Here’s a gentle way to introduce your dog to directed jumping without jumps. By including signals, recalls, drops, and multiple go outs, you’ll also do wonders for teaching your dog to follow your cues rather than patterning on a “picture.”
For the set up I show here, you’ll need a dog that understands four feet up on a platform, two feet up on a front foot target, and “around” for a cone. Your dog will also need some type of a go-out past targets and the ability to move left or right with plenty of help. The rest (signals, drops, etc.) are totally optional. If people need it, I can do a simple video on how to get the dog to take basic direction to the left or right.
When your dog can manage this set up, substitute a jump for either the cone or the target. Then add distractions/take it on the road. And finally, spread the whole set-up out. If you are short on space, you can practice this forever with cones and platforms, and if you have a small dog and 10 square feet of space, your house will work just fine. If your dog has a nose touch/paw thwack to a stanchion, go ahead and set that up behind the platform (where I have the second foot target) and occasionally send to that as well.
If Brito were a bigger dog, I’d probably double the size of this set-up to give him a bit of breathing room, but Brito finds distances challenging, so this is just about right for us at this stage of training. Separately, we work on full ring-length go outs and the mechanics of jumping.
Obviously this exercise is flexible. Use the behaviors that make sense for your dog, and remember that the cones, foot targets and platforms are interchangeable – use the one that you and your dog like best.
This video is about three minutes long from a total session of about five minutes. I left in the first 30 seconds, so you can see the transition period from acclimation to work. Note that he drives the start of training.
If you want to see how I handle errors, you can see them at: 40 sec (no sit on cue); 56 sec (no sit on cue); 1:18 (loss of attention); 1:33 (goes to target without a cue); 1:54 (fails to go to second target behind platform); 2:17 (no sit on cue); 2:39 (loss of attention); and 2:50 (no sit).