Dog Agility’s Troublesome Triple Jump
There is really nothing better than learning from seasoned dog agility handlers that have overcome, excuse the pun, hurdles in their dog’s agility training similar to our own. We had a viewer ask for help on the triple jump. She asked the question, “My dog is having trouble clearing the triple jump at AKC trials. He takes off too soon and hits the top bar with his front feet as he starts to descend prior to clearing all the bars.
We gave her some tips then asked you to add to them. This is the great advice you gave to help others overcome this issue.
If you are having the problem of your dog taking off too soon and knocking the top bar try teaching him to get closer to the jump before taking off. You can do this several ways. One is to lay a bar on the ground where he normally takes off. You may have to use 2 bars. This should break his long stride and make him collect for the jump. Also work the dog on a jump chute. This is a long straight line of jumps with different spacing. You may have to put up fencing on both sides of the jumps to keep the dog in line with the jumps. The first time I run a new dog down the jump chute they normally blast off full bore and will certainly knock bars. The second time through is very enlightening. The dog normally is more collected and pays more attention to where it is taking off. There will still be knocked bars until the dog really gets the idea of control. Also, if you measure the distance of the take off point to a single jump and the landing distance from the jump I would imagine you will find that he is early on most jumps. He is probably athletic enough to clear all but the triple.
Sue M. says:
I use ‘Big’ instead of ‘jump’ as a command for both doubles and triples, and make sure to say it early enough, and it really helped. Also, change up the look of the triple. Use 1 bar and put it on the front most standard, then put it on the middle, then the end — mixing it up. Then use 2 bars and mix them up — first and second standard, 2nd, 3rd; 1st, 3rd. Then use all 3. (When starting this, make it easier by keeping the bars lower and then moving up to the dog’s regulation height). Remember some venues also use cross bars under the last standard so try that also (bars with one side on the standard, other side on the ground to form an ‘X’ under the jump bar).
My dog has a tendency to launch at at her jumps. We normally compete at 16″, but we exhausted all our options in AKC (preferred) so now she has to jump at her regular height of 20″. She has lots of air in her jumps so it’s not the height, it’s where she takes off. The cavalettis at home help to space her stride, but she forgets herself in the heat of competition so “BIG” is the added cue she gets. I understand the depth perception issue myself. I have the same problem so correcting the stride is probably the best bet.
For dogs with a depth perception problem, you can use a verbal cue as well. I know some people use ‘big jump!’ when going over the broad jump, to differentiate it from a regular, single jump. by using a specific verbal cue, you can let them know as they’re getting to it – so even if they can’t tell until get they get closer, they’ll know they need to jump bigger and wider.
I would suggest going back to cavalettis helping the dog to know its take off point. I know they are not spread but taking off too soon can be fixed this way.
Beverly Skilling says:
Add something to the top bar to make it more visible in practice. Try pinning a towel over the bar or putting one of those swimming pool noodles over it. If you don’t own a triple for practice at home, three single jumps, properly spaced, work fine.
A year ago I had the same problem with my springer, what I did to fix that was I calculated the exact spot where she was suppose to take off to clear the jump, then I put a tunnel maybe just a foot or 2 from the take off point. It worked, she ran into the tunnel and had to jump the triple right after it, I’ve done this for a while and also cue her to jump not too early before the triple and it worked, she has never knocked the last bar again.
Thank you all for your great suggestions and if you have more of your own, please feel free to add them to the comments below so fellow agility enthusiasts can find answers that can help solve their problems.