Are you looking for an affordable, fun, and safe activity that can be done with your dog anywhere? Dog parkour is a sport that has a minimal impact and offers a variety of benefits to dogs. These include increased confidence, improved focus, and fitness.
Check with your vet to ensure that it is right for your dog. Get outside and enjoy yourself!
The Basics of Dog Parkour
Dog parkour is similar to traditional dog agility courses. Your dog will be asked to maneuver his body around, over, and under various obstacles and structures.
This low-impact activity relies on man-made and natural obstacles. You can use structures such as fire hydrants and bike racks instead of dog training tunnels and obedience jumps.
Dog parkour, unlike dog agility, is a highly customized, informal activity with a focus on fun. This is a sport that’s not competitive, however, pet owners can send videos of their dog doing parkour to International Dog Parkour Association to receive titles. Each level is different and has increasingly challenging requirements. Daniels says that this requires some practice and training.
Daniels is still involved in dog parkour, even though she does not pursue titles. I enjoy the benefits that parkour brings to my dogs as a way of supplementing their physical and mental preparation for competition. “My dogs and I use parkour nearly every day to cross-train in the structured sport of agility.
You can do this with your dog anywhere, whether it’s in the city or countryside. It’s fun to connect with your dog through parkour and training.
Dog Parkour instills confidence and strengthens the human-canine bond
Biehl says that dogs who take part in parkour gain confidence. They learn to move more efficiently and safely while active, and they create an even stronger bond with their owners. Humans can enjoy the outdoors and gain more knowledge about their dogs’ learning, movement, and reactions to new things or distractions. They can also adjust their activity levels to fit both themselves and their pets.
Biehl says that dog parkour relies on rewards-based training. Dogs love being able jump over and around objects, or go under, through, or underneath them. The game is a great way to get them moving while also allowing them the opportunity to play with and learn from their humans. Humans get to enjoy happy, engaged dogs that are also learning. They can even benefit from a dog who is relaxed and has burned some energy.
The bond between dog owner and pet is also strengthened. We get to discover the world in a fun way. They can run, jump and even crawl underneath things. As I reward and encourage my dogs, I can communicate with them. I am trusted by my dogs! This kind of trust can only be earned. This type of trust cannot be asked for. “It’s part our daily relationship, which is built on the foundation we created,” Daniels says.
What Can You Do With Your Dog?
Experts say you can adapt parkour to suit your skill level. Biehl says that it is possible to start a puppy safely while minimizing physical and mental strain.
Biehl believes that people of any age can parkour their dogs. My 5-year-old has been practicing parkour with our dogs and pretends to perform it too with her stuffed animal. This helps her to explore the environment, allowing her to see things in a new way. She can look at rocks, trees, benches, railroad ties, and many other objects differently. It also brings about creative ideas and keeps her outside.
Dog parkour is beneficial to Biehl’s students, regardless of their age or size. She says that everyone celebrates the success of a dog when it tries something new in a different place, or if they achieve a skill.
What is involved in Parkour Dog Training for Agility?
Daniels says that after determining your dog’s abilities, you should start the parkour training gradually and gently to increase your dog’s self-confidence and level of ability. Make sure that you reward your dog for both success and effort. Everybody likes to be rewarded for their efforts to improve a particular skill. All of this, including praise, cheering and clapping, as well as cookies and playing with your dog, is part of the reward system when training them in parkour.
According to Dr. Abigail Curtis a veterinarian and dog trainer who is also the co-founder IDPKA, it’s not something you have to practice on a specific schedule. You can enjoy practicing every day just as much as once per month. It is often incorporated into daily walks and people find interesting things to discover when walking their dog. Many people go exploring only once per month. “There is no correct or incorrect answer as to the amount of time you should spend training parkour as long as it’s done in a safe manner and with fun.”
Biehl says that you’ll need a leash, a harness, dog treats, and dog toys. There are a few things you will need, including a harness that fits properly, treats for dogs, toys for dogs, and bags to collect dog waste.
For most of the skills that dogs will be learning, they should have a buckle flat collar with no prongs, chokes, shock collars, or head halters. They also need to wear a leash and harness, while a person is spotting them. It is important that if a dog falls or makes a mistake, there will be someone to support it and minimize the risk of an injury.
How to maximize your dog’s safety and well-being
There are a few things that you can do to keep your dog safe. Karin Coyne is a co-founder of IDPKA and a dog trainer. She says, “Check your surfaces always.” Watch out for hot and cold surfaces, slick surfaces, holes where toes could get trapped, or dangerous objects around the obstacle, such as nails or glass.
Puppies and adult dogs shouldn’t jump from surfaces higher than the stopper pad. Coyne says, “Either find another way to get down or assist them.”
Always spot your dog, adds Curtis. She says to always be ready to help your dog in case of need. Dog parkour should be fun, and it builds confidence.
Respecting others is important. Biehl says, “Please do clean up your dog’s mess if it goes to the toilet. Do not parkour over art installations or statues. And please use playgrounds only if children aren’t present and dogs are permitted.”
Strong joints are needed for activities like jumping and climbing. You can ask your veterinarian if special dog diets or joint-supporting supplements like Zesty Paws hip & joint mobility bites and Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength plus MSM, as well as Zesty Paws Joint Mobility Bites, Nutramax Cosequin, maximum strength with MSM, will help improve agility in dogs.
You and your dog can participate in this fun, safe and challenging sport anywhere. IDPKA classes are available if you want to get started. You can do dog parkour by yourself, but you will need some help.