Health & Fitness
Healthy, yes. We don't want to spread disease and we don't want to work dogs who aren't well. Also bitches in season and unvaccinated dogs can't come to class.
But they don't HAVE to be athletes. Parkour is a great way to help get him into shape or to assist in a weight loss programme.
And we're delighted to welcome disabled dogs and to work with their abilities.
If you're at all unsure about any of his physical needs, please speak to your vet.
Parkour IS agility - urban agility. But you're right, it's not usually as fast and furious as the competitive agility we're used to seeing.
Agility dogs really ought to be very fit before they start if they're to avoid injury. We love agility! But only when it's done properly. An agility dog needs to have a fitness programme in place over and above the work he does in the ring. He needs body awareness, strength, cardio all of that, similar to the work human athletes do to prepare for performance.
So... as parkour exercises tick a lot of the boxes for agility prep, parkour is a great way to help prepare your dog for the agility ring.
And... fitness work away from actual parkour will help him with his actual parkour. Fitter stronger dogs can work a greater range of obstacles and at a greater range of speeds.
AGE & SIZE
Any age, yes, really.
Even puppies under 8 weeks of age benefit from gently challenging environments such as novel surfaces to walk on, learning to pay attention to a task and pay attention to a handler.
The control we give to parkour pups benefits their general training and safety, they will learn to wait for permission from you before performing any parkour task, they will learn to use their body and brain. Particularly good for temperaments at either end of the scale, building confidence in shier pups, thoughtfulness in bolder pups.
But they can start class as soon as their vet considers their vaccination programme to be complete, your vet will be able to advise. We stick to the IPDKA's rules on working pups under 18 months.
Any age, yes, really!
If you have a more mature dog, as long as he's healthy he can do parkour. Veteran dogs can learn new stuff and it's really good for their body and mind to do so. Best advice would be for you to find out more about parkour, maybe visit class a couple of times without him, search the internet, and once you've a good idea of the kind of things we do in parkour, speak to your vet for advice and we'll work with whatever your vet advises.
Great! That will get us to put our thinking hats on about suitable obstacles and exercises for him.
Challenges for tiny dogs include:
Finding a suitable parkour harness
Finding "under" obstacles
Challenges for huge dogs include:
"Spotting" the heavier dog
Finding "in" obstacles
No need for expensive training equipment, most of the time all you'll need is a leash about 4-6 feet long clipped to a harness, approximately between his shoulder blades. The Web Course has a full list of suggested kit and we'll always be happy to discuss equipment at class or online. We're very happy to advise on harnesses even before you come to class, please contact if you'd like to discuss.
And once you have a suitable harness and lead, you'll be wanting to look for obstacles to work. Best news ever, for dog parkour, the world is is your equipment, and your imagination is your equipment shop. There's interesting obstacles EVERYWHERE.
Oh, and we mustn't forget, Positively Pets has a blanket ban on severely aversive equipment such as electric shock collars, prong collars, choke chains except in the most serious of situations which we can't see ever occurring alongside parkour training. And generally advises against milder aversions such as rattle cans, smacking dogs, water spraying.
Anyone bringing their dog to a Positively Pets Class needs to feel safe in the environment so we cannot accept dogs who may display aggression to people or other dogs.
Also, bringing dogs who aren't happy in company to class really doesn't help them, and can make such problems worse. And that's the last thing we want for your dog.
So, we're going to say no to class unless your dog is happy among others.
Saying that, no dog is perfect, and just because he barked at a dog one time a month ago, doesn't mean to say he's lost forever! Please do contact if you think this may be your dog.
Also, adolescent dogs (between about 5 and 12 months of age) do tend to be more reactive and challenging to handle but they may still be fine in class. Again, if you're not sure contact.
We will recommend you see a qualified behaviourist if your dog has social issues and if the behaviourist puts together a programme and is happy for your reactive dog to come to class, we'll asses the dog from our point of view and see how it goes.
We can do parkour home visits/training walks for dogs who aren't happy in class. Just go make a booking and let us know the issues and if we feel we can't help, we'll refund any money and refer you to someone who can.
Parkour can be done on-leash and is a fantastic way for owners to get more control of their dog. So, yes, yes please do work parkour with your reactive dog.
You may want to start at Positively Pets classes before or overlapping dedicated training class with your parkour training.
But even if that idea doesn't work for you, parkour IS training, and will help a lot with impulse control, stay behaviour, even loose leash walking.
What we're not saying is that parkour class replaces all-round training, it doesn't, and gold standard would be to do both at the same time. Silver standard - train first then do parkour. Bronze standard parkour only. But always, always the most important thing is to train the dog in the first place, so if you have training challenges and all you can do is parkour, do parkour.
Gold = training class & parkour class
Silver = training class then parkour class
Bronze = parkour class only
Yes and no.
Yes, dog Parkour IS agility - urban agility.
The agility we're used to seeing - competition agility - uses very specific equipment and the goal is to get the course done in the fastest possible time. And yes, it's massive fun. Both Jenny and Mary (and several students of Positively Pets) have done a lot of agility over the years to the point of addiction!
Pros of Competition Agility
- It's fast and fast is really fun.
- The equipment is cool.
- The competitive element is very motivational for some people and anyone who does get to the point of entering agility shows usually really, really loves it and it can become an all-consuming hobby.
Cons of Competition Agility
- Some people don't like the competitive element.
- You really need proper venue with safe flooring and plenty of space, and proper (and expensive!) equipment to do agility safely which means it's difficult to get good practice in at home.
- Some dogs/people just don't do fast which means their training can stall very early in their agility career.
Pros of Parkour
- Designed for the pet owner, doesn't goal for fast, or competitive, or need special equipment.
- A lot of the work we do in parkour supports building the skills we need for agility.
Cons of Parkour
- It's a relatively new sport so there isn't the huge community or public awareness that's there for competition agility.
- Some people find competition very motivational so competition agility may be better for them.
In conclusion, competition agility and dog parkour are not mutually exclusive. If you're keen and have the time, go for it! Do both.
Both Jenny and Mary have competed to a high level in agility and have studied with top international handlers such as Greg Derrett</a> and Anthony Clarke. We really don't want to do anything to spoil your agility training! We want our parkour to help and support dogs who have an agility career.
So, we work hard to ensure dogs don't learn to back jump, miss contacts, turn wide etc.
Agility exercises that can be significantly improved through parkour include: start line waits, rear end awareness, appropriate engagement with obstacles.
Oh, and anything you don't want to do or exercises you'd like to work differently to our suggestions because you're worried about their impact on your agility training, just speak up! As long as we're working to keep things as safe as we can, we welcome such creativity.
Well, nobody HAS to do anything, but we're sure you and your dog will want to:
Find obstacles to work in the real world - that's kinda the point of the whole thing!
Find obstacles to work in the house and garden
Set up a fitness programme
Practice your "floor work", eg sits/downs/stands/stops/heels/turns...
Well, nobody HAS to do anything, but the more you study and engage, the more you and your dog will get out of parkour.
Study? The Web Course which comes along with your class booking contains lots of resources to help you, both written by our team and gathered from external sources. Dog Parkour is massive fun, but it is also real dog training and human learning. It wouldn't be as worthwhile if it wasn't.
Engage? We have Q&A as part of your Parkour Web Course both on this site and on Facebook. There are also two reputable Canine Parkour Facebook Groups we'd suggest you join to share with the wider parkour training community. We find the students who help themselves and help others by sharing their stuff are the ones who get most out of all Positively Pets courses.