Teaching your dog to jump through a hoop is one of those tricks that's not only fun to teach and show off, but it's also a great trick to make sure that you improve your dog's physical abilities. That is, it's a trick that, in addition to taking him on regular walks on a daily basis, is an important part of your dog's overall health and well-being.
So the way we're going to teach this is, we're going to get ourselves a hula hoop. Ideally, you're looking for a hoop that doesn't have a bead in it because you don't want it to make noise and potentially scare your dog. You're going to start by having the hoop on the ground, regardless of your dog's size, and regardless of your dog's physical ability. Even if your dog is really athletic and jumps really high, you still want to start on the ground to make sure you set them up for success.
What you're going to do is you're going to put it against a wall, and you're going to have yourself on the other side, so your dog doesn't have a lot of options in regards to where to go. All you're going to do is simply have your dog go back and forth through the hoop by taking a little piece of food and tossing it through. When they come back toward you, you're going to show them the food in your hand, and you're going to toss it this way. Be prepared that some dogs may be a little reluctant to go through the hoop. Even though this doesn't look like a scary thing to us, to some dogs it might be scary.
Also remember that some dogs, even though this is just a little tiny lift off of the ground, might not be really coordinated or aware of their feet, and you don't want your dog to potentially catch their foot on the lip part of the hoop because that could scare them. So make sure you toss that treat a good little distance away so they don't stop in the middle and potentially scare themselves. You want a little bit of a hop through, sort of like that. That wasn't too much of a hop through, but that's fine.
The next step is to take the hoop and raise it just a little tiny bit off of the ground, so maybe an inch or two. What you're going to do over the course of three to five minute training sessions, a number of times a day, throughout a week or so, is you're going to gradually raise that hoop just a little bit higher and higher. Again, regardless of your dog's physical ability, don't rush it. This isn't about trying to get your dog to jump through a hoop that's raised way off the ground, although that could be an ultimate goal if your dog is physically fit and enjoys that trick, and you do it on a safe surface.
This is really about having your dog really enjoy and feel comfortable and trusting when they do this trick. So lots of repetition, raising it just a little higher and higher, until eventually you're going to take the hoop away from the wall, and you're going to have your dog jump through it without having one side blocked.
The next step, after repeating this a number of times, is that you are going to see if you can get your dog, when completely away from the wall and without you blocking the hoop either, to see if you can get your dog to jump through it freely. Jump. Yes. Good girl! I gave her a little jackpot there, that is, I gave her three or four tiny, tiny little treats, because I wanted to let her know that she completed the full behavior, and that I really love that she did it. Nora, you ready? Jump. Good girl! Make sure, also, that you keep these sessions short because you want to make sure you're not pushing your dog physically too much or mentally too much. Jump. Good girl! That's it. Easy-peasy!
That is how you teach your dog to jump through a hoop.