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It’s time to jump for joy! With this fun trick, your dog will be jumping straight up in the air on cue. It’s not just a fun way to impress your friends—it also makes for great social media posts and is a high-energy and fun skill to incorporate into Trick Dog or freestyle routines.

Safety Considerations

Before attempting this trick, it’s important to note that it’s a higher-impact activity, so you’ll need to consider if it’s appropriate for your dog. Don’t teach it to young puppies—wait until your dog is fully grown—and think carefully before teaching it to senior dogs. If you aren’t certain about if it is safe for your dog to learn higher-impact jumping tricks, check in with your vet before starting.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what to make sure you have on hand before getting started.

Treats: Choose small treats that your dog gets excited about.

Space: You’ll want to work on this trick in an area where your dog can comfortably move around. Keep it to flooring or ground surfaces with good traction, such as carpeting, matting, or grass. Avoid teaching or practicing this trick on any hard or slippery floor like concrete, hardwood floors, or tile.

Start with Targeting

The first step in teaching your dog to jump for joy is hand targeting, meaning they will touch their nose to your hand on cue. If your dog doesn’t already know how to hand target, here’s how to teach this foundation skill.

Step 1: Start by holding your empty hand palm out in front of your dog

Step 2: When your dog sniffs at your hand, praise and treat them. At this stage, we want to reward and encourage any interest/involvement with your hand.

Step 3: Repeat several times and give your dog a treat and praise anytime they sniff at your hand. At first, your dog will likely be very gentle, but as they become more confident with the game, they’ll start pushing against your hand more intentionally with their nose.

Step 4: At this point, you can start to add your verbal cue of choice—like touch, hit, or target—when you hold your hand out.

Step 5: Once your dog is consistently and confidently targeting your hand, you’ll want to start moving your hand around lower, higher, and side to side. The idea is for your dog to understand that a component of this skill is to orient themself to where your hand is as they target.

Akita playing on the beach.

Teaching Your Dog to Bounce

Now it’s time to get jumping. For this trick, you’ll be building on your dog’s understanding of hand targeting to initially get the jumping behavior on cue.

Step 1: Do a couple of hand targets in different positions to remind your dog about this skill, praising and treating after each hand target.

Step 2: Start working on hand targets just slightly above your dog’s head so that they need to reach up to get to your hand.

Step 3: Continue to raise your hand slightly higher with each repetition so your dog goes from stretching up to slightly hopping with their front feet off the ground. When your dog reaches your hand, give them lots of praise and treats. It’s important to go slowly so that your dog is confident that you want them to pop up to reach your hand.

Step 4: When your dog is confidently hand targeting at the height where they are jumping off the ground you can start to incorporate a new verbal cue for the jumping behavior (like bounce, jump, up, etc.).

Step 5: Now it’s time to phase out that hand target so that you can cue your dog to jump at a distance. To start doing this, hold your hand out and cue your dog to jump. As their feet leave the ground, you can move your hand out of the way so they are jumping without the hand target—be sure to praise and treat them when they do.

Step 6: As your dog becomes more confident with the skill, you can start to phase out the initial physical cue.

Remember this is a higher-impact trick and it’s more physically exhausting than other tricks. Be cautious and thoughtful about how many repetitions you do during each practice session.

Related article: Fun, Cognitive Training Games to Make Your Dog Smarter
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