Cutting the Corner of the Broad Jump

From Vivian Bregman, (

An idea from a seminar I went to years ago: Set the jump up so that last board makes the jump longer on the side near you:

It makes the jump on the side near you longer than the other side. After a month or so of this it becomes a habit on the part of the dog.

From Judith Byron, (

The first thing you do is to teach the dog to go straight over so you don't have such a hard time fixing it. You can use a target out away from the jump, call-overs, or start with a jump stick. Use food or a toy to get the dog to focus on straight after he is taught.Then use a visual aide at the corner of the jump for a bit. Finally, use something on the floor that the dog will not see *until* he jumps, in the spot where you don't want him to land. A pile of old choke chains works well. Also a jump stick laid down on the floor at the right corner will remind the dog to jump center. It's always a balancing act to get the dog to jump straight and take a stride or two before making the turn. Once they learn to make the turn, they then think they need to cut to make the turn faster. You can also use your foot, but this does not work for all dogs. It takes a confident dog to handle this type of mid-air correction.

From Sandra L. Walroth, (

Here are three methods you can use to eliminate the cutting corners on the broad jump.

  1. Placing the bar jump bar across the top of the jumps sticking out well beyond the end of the jump. This also has the effect of requiring the dog to continue the jump out, and not turning toward the handler too early.
  2. Placing a bent piece of chicken wire along side of the last board, sticking out, so that if the dog cuts the corner, s/he lands on the wire.
  3. Placing a section of ring gating *under* the boards, sticking out a little bit. Set it so that if the dog lands just past the last board near the corner, s/he lands on it, but that from the start (where the dog is left) s/he cannot see it. (This idea came from a seminar we sponsored with Janice DeMello - we tried it with a couple dogs that were starting to angle too much, and it worked.)

From Bob Harris, (

How do you stop a dog from cutting the corner on the broad jump in Open?

  1. Teach the dog to return to you regardless of which side of the jump you are standing on.
  2. In practice, stand on the off side until the dog starts to cut the corner on that side.
  3. Go to the correct side until the dog is landing in the middle (or wherever your tolerance for landing is, but not all the way to the corner) again.
  4. Do this until the dog retires from open.
This method works well, doesn't require carting extra stuff, and can be done anywhere (including practice matches).
From Marilyn J. Fender, (

If a pupil of mine was having trouble with cutting corners, my first question would be "how did you initially teach the exercise?" How we introduce things to dogs makes a big difference in our final performance level (consistency and standards). Often we run into problems because we have moved too fast through our training sequences and asked for generalization/application of behaviors when we are still just working on automatic/fluent responses from our dogs.

When I teach the broad jump I spend a LONG time directly opposite the dog over the jump. With my dogs, I cue them on the word JUMP -- pairing it initially with their spring off the ground after a "here" (I don't use "come") to get them moving toward me. Later they will recognize "jump" as the cue to start forward toward the jump from the sit position. You set it up so you always get a clean centered jump ending up with a good front sit in correct position. If you want to use a treat with your verbal praise when the dog arrives in the front finish, that is okay, but not always necessary (depends on your general methods). In the beginning you are close to the jump. When you are clear that the dog really is automatic/fluent on the jump command/cue (with whatever word you use), you should then be able to SLOWLY move your position first further back from the jump. Tthen if you are still getting success with the standards you have set, you slowly move off dead center opposite the dog, always watching to see that you still have a dead center jump and a clean front sit. There are some other steps in building the size (width) of your jump slowly in initial stages etc. But I think you get the general idea.

By the time you are finished really teaching the broad jump well, you should be able to stand almost anywhere and get a clean centered jump and a front sit (with the "finish" afterwards of course. I'm only putting in some critical factors, not everything). By the time my old dog Velvet finished learning the broad jump, I could give the jump command from almost anywhere in the ring and get a clean centered jump with a run to me to do a front sit. I'm talking about giving the command 30 feet away from the broad jump from some odd position in the ring. Neither EVER cut a corner once, because she knew the basics well and clearly understood what the standards were related to the word "jump".

There is very little in the way of corrections doing it this way, lots of verbal enthusiasm (or food if that is what you use) for meeting your standards, and when you are finished the dog REALLY knows what the word "jump" (or whatever word you use) means. You don't have the problem of cutting corners because the dog understands the exercise and has a good foundation.

The point is that, if you don't have good foundation skills in place, you are going to run into problems later. It may take much longer to do it right, but in the long run it will make everything more effective and positive. So my initial question to a person who is having any specific problem is "how did you teach it in the first place?" The second question I would ask would be " under what conditions do you lose the standard you have set?" -- when do the errors start to occur? Minor errors left uncorrected, lack of consistant standards, etc. can haunt you through the rest of your competition career.

I guess the other point is that I really believe in teaching an exercise to a level way beyond the ring requirements for competition. It is much more fun that way for both you and the dog, and it increases the number of times you will pass when you do get in the obedience ring. Just some things to think about...

From Monika Treadway, (

Here's a tip from an Annemarie Silverton camp: to correct a dog for cutting corners on the broad jump, elevate the corner (the corner closest to you) of the last board. You can just lift it with your foot and later (after the dog has learned to jump beyond the board), use a little string attached to the board (through a drilled hole) that you can lift as needed. Alternatively, just prop the end of the last board up on a brick, or a couple of bricks--depending on how much of a point you want to make -- this works like a charm!


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