your puppy is over the jump, transfer the leash and take off running.
- DO NOT allow your puppy to go under the jump or go around the jump. Be ready because they will try this. If need be, stop, back up and start over. NO scolding and no corrections – your puppy is learning something new, and you want this experience to be positive and fun.
6. After a few of the above sessions, you are now ready to work together as a team. With your puppy on a short leash and by your side, approach the hurdle and give your command. Stay alongside your puppy and once up and over, jog away from the obstacle hooting and hollering like a complete and total nut!
- Keep your approach to the obstacle close. The obstacle should be relatively low and allow just enough of a start to build up a tad of momentum. Remember to keep the sessions brief and fun. When your puppy understands the “jump” command, it will be easier on both of you to implement “no jumping.”
Your puppy wants to please and will learn to jump quickly at your request if you are consistent with your commands, your expectations, and your training routines. Lead by example and “hop” off that couch and take your pup outside for some fresh air, exercise and training fun.