We don't have another trial coming for a while, so I figured I'd cover some obstacles in the mean time. The most common or all is the jump. The rule for getting over the jump obstacles is very simple - the dog must jump over it, without knocking any bars down. The bars sit on small ledges and can easily be knocked down with just a slight nudge, so ideally the dog should pass right over the jump without touching the bars at all. If a dog knocks a bar, it will immediately earn an NQ in the run because this is considered a serious fault (failure to perform).
There are many different kinds of jumps, so let's take a look at a single jump for starters:
As you can see, it's simply a horizontal bar that the dog has to jump over. The height of the bar depends on how tall the dog is (see the jump height post for a bit more info). Other than learning to pick up their feet and not knock bars, these jumps are pretty easy and a natural obstacle for most dogs.
Another kind of jump is a panel jump.
This one is very similar to the single jump, but has a solid wall-like panel going from the ground up to the jump bar. The solid wall can be a bit scary for the large breed dogs as they can't see what's on the other side that they will be leaping to. However, with just a bit of practice, most dogs have no problem with this jump. Smaller breed rarely notice any difference at all since their jumps are very low anyway.
For a slight challenge of jumping abilities, there are also double and triple jumps. I don't have a picture of a double handy, but here's a triple.
You can see that it has 3 bars in a row, slightly ascending. The dog had to clear all three bars, which usually requires a longer and curvier move than that for a single jump. The double is similar, except that is has only two bars and they are both at the same height rather than ascending. In USDAA, there is also a spread jump, which is similar to the double, except that the bars are set further apart and require a longer jump. Larger dogs rarely have trouble with these since they tend to have a long stride anyway, but many smaller breeds land too soon, knocking the last bar.
All of the above jumps can come with or without wings on them. Wings are decorative additions on each side of the jump.
They don't make much difference to the dog, but they are harder for handling since the handler can't run right next to the jump, but rather has to get around the wings. Wings come in many shapes and color, but the basic idea is the same for all.
There are two more kinds of jumps - broad and tire. While they still require a dog to jump, they are quite a bit different from these, and have different rules too. I think I'll dedicate another full post to those two next time.