It is pure joy to see happy, self-motivated dogs flying over jumps, almost as if they had wings. There's real pleasure written on every line of their body, as they challenge themselves to get around the course as quickly as possible.
But these aren't superdogs, rather they are dogs who have been taught to focus their energy on clearing jumps. This is a wonderful experience for both dog and owner, a great way to bond, plus it provides valuable mental and physical stimulation for the dog.
As well as keeping dogs fit, it also improves basic obedience levels by getting them tuned into the owner and used to doing what's asked on command. Indeed, many dogs who lack self-confidence can become confident and outgoing when they learn skills such as jumping over hurdles. The great news is, this is an easy skill to teach, so there's every reason to give it a go.
Start with the hurdle low or even resting on the ground (for small dogs.) Once the dog masters popping over one obstacle, it's a fun challenge to have him jump several hurdles or even a small course. Indeed, this is one of the skills required of dogs that compete in agility trials. Of course, you can also increase the height of the jump, so that he has to jump higher as his skills improve.
Most dogs thrive on this sort of challenge, but some more than others. If your dog is less than 12 months old, has a health problem, is overweight, or otherwise reluctant to exercise, then always chat with your vet first before embarking on an energetic activity.
It is vital that your dog has fun while learning. This means keeping your voice light and encouraging, and never punishing the dog if he gets something wrong. Things won't go right all the time, so simply call the dog to you and give him a command that he does know, such as "Sit". Then you can reward this good behavior and try again with the jump.