But in an increasingly health-conscious age, there is more pressure than ever before for owners to keep them fit and to avoid becoming dangerous dogs. Now, there is another way to keep your pet in good condition and increase brain power … Parkour lessons. Human Parkour was adapted from military training in France during the 1980s and involves moving the local environment as quickly as possible without the help of any other equipment.
Dog Parkour sessions are like human Parkour, where they learn to climb, jump, balance and run through challenging obstacles such as beams and tree stumps.
Just 20 minutes from Parkour is one hour long and has been described as High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT – favored by famous fitness trainer Joe Wicks – for dogs.
Canine Parkour arrived in the UK in 2017 and is becoming increasingly popular with dog owners across the country. We visited Michelle Walker, 35, who is one of seven certified instructors, and her classes have helped many dogs with behavioral problems – especially those who find it difficult to concentrate.
Michelle of Failsworth, Manchester says: “Parkour helps owners bond with their dogs and makes walking more fun. Many homeowners are already doing Parkour without even realizing it.
“Helping your dog walk a low wall or putting its front paws on a step is practicing parkour, and if you learn the principles of the lesson, you can also help with behavior.
“I have a reactive dog myself, Cooper, an American Bulldog, and he barks and gets very anxious and stressed while walking. I tried Parkour with him and it helped a lot.
“It gives them focus. Instead of looking for something to respond to, such as a cyclist or other dogs, they focus on the task.
"They see it as their 'job' and find it rewarding."
I tried a 45-pound Parkour individual training session with Michelle with my three-year-old terrier, Patch. Whenever I go for a walk, he loves to jump in and out of walls and is very active.
I'm still working on his recall because, like many terriers, he has a strong prey and comes out with the slightest sniff of a rabbit or squirrel, so most of his walks are in the lead.
Michelle insists Parkour would mentally and physically challenge him and help strengthen our relationship.
"If your dog likes to walk and sees you as a fun person, he will help you relate and improve behavior and obedience," she said.
“With Parkour, once you learn the basics, everyday objects like fallen trees or walls become things for your dog to play with.
"Just as a child can look at you with enthusiasm when it sees a slide or a swing, your dog will do the same after learning Parkour."
During class, we used an obstacle course made of beams, tree stumps, a ramp that led to a raised platform, and jumps made of logs.
We learned the basic movements that are "two-legged", where Patch placed the front paws on the trunk of the tree, "four-legged", which balances on all four legs. 39; under & # 39; a beam & # 39; above & # 39; and & # 39; along & # 39 ;, which is the balance of a beam.
Over time, dogs know how to practice their own obstacles and owners can upload videos to the International Dog Parkour Association for titles and awards.
Michelle also explains how to support dogs when they jump up and land.
"It's important to protect the joints," she says. “Your dog is using muscles that it may not use every day to maintain balance. Just like ourselves, they can get sore the next day.
"Sessions should be small and frequent and over time they will develop strength and power in your muscles and you will see the difference in your muscle tone. It is mentally stimulating for them as they are thinking throughout the session. They They are focused on following instructions and learning new exercises.
“The most rewarding thing is working with reactive dogs, which go from finding stressful walks to enjoying them and really relating to their owners.
"These are transformations that make so much difference and can help keep dogs and owners together.
"I'd love to see Parkour take off because life is so busy and it's hard for dog owners to set aside quality time for their pets, but 20 minutes of Dog Parkour is enough to tire dogs."
● Learn more about Michelle at michellescaninecare.co.uk