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Teaching Your Dog to Jump Rope

Teaching Your Dog to Jump Rope

Teaching our dogs new tricks is one of life’s simple pleasures that not only deepens the bond between dog and owner, but also imparts a level of pride when the dog successfully performs the command, especially if friends are there to witness! A fun – and impressive – party trick is to teach your dog is how to jump rope.

Before you Begin Before you begin you should gather a small pole, plenty of treats, and a long rope.  You should also beware that this trick is moderately difficult, so you should have plenty of patience with your pet and should not expect your dog to learn this trick overnight.  If your dog is overweight or has any joint problems, do not attempt this trick without first talking to your veterinarian.

Method One – Large Dogs This first method is great for larger dogs or ones that do not jump as readily.  The first step is to ask your dog to sit, and then place a cane, stick, or pole a few inches off the ground with one hand, while holding a treat on the other side.  Lure your dog over the obstacle with the treat and provide praise when the proper action is completed.  As your dog becomes more comfortable with what you are asking him or her to do, raise the stick and overlay the “jump” command.  Once your dog is reliably jumping on command, fade the treat from the luring process.

Next, tie a rope to a stable object and slowly swing it back and forth, letting your dog get used to both the rope and the motion. Next, hold the rope steady and ask your dog to jump over it a couple times while providing plenty of praise every time the action is completed.  Finally, repeat these steps while you are gently swinging the rope back and forth, making sure to use the “jump” command each time.  In the beginning coordination may be an issue, but over time you both will find the right rhythm.

Method Two – Small Dogs For a smaller dog, a cane or stick in the beginning steps is often unnecessary.  Instead, you can teach a small dog to reliably jump by holding a treat a few feet above the dog’s head until your pet leaps for the treat.  Once your dog is reliably jumping on command, you have one of two options:  to teach your pet to jump rope by itself, or to jump rope with you.  To jump rope alone, simply follow the above steps of gently swinging the rope while asking your pet to jump.

If, however, you want your dog to jump rope with you, the next step is to teach your dog to jump when you jump. To do so, jump in the air while giving your dog the jump command and continue to practice until you are both on the same rhythm.  Finally, introduce the jump rope and – slowly – practice going over the rope together until you both feel comfortable with this new trick.

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