The broad jump is not one of my favorite exercises to teach. However, I’m approaching it a little differently these days, having some success, and now I’m liking it better.
Funny how that works.
With Brito I shaped the broad jump, much as many people shape the high jump. I worked on that shaped jump from a standstill so that I could be convinced that he understood the expectation.
When the dog is taught the broad jump by running with the dog, it’s pretty easy for the dog to think that jumping the jump is contingent on handler movement and speed. That can be really frustrating when the handler has to stand still, and all of a sudden the dog has no idea how to perform independently.
Teaching the dog to jump from a standstill while the handler is not moving gets around this issue. You can shape that easily enough.
Here’s a short video that should give you a pretty clear idea of the various steps that I went through with Brito.
Obviously, the exercise is not finished but all of the basic pieces are there. I would still have to lengthen the jump, and work on the front at the end of the exercise. But because he already knows how to go out of his way to take the jump, and that completing the jump is the task at hand, the odds of corner cutting go way down.
Obviously, there is proofing and generalization to consider as well but that’s a story for another day.
This method will work both to teach the exercise and to re-train dogs that are not clear on the exercise.
Note how I handle errors near the end of the video; I praise his effort! Keep your dog in the game. It’s also worth noting that this session is much too long for this dog. I should have worked for a minute or two and then let it go for the day.