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Life has been a whirlwind since you brought your little dog Charlie home. You used to have a clean house, free of dog hair and half-chewed toys. Now it’s a different story. However, you wouldn’t change it for anything. In fact, your little guy is an essential component of your family unit. You’ve also managed to teach him a few neat tricks. Charlie can roll over and even play dead. However, you’d like to continue teaching him. Not only is the training enjoyable, but guests are always giggling when they see Charlie performing.
Training a small dog to bounce is guaranteed to continue your small dog’s entertaining reputation. In fact, it will look like your dog is on springs! This trick is also a great way to exercise your little dog. Not to mention, it will help their muscles and joints grow strong, helping to keep them healthy.
Training your small dog to bounce is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to first teach them to jump. You just then need to use the right incentive to encourage them to keep bouncing up and down. You will use obedience commands to trigger the bouncing. For one of the methods, you will also need to lead by example.
If Charlie is just a puppy then he should be raring to leap up and down anyway. This means you could see results in just a couple of days. But if your little dog is older and their performing days are mostly in the past, then you may need a couple of weeks. Stick with training and you’ll have a small bouncing dog that’s bound to feature on social media up and down the state. Finally, teaching them to bounce also lays the foundations for other more challenging, jumping tricks.
Before you can get your dog bouncing up and down, you will need to gather a few items. You’ll need tasty treats or to break their favorite food into small chunks. You will also need a much-loved toy and a clicker for one of the methods below.
Set aside just 5 to 10 minutes each day for training. It’s important you practice in a space where valuables aren’t at risk of getting broken. So a large room or yard should do the job fine.
Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, then work can begin!
The Food Target Method
Lead your small dog into the space you’re going to train in. Then kneel in front of them and hold up a tasty treat. This should quickly catch their attention. You can then hold it above their head so they’re peering up at it.
Now issue a ‘bounce’ command in a playful voice. You can use any word or phrase you like for the instruction, but only give it once. Also look at the dog when you give the command. This will help them concentrate.
As you give the instruction, dangle the toy up and down above them to encourage them to jump up. Don’t make it too difficult for them to get to it, otherwise they may quickly give up trying.
Once they have jumped up, give them the treat and lots of praise. Really show them how happy you are with them. The more elated they feel, the more eager they will be to play the game again.
Increase the jumps
Now you simply need to make your dog jump up and down more each time before they get the treat. However, build this up gradually. So the next time make them jump twice, the time after that three times and so on.
The Toy & Click Method
Spend a few minutes each day playing with you dog's favorite toy. Really get them worked up. You can also leave it in their bed over night. You want your small dog leaping up to get the toy as soon as they see it.
Now stand or kneel before your little dog. Hold the toy in your hand and wiggle it above their head. You are encouraging them to leap up to try and get it.
As you tempt them to jump up, issue a ‘bounce’ command. Again, keep it playful, so give the instruction in a high-pitched tone. All dogs learn best when they think they’re playing a game.
As soon as they do jump up, give a click to let them know they performed the trick correctly. A clicker is a great way to communicate with your little dog and speed up the learning process. You can then play around with the toy for a couple of minutes as a reward.
Increase the bouncing
Now you just need to repeat the steps above. However, make Charlie jump up and down an increasing number of times before you click and give the reward. Then as they get into the swing of bouncing up and down, you can slowly phase out the rewards and just use the command.
The Watch Me Method
Take your small dog into your training space. You can use either a toy or food to motivate them in this technique. So stand before them and hold the treat above their head.
Now while looking at your pooch, give a ‘bounce’ instruction. Keep it playful and use any word you like. Just make sure it’s not being used in conjunction with any other tricks. Also make sure you give it only once.
Dogs learn from mirroring their owners' behavior. So jump up and down to show Charlie what to do as you give the instruction. After they’ve looked up at you confused for a little while, they will catch on and start bouncing too.
Once they do start bouncing up and down, you can stop and give them the reward. Just make sure to shower them in praise and show them how happy you are. The more love you give them, the more they will want to play again.
Now you just need to practice for a few minutes each day. Once they get the hang of it, you can stop jumping yourself. By now your dog will understand the instruction and won’t need a demonstration first.
By James Barra
Published: 04/16/2018, edited: 01/08/2021