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Imagine being at a Canine Freestyle competition. You watch as the hilarious, beautiful, and amazing dog and human couples show off their dance routines. Some are graceful and almost poetic. Some are hilarious and silly, and others are downright impressive. You watch the dogs as they walk on two legs, hop up and down, twirl around, and do dozens of other skillful tricks. You think about how fun it would be to compete with your agile pup, and you begin to create a list of tricks that would be fun in a dance routine.
Whether you are training for canine freestyle, just having fun with your dog, or trying to impress your friends, 'bounce' is a fun trick to teach. Because it allows your dog to jump, your pup will probably love it as much, if not more, than you do.
'Bounce' is not only fun as a cute trick or a wonderful piece of a canine freestyle dance routine, but it can also be a great trick to teach if you enjoy your pup jumping up, but do not want to allow him to jump on everyone at all times. You can consistently teach your dog to not jump and to understand the "Off" command, and then use this trick to communicate to him when it is okay to jump up.
Be mindful of your pup's physical capabilities and lower body while teaching this trick. Be sure to only teach this trick on a non-slippy surface, such as a carpeted area, to help him avoid injury. Do not encourage your dog to jump up to high at first, before he has developed good coordination, and try to prevent the possibility of him falling backwards as much as possible. To minimize the chance of him falling backwards and landing poorly, when you hold something above him to tempt him to jump up, hold the item above him and slightly in front of him, so that he will jump straight up or up and slightly forward, but not backward.
Be patient while teaching this. Although your pup might understand the trick rather quickly, allow between three to eight weeks for him to practice it, so that he can build up the proper muscle control to do this trick gracefully, and to minimize any poor landings.
To get started you will need lots of tasty, easy to eat treats and a calm location with a non-slippy floor surface, such as a carpeted or grassy area or a rug that will not move. If you are using the "Jazz Hands" method, then you will need energy, silliness, and excitement, as well as a hands-free treat container, such as a treat pouch or a small Ziploc bag placed in your pocket. If you are using the "Toy" method, then you will need a toy that your pup loves. With all of the methods, you will need a great attitude, patience, and a willingness to have fun.
The Jazz Hands Method
To begin, grab some tasty, easy to eat, small treats, and something to place them into other than your hands, such as a treat pouch or a small bag placed in your pocket. Go to a calm location that has a non-slippy floor, such as a carpeted or grassy area, with your pup.
Get her excited
Play with your girl and get her excited. When she is excited, then stand up, lean over her, and hold out your hands and wiggle your fingers above her. While you do this tell her to "Bounce" in a goofy and excited tone of voice.
As soon as she jumps up or attempts to jump up, praise her and give her a treat.
Repeat getting your pup excited, wiggling your fingers, and then praising and rewarding her when she jumps up. Do this until you can stand upright without bending over, act more calmly, tell her to "Bounce", and wiggle your fingers, and she will still consistently jump up without the extra excitement.
Phase out the jazz hands
When Fifi will jump up in response to just your command and your finger wiggling without you bending over, then phase out your hands also. To phase out your hands, tell her to "Bounce", and then wait five seconds before holding your hands out above her. Repeat this until she will consistently jump up when you tell her to "Bounce" before you hold your hands out. Now, enjoy your girl's new trick and show it off to your friends and family members!
The Toy Method
Pick a toy
To begin, grab a toy that your dog loves and go to a calm location with a non-slippery floor surface.
Throw the toy
Show your buddy the toy, then tempt him to jump up for the toy by wiggling the toy around and gently tossing it up in the air and catching it again. Tell him to "Bounce" in an excited tone of voice.
As soon as your pup jumps up, praise him and toss him the toy, then let him play with it for a few seconds.
Repeat tempting Fido with the toy, until he will jump up when you tell him to "Bounce" and simply hold the toy above him.
Switch to treats
When your pup will bounce when you tell him to, then when you tell him to "Bounce" show him the toy, and when he jumps up reward him with a treat from behind your back instead of the toy.
Repeat the treats
Repeat the "Bounce" command with the treats as a reward, until you can tell your dog to "Bounce" and hold an empty hand above him and he will jump up.
When your pup will jump up when you tell him to "Bounce" and hold an empty hand above him, then phase out your hand. To phase it out, tell him to "Bounce", and wait seven seconds before holding your hand out above him. Repeat this until he will consistently jump up when you tell him to "Bounce" before you hold out your hand.
The Treat Method
To begin, grab some treats that your pup loves and go to a calm location with good floor traction, such as a carpeted or grassy area.
Wiggle a treat
Show Fido a treat and then wiggle the treat above him a couple of inches toward yourself, so that he is jumping slightly forward when he jumps up. Tell him to "Bounce" in a happy and excited tone of voice while you do this.
As soon as your dog jumps up, praise him and give him the treat. If he will not jump, then reward him whenever he attempts to jump up, and then practice it until he will jump up.
Repeat tempting him with the treat, telling him to "Bounce", and then praising and rewarding him. After every fifteen repetitions, remove the treat from your hand and wiggle your empty hand above him. If he jumps up without seeing a treat, then reward him with a treat from behind your back. Repeat testing him every fifteenth time until he will jump up without seeing a treat.
Practice without food
When your pup will jump up when you tell him to "Bounce" and wiggle an empty hand above him, then practice it until he can do it consistently. Continue to reward him when he jumps up by giving him a treat from behind your back each time.
Phase out hand signal
When your buddy will consistently jump up when you tell him to, then phase out your hand. To phase out your hand tell Fido to "Bounce", and then wait seven seconds before holding your hand out above him. Repeat this until he will consistently jump up when you tell him to "Bounce" before you show him your hand.
By Caitlin Crittenden
Published: 05/14/2018, edited: 01/08/2021