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A Closer look at Dog Jumps

Agility training is something you can start with a puppy but it may be an idea to check with your vet to see when it is okay as you do not want to cause joint damage when they are still forming. Do not make the jumps too high either and make sure you take it slow. Have your dog on a leash to make sure he does not try going round or under. Make sure too that each different jump has its own instruction so your dog knows what to do in each situation. Reward him and praise him and use treats that he loves.

As his confidence grows so can you make things more difficult with the height but make it gradual. If your dog will not take an obstacle you could try re-placing it in a hallway that is narrow so he cannot get round it. Use a happy tone of voice and keep him motivated with positive encouragement. If you think he has mastered one height but when you move on he struggles go back to the previous height for a while, then try again increasing it but increase it by less.

Here is a look at what some of the jumps in agility courses look like.


Hurdle or Jump

This is a single winged jump that can be adjusted in height for smaller sized dogs so that they can compete against other dogs. There is a horizontal bar that is supported by two uprights and the competing dog has to clear the bar. Wings on the uprights if there can be in different sizes, colors or shapes, or the uprights may just stand as basic stanchions.

Tire Jump

Shaped like a tire and suspended in a frame this jump is between 18 inches to 24 inches in inside diameter through which the dog must jump. As with other jumps its height is adjusted according to the height of the dog competing. To make it more visible it is often wrapped in tape and this also helps even it out and cover openings so that the dog does not get caught on them. A recent requirement in many organizations is that the tire be breakable so that if the dog hits it hard from a miss timed jump, the tire comes apart meaning less injury is done to the dog.

Water Jump

Some water jumps have a low hurdle or low brush placed before them that the dog also has to jump over. Its height ranges from 2ft for large dogs, 1ft 2 inches for medium dogs to 1ft 3 inches for small dogs. The water jump itself spreads across 3ft 11.2 inches for large dogs, 2ft 3.8 inches for medium dogs and 1ft 3 inches for small dogs.

Panel Jump

This jump does not have bars but instead has a panel that is solid that comes up from the ground. It is made up of several short panels so that when its height needs to be adjusted for different height dogs it can be done easily.

Long Jump

This jump has four or five platforms that are slightly raised across a broad area. The dog has to jump across these without any of their feet touching them. The length the dog is required to jump depends on their height.

For large dogs there are 3 to 5 units and the maximum length is between 3ft 11.2 inches and 4ft 11 inches. The height of the first platform is set at 5 inches and the last one is 15 inches.

For medium dogs there are 3 to 4 units with a maximum length between 2ft 3.8 inches and 2ft 11.4 inches. The height of the first should be 5 inches and the last should be 12 inches.

For small dogs there should be 2 to 3 units with a maximum length between 1ft 3 inches and 1ft 7.7 inches. The height of the first should be at 5 inches and the last should be 9 inches.

Spread Jump (double or triple jump)

The double has two single hurdles positioned together to make one jump in a double spread. There can only be two element in this obstacle. The first hurdle's top bar should be between 5.9 inches to 9.8 inches lower than the second hurdle's top bar. A double jump can also have parallel bars as well as ascending.

The triple jump is always set to be ascending and the spread is adjusted depending on the height of the dog that is competing. It has two uprights supporting three horizontal bars in ascending height.

The spread at its most for large dogs is 1ft 9.6 inches, for medium dogs 1ft 3.7 inches and for small dogs 11.8 inches.

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