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Getting a Jump on Jumping?


August 27, 2012 by Julia

Delta is my first “performance” puppy and I’m not-quite-but-almost obsessed with doing everything “right” this time around.  When I talked to people about foundation work, I was advised to start jump training by simply calling the puppy through the uprights with the bar on the ground or at the lowest height (typically 4″).  That is what I have been doing since Delta was 10 weeks old and she is doing very well.  We’ve worked up to being able to leave her in position at full distance (8-10′ away) and call her from full distance on the other side. Though it isn’t challenging for her to clear 4″, she thinks that it is a great game to play.

A week or two ago, I found out that there was a local UKC show scheduled for the end of September and I was excited at the idea of entering Delta in their Novice classes.  I figured it would be a nice casual venue to give her some exposure and test out some of our training. But then I heard that UKC has a recall over the high jump in their Novice classes. Delta would only be 7 months by then so I thought the idea was a bust.

When I posted about the show on Facebook and lamented that Delta would be too young, I was surprised that people still encouraged me to go.  Some folks gave me tips on training for it, one woman even mentioned that a nationally known trainer (the name escapes me at the moment) had said that there is absolutely no reason to avoid jumping a puppy that is physically sound.

Delta at 24 weeks
Delta, 24wks and 19″ high, in front of a 16″ jump.

In the picture at left, Delta is 24 weeks and a little over 19″ tall.  For reference, the jump behind her is 16″. In UKC, she would jump 18″.

None of my musings include if Delta is able to jump 18″.  She has been jumping on to the 20″ bed for 2 or 3 months now and she can nearly clear Dash’s back (26″).  She even took a flying leap off the bed once and came level with Aaron’s shoulder, though that’s certainly not something we’d ask her to repeat! 

So the question remains –  when do I begin adding height to her jump training and how early could I go to full height? I’m undecided and I’m interested in hearing what others have done.


  1. Great Article! I have the same method for all my dogs -jump elbow height for a year and then formal jump training. Izzie the Dobe is just getting ready for her first preferred trial (20") and she'll stay there until at least 2.Then, common sense and concern for my dogs well being fills in the gaps on in individual basis 🙂

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