They may be cute and fluffy but don’t underestimate the leaps this bold little jumper can make as they clear obstacles with ease. The mountain rabbit will be a helpful ally in this quest. Master its ways.
Dogs jump over an obstacle. Minimum height is ground level, maximum height is top of dog’s head.
Dogs younger than six months, dogs with injuries or those in recovery must step over obstacles at ground level.
Some dogs are worried about stepping over things in their path. This helps with that.
How to train
1. Start with a very low obstacle and lure them across it with food. Use your marker word as soon as they have fully passed over the obstacle and reward them with the food from your hand. The bar must be easily displaceable (rolls off if caught by dog).
2. Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following the lure, remove the food and use just your hand for your dog to follow. Mark and reward.
3. Once your dog is confidently and smoothly following your hand without a lure, add a verbal cue just before you begin. Mark and reward. The verbal cue is ‘Rabbit’.
4. Once your dog is listening to the cue and performing the behaviour, start a short distance away and walk up to the obstacle together.
Only move on when you can get 5/5 confidently and smoothly at each stage. You must be able to tick off all of the boxes on the download before linking them together.
The Three Ds of dog training: distance, duration and distraction. We can use these to increase the challenge for our dogs. Choose just one to focus on per training session.
Distance is how far away you are from your dog when they perform the task. The farther away you get, the harder your dog is likely to find it. When you’re adding distance, start close and build slowly.
Duration is the length of time your dog stays in position. Some behaviours don’t have a duration factor, such as jumping in the ‘rabbit’ challenge. Behaviours like ‘sit’ or ‘bear’ do require your dog to hold the position longer. The longer we ask them to hold it, the more difficult the task becomes. Be sure to start with a very short duration, just one second and build slowly.
Distraction involves whatever else is going on around your dog at the time, from a deer running across the mountain to a thunderstorm. If your dog finds it exciting or disrupting, it’s a distraction.
Example: adding distance to Rabbit
The journey is testing for body and mind. There are times when we don’t think we can go on; life on the trail gets to you and right now your dog is having doubts. Leave them to wait somewhere safe while you go ahead. Call them to you, giving them all the encouragement they need. You can do it, you’re a team!