Hit The Ground Running!

Hit the Ground Running! (HGR) is a new approach to jump-retraining, co-founded and co-developed by Devorah Sperber (USA) and Dawn Weaver (UK). This page tells you all about what jumping issues might look like, why they can occur and how Hit The Ground Running! is able to help you and your dog. It is much, much more than a course about jumping grids. If after reading you still have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Dawn at dawnweaver2@gmail.com

How do I know if my dog has jumping issues?

  • Does your dog over-jump or take off too early for jumps?

  • Does your dog’s jumping arc tend to fall off before clearing jumps?

  • Does your dog add extra strides, stutter-step or hesitate before jumping, or just lack confidence?

  • Does your dog run slower on Jumpers courses (which have more jumps) than when jumping on Standard courses?

  • Does your dog frequently knock bars?

  • Have you retired your dog early due to jumping issues?

NB: Some jumping issues can be difficult to spot. It wasn't until Dawn watched her Papillon Puzzle in slow motion that she realised just how early he was taking off.

Image Copyright of Canistyl.fr

What are the main goals of HGR?

To help dogs develop efficient ways of jumping that are appropriate for their structures so they can approach the jumping challenges they face when running agility courses with full confidence and speed.

To help handlers become 'jumping experts' for their particular dogs so that they can continue to modify and play jumping games after completing HGR.

To help handlers make the best handling choices to support their dogs in feeling confident and secure about jumping so that they can "Hit the Ground Running!"

What's involved with HGR?

HGR works like an online classroom - you watch video examples of Dawn and Devorah's own dogs completing the activities. You then try them with your own dog and video some examples to post in the online classroom so that they can offer feedback and suggest your dog's next steps. 

The purpose of some of the games is to erase old patterns of behaviour your dog may have developed in relation to jumping. Other games were developed to build new patterns of behaviour so your dog can experience a fresh approach to jumping so they can hit the ground running fast.

HGR encourages each dog to jump in a style that is appropriate for his/her particular structure so that they can meet jumping challenges with confidence and ease. In addition, the games teach handlers to SEE what is really going on when their dogs are running and jumping so they can maintain their dogs’ confidence about jumping throughout their agility career.

The complete HGR course is divided into modules so teams can progress at their own pace and pay as they go. Each module consists of a series of fun games to play with your dog. The early games (Modules 1 & 2) are played away from actual jumps. These games were developed to help dogs see where obstacles/props are in space, in relation to themselves, when running fast, with their handler running alongside, ahead, and behind them. These can mostly be played in a backyard or garden with minimal props. By the time the games begin to include actual jumps (Module 3), dogs are able to approach the challenges with more confidence and ease. The modules must be purchased and completed in order.  


Participants begin by filling out a questionnaire and uploading a video link so we can understand the unique jumping challenges each dog is facing.

What are the causes of jumping issues and can HGR help to remedy them?

The prevalence of jumping issues is perhaps somewhat explained by the multitude of reasons that they might emerge in the first place. The way in which HGR can work to help your dog depends on the nature of their jumping issues. Please click here for more information about the different suggest causes and how HGR specifically tackles these head-on. 

HGR can make a huge difference to a dog’s confidence and happiness on the agility course. Jaz the Border Collie could not even jump confidently at medium height before doing HGR. She would stutter step before every jump and sometimes go round the jumps to avoid having to jump them. HGR helped hugely to improve her relationship with the jumps and she was able to begin competing happily at standard height, as can be seen here.

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Great...So how do I get involved?


Visit the 'Other Online Courses' page under the 'Shop' tab to purchase Module 1. HGR is currently being offered at a per module price of £30 (approx $50). Exact £ to $ depends on the exchange rate at the time.