One of the most basic dog agility training equipment obstacles is the single bar jump. At its simplest it is comprised of two upright poles that support a moveable crossbar. For safety the bar sits on two jump cups that allow the bar to be displaced easily if the dog hits it.
Governing bodies that sanction dog agility events have specific requirements for competition dog agility equipment.
For example, according to AKC regulations:
Bar Jumps consist of bars that are supported by bar supports that are mounted to uprights. The supports must be positioned so that the tops of the bars can be set within 1⁄4 inch of the seven different jump heights (4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 26 inches). Jump heights must be designated on the uprights by number or color coded. An additional position for a bar placed 2 to 6 inches above the ground is also required. Unless a jump is specified as a One Bar Jump by the judge, all jumps shall have at least two bars. In the Novice classes, the lower bar shall be placed at about half the height of the top bar. In all other classes lower bar placement shall be determined by the judge.
The bars must be either cylindrical with 1 1⁄4 to 1 3⁄4 inch diameters, or square with 1 1⁄4 to 1 3⁄4 inch sides. Constructed from wood or plastic, they must be 4 to 5 feet long and striped for visibility. (Bars cut from PVC shall be Schedule 40 or Furniture Grade PVC.) The bottom of the bar sits on top of the bar supports such that the bar is easily displaced. If bar supports are spaced every 2 inches there must be adequate space for a bar to displace. If rectangular bars are used, the top of the support must be flat and no wider than the bar it is supporting. If cylindrical bars are used, the supports may be no wider than the bar, and they should have a lip that is no more than 1/8 inch higher than the support, although lips up to 1/4 inch are allowed. Bolts may not be used as bar supports. Bars “held” in place by Velcro™, magnets, bolts, etc., are not allowed. The inside of the uprights must be at least 32 inches tall, and the upright must be 1 to 36 inches wide. (An inside height of 42 inches and a minimum width of 3 1⁄ 2 inches are recommended for visibility. Widths of 24 inches are recommended to facilitate handler movement on the course.)
Variation on the basic dog agility equipment bar jump are double jumps, triple jumps and wing jumps which usually feature lattice or other ornamentation on either side of the jump.
The bar jump is one of the most popular items of starter dog agility equipment for backyard use. If you are looking for n dog agility jump for your backyard or club Affordable Agility offers several models. They have single, double and triple jumps available in a lower cost version for home use as well as competition versions. > More info
You'll have to take it easy with younger dogs and puppies. Their bones are still developing and their growth plates still haven't closed completely. When starting keep the bar on the ground or very low.
Let your dog get used to the bar. Let them check it out then entice them over the bar with a treat. Slowly raise the bar until they get the idea of going over the bar.
If your dog is old enough to start jumping you can keep raising the bar until you reach their regulation jump height.
You can tell if you are raising the bar too quickly if your dog keeps knocking down the bar. Just back off a bit and give them time to adjust. As their jumping skills improve you can raise the bar a bit again later.
When training your dog on the agility bar jump (or any other dog agility equipment) it is important to be consistent with the command you use. Common ones are Jump, Over, Up and Hup. Pick a word and stick with it so you and your Aussie don't get confused later in the heat of competition.