Broad Jump Classroom

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The Broad Jump is an exercise that seems simpler than it actually is. The three most common mistakes that you see on the Broad Jump exercise are (1) the dog will walk across or between the boards, (2) the dog will cut the corner of the Broad Jump and (3) the dog walks into front.

The first mistake (1) is a result of the dog not fully understanding how to pay attention to the handler as the handler leaves and stands next to the jump. The second mistake (2) is a result of the dog not fully understanding how to jump in a straight line over the boards. The third mistake (3) is the result of the dog not understanding to drive back to the handler quickly.

PDF Files to help your training!
Problem Solving PDF
Training Log PDF
Points to Remember PDF

Questions? Click to Email

Visualization
When left on a sit stay, the dog will stay focused on you until you turn to face the Broad Jump. When ready, the dog will jump the Broad Jumpdown the center of the jump and return to your in a front position.

Broad Jump set up:

The number of boards required in the broad jump and the width of the broad jump may vary based upon the venue selected (AKC, UKC, ASCA, etc.). Obtain a copy of the rule book(s) for the venues where you show to determine the width of the broad jump and number of boards required. When training foundations of the broad jump:

  • Use the number of boards required for the venue (or less) all pushed together (no space between the boards for the foundation work.
  • Place either tented wire or one of the boards up on end.
  • Place wire or rulers in a runway configuration on the last board out to ground.
STEPS TO SUCCESS

Teaching the Broad Jump

Teaching your dog the Broad Jump in a manner that will build drive and confidence will give you an energized jump and focused front.

Level 1: Introduce the dog to the jump (a normal PVC or wood broad jump).

  • Use one to two boards pushed together and set up on a flat, stable non-slick area.
  • Place the last board on its end OR place a wire tent shape in the middle or behind the last board to ensure your dog will jump with a slight arch over the jump.
  • Introduce your dog to the jump by having him on leash and walking with him over the jump.
  • As you walk over the jump, give your dog the command you will be using for the broad jump.
  • It can be something like “hup” or “jump” or “over”, although the word itself is not as important as the consistent use of the same command.
  • You will need to give your dog the same command every single time to ensure that he associates that word with that obstacle.
  • Next, take your leash off, place your dog on a sit about 8 feet on one end of the jump and go to the other side about 8 feet past the jump to do a simple recall.

NOTE: no front or finish at this point, put in “Jump to Hand” games.

End Goal – To get your dog use to jumping a BJ and coming to you for play.

Level 2: Change your body position.

  • Set your jump and leave your dog in a sit like in Level 1.
  • When you go to other side to call your dog, turn either to the right or left instead of facing your dog.
  • NOTE: no front or finish at this point, put in “Jump to Hand” games.

From here on out, randomly add your stay games while your dog is on his stay.  This will help teach and build your dogs “staring” at your back as you leave.

End Goal – For your dog to jump the BJ with you turned and not facing your dog.

Level 3: 

    • Set your jump and leave your dog in a sit like in Level 1.
    • Over many training sessions, gradually move back a few inches at a time so that you end up 8’ in front of the jump and approximately two feet lateral to the right side of the jump.
    • At this stage we add a throwback “Get it Game” as a reward for your dog.
    • Throw a treat/toy roughly where the arrow is in the diagram, next to the jump.
    • This will start to teach the tight turn you want later in the final skill.
    • NOTE: your dog needs to drive as fast as he can back to you for a “Jump to Hand” once he has gotten his treat that has landed next to the jump.
End Goal – For your dog to jump the BJ and run get a treat or toy that you throw back towards the side of the BJ.

Level 4: When your dog is comfortable at Level 3, it is time to start moving back to the side of the jump. Set your jump and leave your dog in a sit like in Level 1.

  • Initially you will be 8’ in front of the jump and 2’ lateral of the right side.
  • Over many training sessions, you will gradually reduce your distance on front of the jump from 8’ to standing to the right of the jump but remaining 2’ lateral.
  • Take your time during this portion of the training.
  • Make sure your dog continues to jump the middle of the jump.
  • As in Level 3, continue to throw a treat back next to and eventually back to where your dog starts in a sit.
  • If your dog touches the wire/ruler, correct the wire by smacking it with your hand as you say “no, no bad wire” and then praise your dog. (Please don’t do this out in public as your neighbors will call the men in white on you.)
  • Seriously, what happens is your dog will take on responsibility for the wire/ruler and will try harder to stay away from it.
  • If you do correct, make sure you do a regular recall the following repetition.
  • Try pointing to the center of the jump and backing up to stay out of your dog’s landing space as you tell your dog to “jump.”
End Goal – For your dog to jump the MIDDLE of the BJ and run get a treat or toy that you throw back towards the side of the BJ.

Level 5: Now is the time to figure out what your dog’s broad jump width will be in competition and how many boards this will require.

  • Once you are standing next to the jump and your dog is confident sitting until released, jumping the boards and running past you for the treat, start to widen the jump and if needed, add boards, to competition width.
  • Do continue to have a board in the center up on its end or wire tented in the middle to ensure your dog is not jumping flat.
  • Again take your time and make sure your dog is “fast” and “confident”.
  • Add the “Stay” games to continue working on focus while leaving your dog as well as throwing a treat/toy back after your dog has jumped and is returning to you.
End Goal – As you stand next to the side of the BJ your dog should jump the middle of the BJ and then run get a treat or toy that you throw back towards the side area where he was left on his sit.

Level 6: Set your jump and leave your dog in a sit like in Level 5.

  • Start fading the wire/rulers by moving them under the last jump so they stick out past the last board in the same way they did when on the board.
  • You may also add an additional (optional) step.
  • On the first repetition, have the wire/ruler on the end of boards on top and second rep put under last board.
  • As you work on Level 6, make sure your dog is not jumping flat, is focused on you as you move into position next to the jump, is jumping the boards straight and driving to and past you.
End Goal – As you stand next to the side of the BJ your dog should jump the middle of the BJ and then either run get a treat or toy that you throw back towards the side area where he was left on his sit.

Adding the Front:

Set up jump as in Level 5.

  • Ask you dog to “jump” the boards, as the dog is over the jump pivot to your right 90 degrees, and as your dog is landing, use your “front” word.
  • Set up any guides you use when working on fronts or use your hands to ensure your dog’s success.
  • While adding “fronts” remember to randomly add the games either on your sit or when the dog is coming to you to keep the excitement and speed in the skill. See the Stay games for ideas.

Note: Make sure your dog is turning tight off the jump. If not, you can use a ruler at an angle to you that will simulate a chute. Your dog will stay on the inside of the ruler and give a better turn leading to a better front.

End Goal – As you stand next to the side of the BJ your dog should jump the middle of the BJ and then either run get a treat or toy that you throw back towards the side area where he was left on his sit OR come to do a front.

Proofing

The following are some proofing ideas from “Success is in the Proofing”. The book covers the how to’s and why’s of proofing for all levels from Novice to Utility.

Here are a few ideas;

• Leave your dog and as you walk towards the jump ask your dog to jump.

• As you leave your dog, ask for a down.

• Change the look of the jump by adding toys, chair, cones, etc. to the jump on the sides or the beginning or end.

Note: if your dog makes a mistake, mark the error and show your dog how to be correct. Start with easy proofing and gradually add difficulty as your dog becomes a STAR.

Tips & Warnings
Give your dog praise and encouragement during training. Training is fun and if your dog sees it as a fun game, he will be more likely to perform well for you in the ring.

• Keep your training sessions short. Your dog will become bored very quickly, so train in short and frequent sessions.

• Do not jump a young dog too often or before their growth plates have closed. Developing puppies are prone to permanent lameness and injury if they are worked too hard while young.

• Don’t train on the broad jump during adverse weather. Mud or other slippery ground conditions can make it very tough for your dog to get proper traction and stability.

Trouble Shooting:
Cutting the Corner or deviating from the correct jumping position

Set up the jump with your wire/rulers as in Level 1. Review the steps to make sure initial training didn’t skip any steps.

Dog Anticipates Jumping Command

REMEMBER – anticipation is a GOOD thing! It tells you your dog understands what you want; now we just need to teach him to wait until we give the command. Alternate the Sit-stay with the Jump command. Leave your dog sitting in front of the first board. Take your position to the right of the jump. Wait a few moments, and then return to your dog. Leave your dog again. Do this until the dog no longer anticipates the Jump command.

Dog Doesn’t Jump On First Command Or Signal

Go back and work on the “Stay” games. This will make your dog eager to jump.

PDF Files to help your training!
Problem Solving PDF
Training Log PDF
Points to Remember PDF

Questions? Click to Email

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