Jumping hurdles while navigating an obstacle course is a skill dogs must possess to compete in the sport of agility. Fortunately, hurdle-jumping is one of the easier, more natural skills for your dog to learn, whether he's an agility dog or you're just looking to have some fun.
Set up hurdles by spacing two cans of the same size 3 to 4 feet apart. Start off with cans that are very low to the ground -- a couple of inches at most -- so your dog can step over them easily.
Set the dowel rod, or bar, across the cans. Always make sure it can be knocked off easily; never secure the bar to the top of the cans.
Lead your dog to the hurdle using a small treat, or kibble, keeping your hand down level with his dog's nose. Be sure to keep the treat or kibble close to his nose so he follows the scent.
Continue moving your hand over the hurdle, using a special command of "jump" or "up" as you encourage your dog to jump or walk over the bar.
Give lots of praise once he has cleared the hurdle, whether or not he jumps or walks over, and immediately give him the treat. Try the jump again. As he masters the jump, increase the height of the hurdle in gradual increments using larger sized cans, until he can jump a height appropriate for him.