"Dog parkour ticks all my boxes for a dog sport. There's a strong training element, it's accessible to most all dogs and owners - it's very "pet friendly". It's like agility but you can do it in your normal environment, no need for expensive equipment and speed is optional. It's not competitive but it does have challenging goals. I've been looking for something like this for as long as I can remember and I've found it and I'm happy now." Jenny Adams
History of Parkour
Human parkour came first.
Extract from The International Dog Parkour Association Website
"Parkour is a physical discipline in which individuals move through their environment and conquer obstacles in their path. It includes climbing, balancing, jumping, running, vaulting, creativity and working past fear."
Extract from Wikipedia
"Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement (crawling) and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation."
Canine Parkour, while based on the human variety, is a team effort. The dog can't do it on his own, he needs to work with his human partner.
Extracts from The International Dog Parkour Association Website:
Parkour is a physical discipline in which individuals move through their environment and conquer obstacles in their path. It includes climbing, balancing, jumping, running, vaulting, creativity and working past fear. So what is dog parkour? Dog parkour, sometimes known as urban agility, is an activity based on the same principles. It is a challenging, but fun, physical activity in which the dogs learn to interact with their environment. Just like in the human version, in dog parkour we work on ways to conquer obstacles, such as climbing, balancing, and jumping. Dog Parkour is a non competitive event, but it is a titling event.
Dog parkour (urban agility) combines elements of human parkour and dog agility to create an accessible activity for dogs and humans alike. Dogs get introduced to the world of jumping, climbing, balancing over, crawling under, and going around different obstacles in their everyday world. Parkour can be done anywhere and is limited only by one’s imagination. Dog Parkour helps with confidence and overcoming fears, and it is a low impact but challenging activity for any canine athlete.
What can dog parkour do for dogs?
"Dog parkour ticks all my boxes for a dog sport... " Jenny Adams
Some Boxes Ticked by Parkour
In two ways.
Gives him something to do in situations that might worry him. For example, if he's afraid of traffic, working parkour exercises as part of his car-rehab programme will give him positive memories in the presence of engines.
Teaches him to deal with manageable challenge. For example, learning to balance on a narrow plank even though it's a little bit scary the first few times will help his ability to face up to all sorts of other challenges that life may throw at him.
Dog parkour is dog training!
He's not just learning to fly about onto rocks and planks and stuff willy nilly, he's learning to sit still on his objects, to wait until he's told to work his object, to recall away from his object...
We teach him to pay attention to you and to pay attention to the job in hand. So, lots of work on his ability to focus, concentrate and listen.
Every time we build a new set of skills with our dog we're learning how he ticks. There's nothing like working on a proper dog hobby/sport for tightening the bond between handler and dog.
You'll be amazed how a simple tree stump can turn into a source of joy for him. Honest!
Working out what you can do with obstacles from his normal environment or having a bit of fun cobbling together your own obstacles in the back garden.
All dogs deserve a hobby, something they can get good at, something that they can get good at that doesn't drive us nuts.
He'll learn a lot of impulse control, to wait patiently before performing his manoeuvres on his obstacles. Dog parkour IS dog training!
Parkour can be his "doggy gym", but to help him work his obstacles a regular fitness programme is the way to go. His programme could include, for example, long leash walks, playing about with his pals, swimming, fast recalls.
It's amazing how good dogs can be at putting their bodies in the right spot to do a task, even without hands. Just imagine how difficult we'd find to catch a ball in our mouths in mid air.
Parkour will teach him to place himself in the right spot at the right speed, and can be particularly beneficial for dogs who charge about bashing into thing like bulls in china shops!
And yes, there's rules! But don't be afraid.
Working within rules, like playing chess or football, makes the game. The rules are there to give us targets, to help us work our dogs creatively and safely.
Dog parkour is non-competitive, but the IDPKA offers titles for those who want that sense of achievement and challenging goals to work towards.
Positively Pets does Canine Parkour, 2019.
And now let's talk about classes and such.
Classes start with a WARM UP of floor exercises to:
Warm him up physically and mentally.
Increase control. If he'll work around obstacles, he's learning not to take an obstacle unless we want him to.
Then we do DRILLS
Working one or two behaviours on a single obstacle. This is where we teach him to handle obstacles calmly and with confidence, building beautiful behaviours bit by bit.
Then we do SEQUENCES OR CREATIVITY
Sequence: working three or more obstacles in a row
Creativity: working three or more behaviours on a single obstacle
Definitions of parkour behaviours.
Demonstrations of parkour behaviours.
Obstacles and how to find them and how to decide what to do with them.
Spotting and safety.
How to teach with clarity.
How to teach with flow.
Handler positioning, signals, verbal commands.
Shares and Q&A.
Preparing for class and reviewing previous classes.