Tire jumps pose the biggest risk on any agility course – more crashes occur here than on any other obstacle. How can you minimize the risk to your dog?
- Train train train! This is a very important obstacle to train carefully and incessantly. Start with the tire on the ground and shape the dog looking at the tire, and putting their paws through – not on – the tire. Next, raise it a little, and shape the same behavior again. Continue until the tire is standing up completely and you shape the dog stepping through, and then walking all the way through.
- Raise it slowly Don’t just go straight to the dog’s full jump height. Start low and go slow. Mark and reward clean perfect jumps with well-judged entry and landings.
- When it’s up it’s up While I do think that changing bar jump’s height may possibly help your dog to gauge distance and the height they should be paying attention to – especially if they compete in two venues – I am not an advocate for moving the tire jump’s height. Do you think it benefits the dog, if you disagree?
- Safety tire This is the easiest, best way to protect your dog, however, if you go to a lot of competition venues it may be best not to train with a safety tire, since the dog will learn that a crash is okay, and if they crash in a venue without a breakaway it could be disastrous. If where you compete doesn’t have a breakaway tire, ask if it can be considered for future courses.
- Proof and practice Have your dog do the tire jump while you run by, stand still, do the chicken dance… you know the drill! Make sure you make the tire jump part of your course so your dog gets plenty of time with it.
Tire jumps offer your dog a unique challenge to show off their precise leaping skills and add a level of challenge to any home course.