Dog Parkour is
Dog parkour is all about positive experiences while interacting with the nearby environment. In its essence, parkour is using your nearby environment to get from point A to point B in the fastest way possible – meaning that you would need to overcome different obstacles on your way, such as climbing over walls, jumping from one platform to another, and balance on different objects on your way. In dog parkour, we teach our dogs to interact with their environment in a positive and fun way. That could include putting 2 paws on an object, 4 paws on an object, balance on different platforms and narrow beams, or crawling under obstacles. Dog parkour is all about creativity, challenges – but above all – safety!
Why should you train dog parkour?
- You can greatly improve your dog’s general and fine motor skills. This means that your dog will have more control and awareness of its own body and how to use it (Helton, 2007). Often, dogs do not realise that they have a hind body, and they can therefore find it difficult to balance on different objects or walk backwards. Training dog parkour will greatly increase these skills.
- It will improve your dog’s confidence. By asking your dog to perform different known tricks in new ways, or on top of different objects will often at first seem challenging to your dog. When you help your dog to overcome this new challenge, your dog will become proud of itself and trust both itself and you more. By working on your dog’s confidence and self-esteem you also help it to overcome many different kinds of anxiety.
- By having your dog use its muscles in new and different ways, you not only build up more muscle mass and improve mobility, but you also improve your dog’s circulation (blood flow) through the entire body (Heaton et al, 1978).
- When training dog parkour your dog will also experience that being outside does not necessarily mean that you become passive and boring, but you may in fact want to train and play with it. This will help your dog to stop pulling and instead walk nicely on its leash simply because you are more interesting than whatever the dog can see or smell in the distance.
- You greatly improve your mutual relationship and bond by having fun together in new and exciting ways.
- It can be adjusted to suit any age, any size, any breed, and any mobility of a dog. All dogs can therefore benefit from this amazing dog sport!
Where can I train dog parkour with my dog?
Here’s another reason why dog parkour is an amazing sport. Dog parkour can be trained absolutely anywhere! Do you live in a city? -Not a problem. Maybe you live at the countryside? -Great! It is only your own imagination that limits your creativity and training.
In the city you might be able to find playgrounds which can be used for so many different dog parkour games. You can often find steps or benches which can be used for paw targeting (2 paws up, 4 paws up, hind paw targets) or balancing games. You might find poles or trash-bins you can send your dog to go around, etc.
In a forest you have a huge amount of trees, big roots to climb on or under, maybe fallen trees or a few that have been prepared for pick-up and lies neatly stacked. However, be very careful with stacked trunks as they can begin to roll!
At the countryside you might find haystacks or compressed hay bales that you can use for almost anything.
What kinds of things could I do with my dog in this dog sport?
All you have to do is find something that your dog can either crawl under, jump on top of, climb over, walk around, stand up against, or walk through.
Impressive and difficult tricks does not have to be part of the dog parkour training. Being able to perform different easy tricks or basic commands on top of different obstacles can be challenging enough – and it also looks pretty cool!
Simply asking your dog to switch between positions such as sit, down, and stand on a new object can be challenging enough for a beginner. Meanwhile, it is also an amazing way of improving the dog’s body awareness and building healthy muscle mass.
Only your own imagination will limit your creativity and training.
-Anna Louise Kjaer
Dog Parkour, 2019
Are you ready to start your dog parkour journey?
Are you wondering how to get started with dog parkour? Are you in need of some inspiration or actual steps to follow?
Then get a copy of our new dog parkour book! The book has everything you will need to get started on your next dog training and bonding journey!
The dog parkour book contains detailed descriptions of different dog parkour exercises and games for both beginner and advanced dogs, all the safety measures you should familiarise yourself with, a recommended list of equipment or things you might need, and LOTS of inspiration!
If you’re interested in starting training dog parkour with your dog, always consult someone with experience first to make sure that you are aware of all the safety measures you will have to take note of. I recommend taking a few classes in dog parkour to ensure you are training correctly and in a safe environment before trying it out on your own.
Everything you will need to start your dog parkour journey right! Written in a lighthearted manner and with a games-based dog training approach. Detailed descriptions of all the different games in dog parkour for both beginners and advanced dogs and owners as well as an introduction to the world of dog parkour and the titles that your dog can achieve. Simply click on the book or the button below to read more and to get your copy.
Dog Parkour Titles
You can now obtain dog parkour titles with your dog!
4-Paws Canine Academy offer international dog parkour titles which you can obtain no matter where in the world you are from.
Simply click on the button below to read more about how to obtain them and the criteria.
Safety is very important when training dog parkour, and it can quickly become too easy to say ”sure, my dog can get on top of that!” or ”for a dog it is not that far a jump from that box to the other.” In reality, however, there are many factors involved in performing successful jumps – or other activities for that matter. What is the surface like? Has it been raining? What about the lighting? May it be too bright for the dog looking in this direction? May it be too dark?
You have to keep in mind, that a dog’s vision is different from ours. A dog, for instance, has a hard time telling the difference between green and red colours. This is due to their dichromatic vision, where we as humans have a trichromatic vision. This basically means that we can perceive more different colours than dogs can. Colours do not just become black or white for a dog, however, it can become difficult to distinguish between certain colours. If there is then not enough light, it could even just be in the shadows, this distinction becomes much more difficult and a red object can simply disappear in a green background – being it a grass field or in a forest.
A dog will also become tired, or it can slip in the terrain, causing a certain activity to become unsuccessful. Therefore, if you are practising jumps or balancing on something above the ground, you should keep your dog in a well-fitted and comfortable harness so you would be able to catch it. A cheap harness from the local supermarket’s pet section or a dog accessories stand at a pet show might not suffice as the dog needs to be comfortable in hanging with all its weight in this harness. Sharp edges or narrow bands can therefore hurt the dog if it were to fall. These harnesses might be great for your everyday use, but not for dog parkour. When looking for a good dog parkour harness make sure that the harness has wide bands and preferably some kind of padding inside. It should not restrict the dog’s movements in any way either – so the famous Julius K9 harnesses would not be good for dog parkour as they restrict the movement of the dog’s shoulders and legs.
Control and calmness will become your best friends
If you want your dog parkour training session to be as successful as possible and minimise the chance of anything going wrong, you want to have control.
This means, that you should not just let your dog play around on its own on these obstacles. It also means, that is your dog extremely excited and hyperactive in its body movements you should avoid dog parkour until it has calmed down a little. Train something else until your dog is more relaxed.
Treats can both be very helpful – but can also be a hazard!
You need to be sure how your dog reacts when given treats and you need to know how to handle both treats and dog at the same time – remember, you might also be holding a leash with which you should be able to catch your dog in case it loses its balance!
You can use the treats as a reward when your dog has completed an exercise, to motivate it to move during an exercise, or to make your dog relax in a certain position. Do NOT keep the treats in front of the dog’s nose all the time, as this might distract the dog from focusing on how to place its paws.
Are you ready to start your journey?
All the best,
Anna Louise Kjaer,
Dog training instructor,
4-Paws Canine Academy
Heaton, W. H., Marr, K. C., Capurro, N. L., Goldstein, R. E., & Epstein, S. E. (1978). Beneficial effect of physical training on blood flow to myocardium perfused by chronic collaterals in the exercising dog. Circulation, 57(3), 575-581.
Helton, W. S. (2007). Skill in expert dogs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 13(3), 171-178.