How to Help Agility Dogs that Refuse the Last Hurdle

We had a question asked by a beginner dog agility enthusiast about her dog refusing the final jump. Though we were not given great details, she said she tried everything and still her dog refuses the last jump. Our first question back is, “How does your dog know it’s the last jump?” But we will look at what others had to say on this dilemma as you had some great tips.

We would ask if you and Taggie are apprehensive about the last fence and reinforce each others anxiety. Picture another fence after the last one and continue to work Taggie over it.  Pretend the finish line is not where the judge has set it.  This should help you avoid tensing up as you approach the final hurdle.

We also suggest that you teach your dog the “go on” command. Teach him to go over a fence to a target or toy, you can throw one if your dog starts going around the jump. The reward and praise is delivered after the fence, not before it. And the spectators who cheer Tag to the end of his run will be shouting ‘go on’ too! Your command to send Tag down the home stretch will be reinforced by the crowd.

Sandy shared: My dog wasn’t refusing the last jump but knocking bars there. Why? Because I had the attitude that we were finished…I slowed down and he turned to see what I was doing! My trainer said,”Keep on moving as if it were in the middle of the course.” Even now I have to check myself on a difficult course from thinking we are “home free” at the last few obstacles. Not true!!

Brenda shared: Make sure that you do not veer off to one side or another, or slow down. With my dog, I was actually getting into her “space” at the end of the run and she was going around the jump and then coming to me. Check out your body language first. Once you fix that, the rest should be easy.

DustyDuckDog shared: A friend who jumps horses told me when I started agility to never think of the last jump as the finish. Keep driving forward as if there is another jump. Your body language may be telling Tag that it is the finish and he looks back to see if you are still coming. Dogs are VERY in tune with our body language. So pretend that there is another jump coming up. It worked for me and my dog who was doing the same thing. Good luck

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