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Dog Trick : Teach Your Dog to Leap

Difficulty: Easy 
By this time, your dog should be progressing very nicely and has learned quite a few tricks! One impressive set of tricks involves leaping over or through objects. This is a staple for show dogs and makes quite a thrilling spectacle when you show dinner guests or friends. One word of caution: before attempting these jumping tricks, consult your veterinarian to see if jumping and leaping is right for your dog. It's a good idea to not teach jumping tricks to puppies, as it could damage their hips. And don't attempt this trick if your dog has a history of hip dysplasia.

Step 1: Have your dog sit and stay while you lay a stick on the ground. Cross over to the other side of the stick and call your dog. As soon as the dog crosses the stick, click and treat.

Step 2: Do this a few more times before adding height to the stick by placing a couple of thick books underneath it. Click and treat while he is crossing the stick.

Step 3: As your dog becomes accustomed to crossing the stick, add height with more books. Once it gets high enough that your dog has to jump over it, start saying "Leap" before clicking and treating. Keep doing this until your dog will leap when commanded!


Because I had already taught Caspian 'Come,' this trick was easy for him. I started out with my red stick laying on the ground. I said, "Caspian, come!" When he was crossing the stick, I clicked and treated. I crossed the stick and he followed me. Each time he crossed the stick, I would click and treat. Soon, I didn't have to call him - he knew he had to cross the stick in order to get his treat. I added some books to make the stick higher and waited for him to go across it. This time I said, "Leap!" and when he did, I clicked and treated. Finally, I put the stick in the seat of the two chairs and told him to "Leap." He made a clear jump over the stick!


My dog keeps going around the stick instead of over it.In some of the teaching sessions I had with Caspian, he wanted to come to me by going around the stick rather than jumping over it. This problem can be solved by ignoring his behavior until he crosses the stick. Another idea is to block off the remainder of your space so that he has no choice but to jump the stick to get to you.

He keeps knocking it over!If your dog is knocking the stick over, that could be a sign that it is too high for him to jump. You want to make sure you don't injure your dog by having him leap too high. Lower it and try again. If it is the first or second time in your dog's leaping experience and he knocks the stick over, don't worry. He will probably perfect his trick. You can click for the first couple times, but if he continues to knock it over, refrain from clicking/treating until he leaps without touching it. Then reward him well!

Tip: "Only go as high as is appropriate for your dog's breed and age. To avoid hip trouble later on, use moderation when teaching this trick and keep training sessions at around five minutes at a time."
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