4 Feet On
Skill: Jumping on Objects: Dog jumps on walls, logs, rocks, benches, posts
Benefits: Increased muscular strength and proprioception, increased confidence, increased ability to work with distractions
Other sports applications: Agility- Table, Jumping, A-frame; Obedience-directed jumping, sit, down, stand; Flyball-jumping, box turns; Barn Hunt-Straw bale climb.
How to train: Find a low sturdy object. Mid forearm to elbow height is a good starting point, it is tall enough that the dogs see it as an obstacle, but not so tall that it is intimidating. Reward any paw interaction, shape the behavior until your dog will put all four paws on the object. Don’t worry about your dog jumping at first, as the object gets taller and you approach it with more speed, your dog will make the transition from walking onto the object to jumping onto it. Gradually increase the height of the object, while always working within the comfort level of your dog. As always, work with your dog with a variety of objects.
Safety: Always spot your dog, be ready to catch him or provide assistance if needed. Let your dog choose to perform the behavior, and then reward. Lift your dog down from the wall or find an alternative route down if jumping above dog’s shoulder height.
Advanced Version: Train your dog to jump onto small diameter objects! These require quite a bit of precision and will take time. Make sure to start low and spot your dog. Also, be sure it is of a diameter that your dog can balance on when not jumping to it!
Send your dog to jump onto specific objects. Practice left and right.
Practice obedience exercises on the object: sit, down, spin, stand, etc.