Agility training is a great way to bond with your dog and offers a great means of exercise for both pet and owner. One of the obstacles of a traditional agility course is the ‘hoop jump’ which requires your dog to pass clearly and smoothly through a hoop or ring of a particular size and height.
You’ll need a plastic ‘hula’ hoop toy in order to practice and rehearse this trick.
Hold the hoop firmly in one hand and let it sit upright a few inches from the ground.
Grab a treat with your free hand and bring it to the attention of your dog.
Let the dog smell the treat, bring your hand slowly through the hoop towards him and then lead him slowly through it. For most dogs when first learning this trick the hoop wouldn’t be high enough to cause them to jump, it would normally only be high enough from them to make a conscious step over the bottom of it as they pass through.
When your dog passes through the hoop add a verbal command, for instance “Hoop”, “Jump” or “Through” and reward – ideally with a clicker (You might need an extra person to hold the hoop for you) – and offer your dog praise.
After several attempts, once your dog warms up to the idea of walking through it, place your hand on the other side of the hoop and use the command. At this point, you’ve already lead the dog through the hoop slowly, and this time you’ll be encouraging him to hop through it to meet the reward on the other side.
As your dog becomes accustomed to passing through the hoop, you can try and raise it to give your dog more of a jump when he carries out the trick. Eventually, simply placing the hoop in front of him and giving the command should result in the dog jumping through on the verbal cue.