Parkour for Dogs!
by Tamsin Durston // August 2017
Parkour for Dogs!
Here at Dog School we believe ‘Walkies’ should be an opportunity for interaction between you and your dog that’s fun and helps to reinforce your relationship as one of trust and shared activity – and happiness! Parkour is a way of connecting with the environment through encouraging your dog to explore, investigate and engage with you while doing so – a fantastic way to enhance your training and relationship.
So what is Parkour all about?
In the human world parkour – which you might have heard referred to as ‘free-running’ – is moving through whatever terrain you find yourself in using the body and brain, through jumping and climbing using balance, skill, agility, athleticism, strength, suppleness and co-ordination.
Parkour will give your dog much more of a physical and mental workout than a ‘normal walk along the street’ which is really beneficial if you’re walking him in your lunchbreak or don’t have as much time as usual to take him out! Sounds exhausting right? Perfect for walkies then – especially for urban dogs living in the city!
In the city this means that the space you usually walk your dog in is opened up to many more possibilities for fun and activity in a 3-dimensional way rather than just simply walking along the ground! And this isn’t just a game for the park – think about all the street furniture you can ask your dog to manoeuver himself around and negotiate by jumping on, going under, over and through, or balancing and posing upon! You can join in too – if you fancy it – maybe your dog will follow your lead!
How to play Parkour with your dog
Simply look at the environment you are walking your dog through and get creative! Think about whether there is anything you could ask him to place his paws up onto and pose (it’s great for Instagram pic posing!!), jump onto and off again, climb upon, crawl beneath, walk through, balance on….. the possibilities are endless!
Go at your dog’s pace – you’ll need to make sure you have some tasty treats or a favourite toy ready to reward your dog’s confidence and movement. You can lure him into position with a tasty treat – balancing with his front paws up on a tree stump for example – and give him the treat when he’s in position. If he’s a little unsure then reward him for small steps towards your finished aim for him… so it might be that at first he will only run around the tree stump rather than step up onto it, so reward that instead! Let him grow in confidence at his own pace!
Make sure that whatever you are asking your dog to interact with is sturdy and not going to move and risk causing an injury before you start.
Don’t encourage him to jump too high or climb too high – we don’t want our dogs to suddenly become overwhelmed and panic! And we don’t want them to land with heavy impact and risk injury – this should be easy and fun for them!
PLEASE SHARE your pics and clips of your dogs turning their paw to parkour on your walks
- you can tweet us @dogschoollondon or Instagram us #dogschoollondon