Dog Agility Jumps Forward and Backside Jumps

Leading Backside and Forward Side Jumps in 
Dog Agility 

Here you learn some important techniques for correctly leading both forward and backside jumps.  

In AKC you will encounter backside jumps only in the Premier Class or in National Trials. But Backside jumps are common at Crufts and at various European dog agility trials.
Using your Toes, Chest, Feet, and Voice.

The best way to lead a backside jump is to get ahead of your dog and point your toes, chest, and feet and hand toward the intended line for the dog. A verbal cue can also be helpful. 

Think of your toes, chest, feet and hand pointing so that an invisible line is formed by them.

Look at image here of Phil and Momo approaching a backside jump.  Green line shows the intended path for Momo.
What looks good? What could be improved?


1. The good: Phil's chest and toes are pointed toward the left wing, which is good. He is also looking toward the intended line, while still able to see Momo with peripheral vision. Phil is also giving Momo a verbal cue of "La la" which means "take the backside of this jump."   (It could be anything, but Phil has trained Momo to respond to this word -- the same word used by Susan Garrett.)

2. Target for Improvement: Phil would do better to extend his left hand using an open hand pointing in the direction of the backside jump.  Some trainers caution against using a pointing finger, saying that an open hand is easier for a dog to see.
Momo's Backside Jump Continued

When your dog commits to a backside jump, it is good to start moving to the next obstacle, while cuing the jump with your opposite arm.  For example, Phil should have first cued the jump with this left arm. Then here he should be switching to the opposite arm 

What if, anything is wrong?
dog agility backside jump


Nothing wrong here.  Phil is leading Momo to take the jump from the backside. Momo has already committed to the jump, but with the "opposite arm" -- the non-dog side arm -- helps to confirm to Momo that she should take the jump.  Since Momo is already committed to the backside jump,  Phil is starting to also cue the next obstacle since his feet are pointed now toward the right wing. 

Momo's Backside Jump Continued

Here is Momo finishing the backside jump. Notice how she make a sharp turn to the left, diving and landing front paws first. 

Below is a video showing Momo doing a practice run, which includes the backside jump illustrated above.

Practice at Freilance Dog Agility

The video of Momo illustrates the backside jump toward the end.  But also look for:

Step and Go  (Step toward tunnel & run to next obstacle)

Trust dog when doing a Blind Cross

Forward Side Jump

The same rules apply when you want your dog to do a forward side jump.  That is, when you want him/her to jump head on as he/she approaches it directly  But, of course, your chest, hand, toes need to point over the jump.

Here's a cartoon image based on an actual trial. The handler wants to send the dog straight over the jump as shown by the dotted line. What, if anything is wrong?


Although the handler wanted a forward side jump, the handler's chest and toes were pointed toward the left wing -- the handler's leg was also blocking the dog from running forward -- so the dog dutifully followed this directive and ran confidentially for the backside.  Too bad. This ruined an otherwise very good run.

NOTE: if the handler intended a Reverse-V-SET, the handler should have been closer to the jump and should haved looked toward the take off point, not toward the left wing.
In this next Progress Check, the dog has just come off the teeter and the handler is intending to lead a backside jump.

What if anything is wrong?  (Checkout the handlers hand, toes, chest and look.

This cartoon is based on a championship run at Crufts (where dog agility started in 1987) and we find nothing wrong at all.  The handler is ahead of the dog and everything is in order. Handler's Chest, dog side arm, eyes, and toes are all pointing toward the intended line to the backside.

Dog Training Psychology -- here's to more fun with your pooch!

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