Directed Jumping

From Dan Butcher, (

When a dog starts to run under the bar jump, you are probably dealing with a confidence problem. The first thing you need to do is get the height down to something he can't go under. You might also want to use 2 bar jumps so he doesn't go over the high jump. Don't do the whole exercise if the only thing you are having a problem with is the bar jump. That way you won't get yourself in trouble having to correct something you didn't even want to work on. Then just give him his jump comand and help him over it. If you don't have a problem with that, keep the height the same, but move him a little off center so he has to work at getting over it. After a week or so, start building up the height again. You can also stretch rubber bands under the bar, a foot or so apart so he can't go under it.

From Eileen Jaffe, (

It is not uncommon for a dog to jump their height fine from straight on, but to go under the bar when jumping from an angle. One thing that might help is to run next to the dog (from either side) on the angle. Each day, do a few (of both the high and bar) this way -- do this on grass at the required height. Then, leave the dog on an angle and stand right in front of the jump (on the other side from him) and give the arm signal, telling him 'over'. Slowly, you can began to get farther away from the jump, until you can stand in the middle and have him in the middle at the opposite end of the ring. In other words, you are making it as easy as possible for him to do the jumps and gain confidence.

From Mona L. Gitter, DVM, (

With a dog that is having trouble with the jumps, try putting 4 jumps in a clock like circle. Put one jump at 12:00, one at 3:00, one at 6:00 and one at 9:00. Teach him to jump all four with you close to being in the middle and sending him over to the right for about 8 jumps worth. Then turning him and sending him to the left for 8 jumps worth. With time you won't need to move much, just give the signal. Start with the jumps fairly low. All you are doing is making him more confident and less stressed. What you will get with this method is a more joyful and better jumper. Try to set the jumps 3 strides apart. Do not make them the exact distance apart, because you want your dog to be comfortable with changes in the size of ring etc. This method is originally from Jan DeMello and it works great.

From Diana Antlitz, (

Balking at the jumps may be more of a training issue than an actual jumping problem. One possibility to consider, especially with a dog that has trouble when the go out is not straight and doesn't have a problem when you place the dog in the go out spot, is that your dog doesn't really understand this as one complete exercise yet.

Some people who will try to straighten the dog from the wrong spot to the right spot, typically with some arm motion involved, and a confused dog who took off for a jump during this 'straightening' process would be stopped to fix the go out. Also, a dog who had trouble initially with wanting to take a jump on the way out and has been corrected for it may be a little hesitant about doing a go-out followed immediately by a jump -- your dog may still see these as two separate exercises and interpret your jump command as some weird kind of proofing. Possibly the dog isn't sure if you *really* want a jump or if you're still working on go-outs, and is worried that he may be making the wrong choice.

If he doesn't have a problem when placed, you could send him on a go out, then walk out to him and leave again so it would feel to him like a 'placed' go out, then gradually switch back to regular go outs, either by gradually not going all the way to the dog or by doing lots of fake placed go-outs and throwing in the occasional real thing.

A few dogs get really confused while they're learning, that in one case it's bad to go over a jump and in another case you *want* them to go over a jump. The same sort of confusion can also occur if you've been having a problem with the dog taking the wrong jump or anticipating a jump. He starts to jump and gets stopped so many times that he starts to think that you don't want him to jump at all instead of realizing he's just going the wrong way.

Another possibility is that if he's used to doing a go-out without a jump then I assume you're probably going to him after the go-out to reward him, so he's come to expect this as part of the exercise and gets confused when you leave it out. When he does a go-out he may be focusing on "here comes the Boss to tell me how great I am", but when you place him he *knows* you're going to be asking for a jump and is more mentally focussed. You could try going to him, then leaving again and sending him over a jump, then stop short of him and reward verbally and send, then go halfway and reward verbally and send, etc. until you can just verbally praise the go out and then he'll be mentally prepared to look for a jump command.


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