The sequences for teaching the Retrieve Over the High Jump

Most dogs have to jump an obstacle equal to the dog's height at the withers. A short definition of withers is the highest part of the dog behind the neck, where the shoulder blades meet. Some breeds have to jump only three-fourths of their height at the withers. The AKC Obedience Regulations specify which breeds jump three-fourths of their height and which ones jump once their height.

Not all dogs are natural jumpers and jumping is an athletic activity, no matter the breed. Like any other athletic activity, it requires conditioning. Just because Buddy jumps on the furniture doesn't mean he'll automatically jump over the High Jump. You have to teach him and, for his safety, teach him correctly as we explain in the following sequences.

Getting Buddy used to the jump

Your Sequence 1 goal is to get Buddy accustomed to the jump:

1. Put your leash on the dead ring of Buddy's training collar and walk him up to the jump, which is set at teaching height (the dog's height at the elbows).

2. Touch the top board with your left hand and let him examine the jump.

3. Step over the jump and encourage him to follow.

You can use a treat to get him to go over. The command is "Buddy, jump."

4. Repeat until he goes over the jump without hesitation.

Teaching Buddy to jump on his own

Sequence 2's goal is to teach your dog to jump on his own:

1. Sit Buddy three feet from the center of the jump.

2. Tell him to "Stay," step over the jump, and put his target three feet from the jump.

3. Facing your dog, place a treat on the target, stand up, and call him over the jump with "Buddy, jump."

4. Repeat until Buddy is comfortable going over the jump — five to ten times per session.

^jtSMJumping repetitions aren't necessarily only to teach Buddy the exercise but also to condition him physically. You need to look at any jumping exercise as an athletic endeavor on the part of your dog, which requires the same kind of conditioning that applies to human athletic endeavors.

Getting Buddy to jump by himself — and from different angles

The goal of Sequence 3 is to get your dog to jump by himself and from different angles:

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