Bored with the same old walk around the block? Turn your surroundings into a doggie playground! Parkour is a fun way to to burn your dog’s energy and teach polite leash walking skills. Read my full article here at petguide.com to learn what Dog Parkour is all about and how to get started.
Dog Parkour is a sport I've just started to dabble in with my two Chihuahua-ish mixes, Batman and Beans. For me, the appeal of Parkour is its flexibility. While other sports require a large open space and/or specific equipment (for instance, Agility jumps and tunnels), Parkour can be done anywhere, even in your living room, and the equipment consists of the "environmental features" that naturally occur there. The two Dog Parkour titling organizations allow you to earn titles by submitting videos of your dog performing certain exercises with these environmental features, such as putting two paws on a tree stump or jumping inside a cardboard box. That means no traveling to trials, plus as many do-overs as you want until you get just the right take. The organization All Dogs Parkour has very flexible requirements for earning titles, so even a 14-year-old tiny tyrant like Batman can find enough exercises that fit his abilities. The other, more established (meaning, created in 2014) organization is International Dog Parkour Association, which has stricter criteria for titling submissions.
Below are two videos. The first is Batman's Level 1 submission for All Dogs Parkour. You can see how easy it is. (Please don't judge too harshly... this was the first time we'd tried these exercises!) The second video is a Level 5 Grand Champion submission by trainer Kristine Hammar and her fantastic dog Tessa. You'll see that, even at the highest levels, Dog Parkour is all about interacting with the environment safely.
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY.