Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Teacher's Pet - Parkour for Dogs

Parkour for dogs? Yes, it’s a thing! 

In human parkour, athletes run, climb, jump, swing and roll, using the features of the environment to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. While parkour for dogs is not exactly the same, it shares the idea of looking at the things in your environment differently and having your dog interact with them in new ways.

There are several organizations that offer guidelines and titles in this new dog sport, such as the International Dog Parkour Association and All Dogs Parkour . You can find lists of different ways you can train your dog to interact with obstacles (and obstacles can be anything you can find in the space you’re working in), as well as safety guidelines. For example, dogs must be wearing a harness with leash attached when performing skills where they could potentially fall off an obstacle. There are also modifications to many exercises for senior dogs or dogs with physical challenges, so any dog can participate.

Parkour can be a great way to make walks and hikes more interesting for you and your dog, and it can also help build confidence. If your dog is nervous about certain things, teaching your dog to interact with things in the environment can help them associate possibly scary things with a chance to earn some yummy treats instead.

And even when you can’t get outside, working on parkour skills indoors with household items is a great place to start. You can work on teaching your dog fundamental skills, like put two paws up on something. Practice this inside on chairs, footstools, etc. Then when better weather hits, take it outside and ask for two paws up on a tree stump, a bench or a fire hydrant. Here are some examples of Level 1 All Dogs Parkour entries:

Pepper, showing off her skills!

Payton's turn! 

If this interests you, visit the websites of the organizations previously listed, or contact us for tips on how to train fun tricks such as these! We're always happy to hear from you. Happy training!