Commands that will let you tell your dog to “Jump On” or “Off” any object you designate are useful and back-saving commands. The “Jump On” command will enable you to place your dog wherever you wish without lifting, tugging, pushing, pulling, or cajoling. Combined with the opposite command of “Off”, you will have the resources to position your dog on any available surface, and get them off it, with only a word or two.
Command 14a and 14b - “Jump On” and “Off”
“Jump On” means that your dog should leap onto an object with all four feet, such as a grooming box, a piece of furniture, or some other flat surface. A backless park bench will also work.
“Off” means that your dog must put his four feet back on the floor (and not on an object or a person).
Step 1: Prepare for training the “Jump On” and “Off” commands by having available a sturdy, steady item for your dog to jump on to. It should be large enough for him to be able to stand, sit, and lay down on. If you have one, a grooming box is ideal and makes grooming a pleasant and comfortable activity for both you and your dog. Or you can use another flat surface in your home for this purpose.
Step 2a: With the grooming box or other furniture in place, your dog on a leash, and treats at the ready, walk your dog toward the box. As you approach, tell him, “Junior, Jump On.” You can tap the top of the box to direct his attention where you want him to go or lure him with a bit of a treat. Be patient and remember to encourage him with “That’s It! Jump On!” for making an effort and trying to do as you ask.
Step 2b: Once he does jump on, praise with, “Yes! Good Jump On!” and give him a treat. Remind him to “Stay” if he tries to hop off. While he is up there, make it a happy time. Smile, pet him, brush him gently, and feed him a treat or two. You want him to enjoy going where you ask.
Step 3: After a few minutes on the surface, you can tell him, “Junior Off.” Be sure he does not hop off before you fully give the command. If he starts to move off prematurely, you can say “No. Stay,” and then wait a few seconds before calmly giving the “Off” command again. As you say “Off,” you can look in the direction you would like him to go and/or point with a sweeping motion of your arm toward the floor to get him moving in the right direction. As he hops off smile, treat, and praise, “Yes! Good Off Junior!”
Step 4a: You can reinforce the ‘”Jump On” and “Off” commands by approaching from different directions and moving the box to a different location (different rooms, inside/outside, etc.). Once your dog has a good idea of the “Jump On” and “Off” commands using the first surface or piece of furniture, try using different objects to jump on and off of. Things such as beds and other furniture, large flat rocks, low walls or walkways – all can be used to practice the "Jump On" and "Off" commands in fun and inventive ways that will help keep your dog interested and willing to try whatever you ask.
Step 4b: As you change “Jump On” scenarios, remember to stay patient and encouraging by using, “That’s It! Jump On,” as your dog works through the process in different situations. Make jumping on and off a fun activity and soon he will be hopping up on whatever you choose and just as happily hopping off at your slightest command.
Whether it’s a quick snuggle on the bed before sleep or a pleasant grooming session, the “Jump On” command, and its partner command, “Off,” can be used to maneuver your dog wherever you wish, no matter what size he is – and surely your back will thank you!
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All training tips in this series are from ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities), a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs for veterans with disabilities. Learn more about ECAD.
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