For most dog owners, a walk in the park is all that they want with their dog. But there are some pet parents that want something more. And there is a good reason to try some dog parkour.
With proper dog training and dog parkour exercises, you can make your dog focus on you during walks.
How is that? Well, you give your dog a reason to focus on you. You turn the walk into a game both you and your puppy can enjoy.
There are so many exciting things you can do. Today, we will talk about some basic exercises that beginners can try. As you and your puppy get better, move to more challenging tricks. It is great confidence building and games based dog training. Ready to try it?
What is Dog Parkour?
Simply put, dog parkour is an activity that turns your surrounding into a playground. Same as with human parkour. But there is one huge difference. While human parkour is about daredevil tricks. Canine parkour is about creative interaction with everyday objects. It turns them into environmental features that your dog can use to crawl under, squeeze between, or jump on.
Do you see that boring old tree stump? Well, now it is something your dog to hop up on it and do a trick. A fire hydrant? Well, turn it into an object to circle around. And that park bench you pass on is a great idea for teaching your puppy to duck under an object and crawl.
Practicing simple dog parkour exercises will remind your dog how fun it is to interact with you, and the environment, and be a more mannered pup. Bonus points, your dog will listen to you more and pull less.
This productive walk will ensure your puppy feels happy, satisfied, and relaxed. Dogs need to do something, a task, something that will motivate them. And dog parkour is the perfect way to do it.
Why Try Dog Parkour
Now here is another important reason why you should try dog parkour. It is a great dog sport that will boost your pup’s confidence. If you have a dog that is afraid and anxious when going outside, canine parkour will help your puppy to interact more with the environment and feel safer.
Not to mention, it boosts your bond and relationship. We all want to be good at something, right? Every breed can be good at something. Some dogs are better at jumping, others at crawling, and so on.
By playing a dog parkour game, you set your dog to win. The more your puppy wins, the happier it is, and the more confidence it has.
Now let’s talk about some of the beginner dog parkour exercises you can try. These are all easy to master, even with a puppy who is not much into dog agility or dog sports. Let’s go.
Two feet on
The simple exercise involves your puppy putting its two front paws on an object and holding that position for a few seconds. Start with low objects, and then as your puppy is getting better, move toward a more challenging object.
- Start with your puppy on a leash and point to the object you want your puppy to put its paws on. Encourage your puppy to put its front paws, or lure him onto the object. But always let your dog approach the object at its own pace
- When your pet puts its front paws on the object, mark the position with yes and reward with a treat. Then, release him with “okay” to dismount the object
- Repeat the sequence until your puppy has a full grasp of it. Then, add a verbal cue like “paws” right before you point to the object
- When your puppy is getting better, pause for a second before marking and rewarding. The goal is to make the pause longer and longer
Four Paws On
This is the advanced version of the two paws up exercise. You want your goal confidently walk towards the obstacle and jump or walk onto the obstacle in a safer manner.
The step-by-step instructions are just like the previous one. The difference is your puppy has to put four paws on. Your puppy can be in any setting. Yes, a dog trainer will tell you he needs to sit on the obstacle, but you are not competing now, right?
For this exercise, the goal is for your puppy to walk around an obstacle or a prop. You can touch the obstacle in the beginning, but excessive hand signals are regarded as luring in the beginning.
- Start by walking with your dog on a leash to the object and lure your puppy to move around the object
- Come back to the original position
- Gradually increase the difficulty
- Over time, you can add a cue for round and signal your puppy to go round the obstacle
Do you remember at the beginning I said you can turn a park bench into an obstacle for your puppy? Here is how to teach your dog to go under an object.
- Set up your dog on one side of the feature like a park bench, and ask him to stay. Walk to the opposite side of the bench
- Call your dog and encourage him to come to you by walking under the object
- Mark and reward as your dog is moving under the bench and toward your
- When your dog is doing it consistently, add a verbal cue like “under” before calling your puppy to come
- Over time, reduce the height of the object. Make your puppy walk under lower objects that will require him to duck, and then even crawl
Here is another beginner dog parkour exercise. It is quite similar like under in the training sequence. You basically ask the puppy to walk between two objects that are positioned closely together. Think two trees, for example.
- Put the dog in a stay position on one side and move to the other side. Remember, both of you need to be close to the object as possible. The distance should be short
- Call your puppy and once it walks between the objects, mark, and reward
- Add a verbal cue “between” as your puppy is doing it consistently and proudly
- To increase the challenge, move further away from your puppy and ask him to move between two objects
We had a circles exercise, and this is around. It teaches your puppy to circle 360 degrees around an object. Think of a fire hydrant if you live in an urban area. Or a tree if you mostly walk in the park.
- With a treat, slowly lure your puppy around an object so that he walks a circle around it
- Mark and give the treat. Repeat many times until your dog smoothly follows the treat
- Slowly fade away the treat by doing three reps where you lure with a treat but do not give it to your puppy. Instead, use a tastier surprise treat from your other hand to teach your puppy it is not good to be lured
- Get to a point where you can use an empty hand to make the lure gesture, which in this case is a cue. Make the cue less dramatic with each repetition
- At this point, you can add a verbal cue such as “around” before starting the sequence
There are many objects for this type of dog parkour game in the dog park. The goal is simple, your dog should walk on top of an obstacle or prop without touching the ground. And the distance should be at least double the length of the dog.
Lure your dog in the beginning, and give him the treat when he is off the obstacle.