The best way to describe dog parkour is games-based dog training that boosts confidence in dogs. It also helps your puppy overcome anxieties.
The main purpose of dog parkour is to help your dog learn how to use its body and balance, move over, move under, and onto obstacles.
And the bonus is your puppy gets mental stimulation from learning new things. Dogs love learning tricks, and parkour helps them with that.
What is dog parkour?
Sometimes called urban agility, dog parkour is a fairly new dog sport that blends elements of human parkour like moving rapidly through an area and urban environment with dog agility. The difference between human parkour and canine parkour is dogs interact with an environment that is not normal for them.
As a relatively new activity, dog behavior experts have noticed that many of the same types of obstacles, like benches, walls, and similar, are available to dogs as well.
When you want to start practicing parkour, you can start with beginner behavior tricks. For example, one of the simplest and easiest is 2 feet on. For this dog parkour exercise, your dog approaches an obstacle like a picnic table, table portion, or bench, and places his two front feet on the obstacle. Your pet needs to remain there for at least five seconds.
Benefits of dog parkour
With all this talk about dog parkour and parkour exercise, let’s talk about the benefits of it. First and foremost, parkour gets you and your puppy outside. It gives your dog one-on-one attention and interaction. There are so many advantages. Here is a quick breakdown.
- It helps fearful dogs gain confidence in the environment
- Helps a reactive dog ignore other animals and focus on the environment
- Puppies, adults, and seniors dogs can use the conditioning that comes with agility
- Helps with exercise, as jumping different obstacles will tire your dog
- For a dog owner, the main benefit is spending time with your pet and exploring new environments
- Creates a bond with your puppy and helps with confidence building
Safety Tips and Precautions
No matter if you choose to work with your pup alone on walks or with someone else, safety is important. It is always paramount. When it comes to parkour games based dog training, there are a couple of safety protocols. Yes, you will work with everyday objects.
But the main safety protocol is always to use a dog harness and a leash that is six feet long or less. It is imperative that the harness has a ring on the dog’s back. There, you can fasten the leash so there is no stress on the dog’s neck.
Inspect different obstacles before your dog goes on them, around or under them. Make sure the objects and obstacles are not slippery. Most importantly, make sure they do not contain any nails, protrusion, or glass that can harm your puppy and its paws.
When you play and train your dog, act as a stopper so that your dog doesn’t jump from an unadvised height and land on a hard surface. If you notice that action seems dangerous, prevent your dog from doing it. It probably is dangerous.
Last, but not least, pay close attention during dog training sessions. Some days your pup might feel like performing. Others, not so much. Do not push your pup. You can always come back in a week or later and attempt the same obstacle again.
Remember, it is all about growth and how you help your dog learn a new skill. This will help with confidence building and you get a confident version of your pet.
Dog Training Tips
We talked about safety tips, now let’s talk about training tips during your parkour session. First and foremost, make sure your dog is having fun. That is the main purpose of this training technique. Your dog should learn while having fun and playing games.
Encourage your puppy, but do not overdo it. As I said before, there will be days when your puppy will just won’t work. When it comes to sensitive dogs, too much encouragement can cause them to shut down and be counterproductive.
Be patient. Not all dogs excel at parkour. Some might need more time to think. Last, but not least, remember, this is not all about parkour. It is about helping your dog learn how to learn. Use the same skills during regular training sessions.
When to Start Exercising your puppy
While I always say that you should start training your puppy the day you get it, parkour is something different. I would not recommend it for a young puppy. Why? Because your pup’s bones have not yet fused. That can cause injuries to your puppy.
Talk with your veterinarian about age-appropriate activities. If you exercise your puppy too hard or too early, you can cause life-long injuries. Animal wellness is of utmost importance.
There is no right answer when your puppy is ready. It depends on its size, sexual status, and more. The fusing process can take a year or more to complete. And the bigger the dog, the longer it takes.
Also, you have to take into consideration the emotional side. Puppies go through fear periods. Socialize them early on so that they are not afraid later on.