Puppy Jump Bumps Straight Grids

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Jump Bumps are not real jumps.  They are designed to help puppies with their pre foundation jumping so that they learn balance and coordination. They also learn to use a good stride pattern and how to tackle bends and obstacles safely under different conditions. 

I'm basing Jilly's jump training on Susan Salo's methods.  Of course Jilly is too young for jumping.  A dog should be well grown and over a year old before the real jump training begins and even then it will be in short sessions designed for a young dog. 

Jump bumps are made from pieces of half round guttering placed on the ground so that they don't tend to move if the puppy knocks them.  In the photo you can see four jump bumps or stride regulators as they are sometimes called.  Two of the bumps are ordinary pieces of four inch guttering and two are a bit bigger.  It's important that the puppy learns that not all jumps are the same.  The bigger bumps have wings either side of them and the smaller ones don't.  The small ones are there to help with the stride pattern. 

Susan Salo uses eight inch pipe cut in half for the bigger bumps but this is an expensive option.  I happened to have some old square, two inch downpipe which I taped together.  I taped a piece of guttering on top and this forms the bigger bump.  You can get deep flow guttering if you want to spend a fortune but really it's not worth it.

 

To start with we just used two of the bump jumps set out as below.   There is about 5 feet between the small bump jump and the big one.  I soon found that I hadn't done enough training for the wait when we started and so this turned out to be quite a short session.  A couple of things to note.  You need to use a target to for the dog to focus on and the dog should be released when it's focused on the food target or a toy and not the handler.  The handler faces forward rather than facing the puppy so that the puppy learns to come in to the handler's side and hit the target rather than always coming to the front of the handler.  This sort of exercise should be repeated three times and then left for a week or two.  Jilly's wait really isn't solid enough and so we cut our session short.  We'll go back to it when the wait has improved.

 

Here's our first effort

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...and some target training

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A couple of weeks later and we get on to the real stuff.  Here's our grid.  The wait needed some reinforcing before we did the grid properly but Jilly does understand that she doesn't get the toy unless she waits at the start.  It was a bit exciting for her as it was a new toy she'd never seen before.  It's important to play with a dog and to make it lots of fun.

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First pole

At nine months Jilly has enough skill and co-ordination to jump her first pole.  This exercise will help her when she begins to do some foundation jumping grids at around 12 to 13 months old. 

At Jilly's age you wouldn't want to start a dog jumping too high or jumping repeatedly and so the pole is kept low.  It's intended to help her pace herself and to jump a pole correctly so that when she starts her jump training she'll go into it naturally and safely. 

If you have a puppy and you want to start training over a pole I would strongly suggest that you go through the jump bump exercises first and don't start until your puppy has learned to have plenty of balance and co-ordination. 

 

This is the first time Jilly has seen a jump with a pole.  I'm using a stick in the ground jump that's placed behind the larger jump bump.  Keeping the jump bump in front allows the puppy to develop a safer style of jumping before they start on jump grids.  The first pole is set at 15cm which is about 6".  Jilly will measure into the large category for agility and as she is half springer her breeding is such that she jumps through undergrowth when out on walks and will even do the odd jump when there's nothing there.  The 6" pole is very easy for her and she makes nothing of it. 

In the Susan Salo course the pole goes up in 2" increments to a height of 10" and then back down to 6".  The reason for going back down again is to make sure that the dog finishes on something very easy with no pressure.  I didn't have a jump with enough cups on it and there wouldn't have been room with the type of cups that I use.  Jilly is very fit and capable and so our pole went from 6" to 10" and then back down to 6", and that was it. 

We won't repeat this exercise for three or four weeks.  As you can see in the video Jilly found the 6" pole very easy but I felt she jumped too high over the 10" pole.  Next time I'll make sure I have a jump that goes up in 2" increments.  (Yes I know, some people say I fuss too much).  It means I'll need to make a new stick in the ground jump and buy some moveable jump cups but I think this is a safer way to teach a young dog.  Watch this space for instructions!

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