Administrator & LOTR Addict
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Bloomington, IN, USA
I tend to wait until they are closing in on 2 years to start. though they can do some basic mechanics at a very low height for both the wall and the jump before that.
I have changed how I do things over the years. I start with a very low jump and the dog maybe 6" out from the jump (this varies as the jump height goes up). I call the dog to me, making sure I do both directions, using food to reward the dog for jumping. This teaches the dog to use its hind end to push over the jump and prevents the issues with dogs wanting to throw themselves over the jump after the drive object. Over time they do have to learn to jump in drive and then I will use a toy and call the dog to me. I use a negative marker, "no" if they touch the jump and make them repeat. Each time I change the rules (adding in the toy or adding in the formal retrieve) I lower the jump since we have now added new dynamics to the exercise.
The wall I start low and, using food, teach them to go up and come all the way down. NO drive objects. I want the up and down well ingrained in the dog's mind before ever adding the dumbbell. I never do the wall with a toy. Over time I raise the wall. I want the dog going down to at least the second rung before jumping off. If you start this way, take your time, you should not have to add the hoops and stuff once you add in the dumbbell. The muscle memory, the habit, will already be well ingrained.
This takes longer, but should avoid a lot of the jumping issues we see.
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