What is Parkour for Dogs?
Guess what? We've discovered parkour and it's such a lot of fun. We're even entertaining people on our walks and in the garden and the dogs absolutely love it. Mind you, the neighbours think we're bonkers but then they've thought that for years.
Right, so what is this parkour business? It's a fun activity that combines elements of jumping, climbing, scrambling and balancing using natural or man made obstacles. It does help the dogs to get incredibly fit and it really helps to build their relationship with you.
You can practise on any walk where you might find a few obstacles for your dog to enjoy. Whenever we see anything like this we don't just walk on by we explore all the possibilities.
We also use the bigger rocks for jumping on and off.
Sasha uses the lower rocks to save her legs.
When we're on the beach there are rocks close enough to each other for the dogs to leap from one to the other. Sometimes there are washed up planks or even a big tyre to play on.
Steep slopes are great to run up and down, or you can use trees and bushes to send round and between. If you can find good mature trees or a handy wall you can use them for a special parkour technique called tic tacs. It involves the dog leaping high up and touching the wall or tree with its hind feet before leaping down again.
If you want to see some advanced parkour just have a look at Alex and Jumpy and prepare to be amazed. I first saw this video a couple of years ago and I was fascinated by it. Now that's what I call an interesting walk!
Parkour in your garden
I suspect that most of us won't be leaping over tables or doing somersaults when we first start parkour so having a go in the garden might be a good choice. The dogs love this. It makes a change from barking at the dog next door or chasing cats.
Most gardens have loads of objects that can be made into obstacles for dogs to negotiate and here you can build your own course and entertain the neighbours at the same time.
Jilly quickly learned to go under a garden chair but Sasha's not so keen. We didn't force it. This is just a bit of fun. A garden bench is good for jumping on.
We also used a handy bird bath, a table and the garden steps plus a little bit of plank for our garden parkour course. Sasha's a bit suspicious of the whole thing but she'll join in when she sees Jilly having fun. I never try and force her to do what she doesn't want to do. Here's a video Bernie took from inside the house. He was still in his jim jams and refused to come outside. Like Sasha, you can't force him to do what he doesn't want to do.
Parkour is great fun and you can be as inventive as you like as long as you keep yourself and your dog safe and well.
I've just shown you a small fun aspect of parkour but if you want to go into it a bit further there is an international parkour organisation.
Now, perhaps I'd better lose some weight....