Humans are not the only creatures who love to play with a hoop. Dogs do too. You can use hula hoops to enhance your dog training and create fun activities for you and your canine friend to enjoy. Bernadette Smith, Managing director of In2Hula (pictured right), was recently treated to an engaging demonstration of this by Phillippa Jacobs, from Pinnacle & Co, who trained her gorgeous pup Coco to jump through a hoop. Read on for how to train your dog to jump through a hoop in 3 easy steps.
Step 1. Introduce the Hoop
A plastic hoop can look pretty unusual to a dog and they may be a little shy or aggressive towards it. Leave it on the floor for a few days for the dog to sniff and get used to. Once your dog is used to the hoop start picking it up and playing around with it yourself to stimulate curiosity in your canine pal.
Step 2. Move through the Hoop
Use treats to encourage your dog to come and check out the hoop on the ground. Use lots of praise when he comes near the hoop. Next, lift up the hoop so it is vertical with the ground with your dog facing the ‘opening’. Have the bottom of the hoop resting on the ground. Hold a treat out on the other side of the opening of the hoop and encourage your dog to walk through the hoop to get the treat. Use the word ‘jump’ as the instruction even though the dog is not jumping yet. Repeat this trick getting the dog to walk through the hoop from both the left and the right and in different locations.
Step 3. Add Height
When your dog is totally comfortable walking through the hoop, lift the hoop off the ground about 2-3cm (an inch) and use a treat to encourage your canine friend to jump through the hoop. Remember to use lots of praise when they make progress. Once your dog becomes familiar with jumping through the hoop you can hold the hoop gradually higher making sure the height is appropriate for the size and physical condition of your dog.
Enjoy engaging your dog in hoop play.