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A fun trick to teach your dog is to jump through your arms. The beauty of this trick is that the props required, your arms, are always available, so you can take this show on the road. This is a fun trick to entertain friends and family in your home, or new acquaintances at the dog park. If your dog can jump, he can learn to jump through a loop you make with your arms, just make sure that you hold your arms at a height your dog is comfortable jumping. Remember, some short-legged dogs cannot jump very high, or should not jump at all. Also, if you have a very large dog, and you have short arms, this might be a problem! But for most dogs and owners, this trick is pretty impressive looking, fun, and not too difficult to teach your dog!
You can teach an older dog or a young dog to jump through your arms, just make sure if you have a young dog that his bones and joints have fully developed, as jumping can be stressful on a dog, especially some giant breed dogs, that should wait until they around 2 years of age to start jumping activities.
To perform this trick, you will ask your dog to 'sit-stay', form a circle with your arms, bend down, and command your dog to 'jump'. Your dog will then run over to you and jump through the circle your arms are making, usually receiving praise and a treat afterward. This is usually not too difficult to teach, provided your dog is physically able to jump and is not too big to fit through your arm circle! There are several ways to teach this fun trick and you and your dog can be performing in no time.
To train your dog to jump through your arms, you will need treats--lots of treats! You may want to avoid feeding your dog ahead of time and use low-value treats, or use the dog food itself as a treat to teach this trick. You can also use a stick to help train this trick and extend your arm to make your circle bigger at first and easier for your dog to jump. An alternative is using a wall and a corner to help direct your dog through your arms at first. Remember to have fun and patience, and not to punish your dog for failed attempts.
The Shape with a Wall Method
Position against a wall
Use a wall with a corner. Position yourself a few feet away from the wall so your arms can touch the wall. Throw a treat into the corner so your dog goes to the corner to get it.
Use wall to direct over arm
While kneeling a few feet away from the wall and the corner, extend your arm to the wall a few inches off the ground. You may hold a treat in your hand, or have an assistant stand on the other side of your arm and place a treat on the ground. Your dog will either run along the wall and step over your arm to get the treat placed by the assistant, or approach your arm with the treat. When he reaches you, you can toss the treat on the other side of your arm for your dog to follow by stepping over your arm to retrieve it.
Repeat, gradually raising your arm, still touching the wall, so that your dog will have to jump your arm to get the treat.
Use both arms and wall
Once your dog is comfortable jumping your arm to retrieve the treat, put your other arm against the wall above the dog's head, with enough room for him to jump over the lower arm and under the upper arm. Use the wall to make the circle large. Continue, gradually making circle with arms closer together, still against the wall.
Make loop with just arms
Move away from the wall, no longer using it as an aide. Form a circle with your arms and ask your dog to jump through your arms. Go back to a previous step if necessary.
The Shape with the Floor Method
Ask your dog to 'sit-stay'. Place a treat on the floor.
Make arch with floor
Bend over, making an arch with your arms, hands touching the floor a few feet apart, between your dog and the treat. Give the 'jump' command, even though your dog is not jumping yet. Keep the treat close, just beyond your arch, so your dog has to go through the arch to get to it. If your dog is reluctant, you can put the treat right under the arch you create with your arms and the floor at first.
Start moving the treat farther away so that your dog has to go through your arm arch and go retrieve the treat. Repeat until this becomes well-established.
Make loop smaller
Gradually make the loop smaller by putting your hands closer together, bending your elbows to make a circle big enough for your dog to step through. Keep practicing with a treat on the floor.
Slowly begin to raise the loop with your arms off the ground so your dog has to step over your hands a few inches from the floor, then hop over them several inches over the floor, then jump over them a foot or more off the floor. Go as high as is appropriate for your dog.
The Shape with a Stick Method
Use a stick to extend arm
Have your dog 'sit-stay'. Use a stick to make an extension of your arm in front of your dog. Bend over to keep your arm and stick close to the ground.
Lure dog over
Throw a treat with your other hand over the side of your stick and arm combination, opposite your dog, so your dog steps over the stick to get the treat. Repeat, gradually raising your arm and stick, so your dog is jumping over the stick and arm to get the treat.
Create a lop with arm, body, and stick
Now stand up, hold your arm out from your body, holding the stick pointing towards you and touching your feet to create a triangle. Show your dog the treat, and throw the treat through the triangle, so your dog proceeds through the hole to fetch it.
Repeat, gradually raise the stick, balancing it between your legs, until the stick is at knee level. Hold it with your arms and point it towards you to form a higher, smaller loop. Keep asking your dog to retrieve the treat going through the loop made by your arm and the stick. Say "jump" when your dog proceeds through the loop.
Use stick to create arch
Now place a treat down on floor, tell your dog to 'sit-stay', hold both ends of the stick with either hand, and lower towards the ground to form an arch, a little off the floor for your dog to jump through and retrieve his treat. Practice.
Gradually move your hands closer together on the stick until your hands meet together, forming a loop with your arms. Practice. Once your dog is comfortable you can then remove the stick and just use your arms to make the loop.
By Laurie Haggart
Published: 11/09/2017, edited: 01/08/2021