What is Canine Parkour and how can it help your dog? | The Paw Post

What is Canine Parkour and how can it help your dog?

Canine Parkour Michelle Walker

Have you heard of Canine Parkour?

It’s the paw-fect combination of brain training and adventurous agility for your pooch. 

Dogs can learn to climb, jump, balance and run on challenging obstacles like beams and tree stumps, just like in human parkour! 

Canine Parkour was introduced to the UK in 2017.

Due to its fast paced movement and challenges it’s been described as High Intensity Interval Training for dogs.

Patch and I are always up for trying new things, which is why we went to meet Michelle Walker, 35, from Michelle’s Canine Care in Manchester.

She’s one of the first trainers in the UK to qualify as a Canine Parkour Instructor and showed Patch and I how to get started.

Michelle Walker Canine Parkour
Michelle shows Patch how to enjoy Parkour safely © Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror

What is canine parkour?

Dog Parkour is a mix of Human Parkour and Dog Agility.

Michelle says: “We live busy lives and one of the things I often hear is that owners struggle for time or feel they need to go on really long walks for their dog to give them exercise they need.

“But twenty minutes of Dog Parkour is the equivalent to an hour run.

“It’s enough to tire my dogs out for the rest of the afternoon, and a great way to spend time with your pet.

“It teaches the owner to manipulate and utilise the environment around them to add a fun element to their dog’s walks and training.

“The other great benefit is it can help to strengthen the relationship between the owner and their dog as they both build on their trust.”

How can dogs take park in canine parkour?

Michelle says: “You can do Dog Parkour anywhere, anytime, at any age or physical condition.

“Once you learn the basics, you’ll see there is always something in whatever  environment you’re in that your dog can use safely.

“What I would recommend though is that you attend some training sessions with a Certified Canine Parkour Instructor so you know what to do to keep your dog safe.”

Michelle Walker Canine Parkour
Everyday objects can be used for Parkour fun © Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror

Can any dog take part?

Michelle says Parkour is great for dogs of all ages, shapes, sizes and personalities.

She explained: “Parkour can help build confidence in young puppies and keep old dogs active.

“It can help anxious or reactive dogs and dogs that are recovering from an injury or surgery.

“Many owners don’t realise their dogs are already doing Parkour without even realising.”

Can Parkour help dogs with emotional issues?

Michelle says because dogs focus so intently while doing Parkour, it can help anxious dogs feel more calm outdoors.

“It’s really helpful for reactive dogs and I used it with my late American Bulldog Cooper,” she explained.

“He would bark and get very anxious and stressed while on walks. I tried Parkour with him and it helped massively.

“It gives them a focus. Rather than looking for something they might react to, such as a cyclist or other dogs, they concentrate on the task.”

And as long as you know how to handle your dog safely when coming down from objects, they can start early.

“My puppy Pi, a six month old Staffie, enjoys Parkour on all of our walks,” Michelle added.

Canine Parkour Michelle Walker
All you need is a sturdy harness and lead to support your dog and help them down from obstacles © Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror

Do you need any kit for canine parkour?

The good news is you don’t need to buy any fancy equipment.

Michelle says: “You can do Dog Parkour anywhere, anytime, at any age or physical condition. 

Once you learn the principles, everyday objects like fallen trees or walls become things for your dog to play on. 

“Just like a child might look at you excitedly when they see a slide or a swing, your dog will do the same once they’ve learned Parkour.

“Do get some professional training from an instructor first as the health and safety of your dog is paramount.”

Michelle Walker Canine Parkour
Patch learning how to enjoy Parkour and stay safe © Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror

What made you become a Parkour Instructor?

“It started when I went to a seminar at Preston Trick Dogs in 2018, which was the first of its kind in the UK. 

“I decided I loved the sound of teaching and went on to become a Certified Instructor with the IDPKA.

“Then I achieved a Novice Title with my old boy Bailie, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier who I sadly said goodbye to last October, just before he was 11.

“Now I enjoy Parkour with my six month old puppy Pi, a Staffie, and my 18 month old Staffie Ryder.

“I’d love to see Parkour take off in a big way because life is so busy for us mere mortals nowadays, it’s difficult for dog owners to make time for their pooches.”

Michelle Walker Canine Parkour
Michelle’s dog Ryder shows off her Parkour skills

How can people find out more?

Owners in the North West can have face to face tuition with Michelle, who is based in Oldham.

She said: “Owners can choose from classes and one to one tuition.

“You can find out more about my Parkour classes under the Parkour section on my website www.michellescaninecare.co.uk/ 

“There’s also a virtual class where I explain how to enjoy Parkour on Zoom.”

For a virtual appointment starting from £7.50 click here: Parkour training online.

About Canine Parkour instructor Michelle Walker

Michelle is one of a small group of certified instructors in the UK, and is based in Manchester. 

She’s worked with a range of dogs, including helping several reactive dogs become calmer and better at focusing. 

As well as Canine Parkour, Michelle is a specialist dog trainer, dog walker and has a passion for pooches taking pride in building strong relationships with every canine she works with.

You can find out more on her website, www.michellescaninecare.co.uk/


If you like learning about fun activities to try  with  your dog, you might like to read Getting started with Canine Hoopers, We try Paw-lates for dogs, How can Doga help your dog, or Tips on running with your dog from Dogfit UK.

2 Comments

  1. Jo
    14th September 2020

    This is wonderful! I’m training as a dog trainer at the moment but would love to do dog parkour. What a fantastic way to keep fit and have fun!

    Reply
    1. rachel@thepawpost.co.uk
      14th September 2020

      It’s so much fun Jo, I would definitely consider it. Michelle who did the class is really lovely and helpful so may be able to advise you on what to do if you’d like to train to offer it as a service! Good luck with the training business too!

      Reply

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