The broad jump is an obstacle common to agility courses that requires a dog to jump several horizontal units or risers at once to cover a long distance, or “broad” jump. Some dogs are better at this than others. Since the length of the broad jump is adjusted for the size of the dog, small dogs can excel at this, just as well as large breeds. Because jumping can be stressful on a dog's joints, however, make sure your small dog is up to the task and does not have any impediments to jumping before initiating broad jump training. Once your dog has mastered this jump, along with other agility obstacles, you are ready to start participating in fun or competitive agility courses.
Broad jumps are made of a series of risers that are set to twice the length of the associated height for the high jump in your dog's class. Small dogs are only required to jump heights and length appropriate to their size. Usually, a small dog broad jump consists of 2 or 3 units that are 1 ft 3 in to 1 ft 7.7 in long. The height of the front riser is about 5 inches and the rear unit is 9 inches in height. Your dog will be required to jump all the units in one smooth, long, jump. This can be confusing for dogs to learn as they tend to see the units as separate obstacles and may try to jump each a unit individually or climb on top of them rather than jump over them. Changing the position of the units so they are vertical, rather than horizontal during training to avoid this, and working to introduce the concept of jumping all units not jumping between or on them will be necessary. Eventually, your small dog will understand that he is to jump all broad jump units, launching before the first and landing after the last in one long graceful jump... hopefully!
Usually, small dogs learn to be proficient at the high jump before learning to do the broad jump as an introduction to jumping. Many owners use treats or a toy to guide and reinforce their dogs for successful jumping. Broad jump obstacles for small dogs consist of 1-3 units which may be 4 feet wide and next to each other make up a span of 1 to 2 feet that your small dog will clear in one jump. The obstacles themselves are not high; usually, the tallest is only 9 inches and positioned at the rear of the jump. You may want to use a verbal command like “jump” or “over” to indicate to your small dog to jump. Be consistent and patient, remember this is supposed to be a fun activity for you and your dog.