As stated in the article on strength training,  endurance, flexibility, strength and speed are the key to your dog's performance of and enjoyment in Canine Parkour.  Parkour is just agility in a free running environment. The purpose being to move through the environment efficiently, navigating obstacles with free flowing movements.  Because these obstacles are rarely of a standard shape, size, pitch or surface, flexibility is even more important for our Parkour dogs.

Because much of Canine Parkour contains the ability to start, stop and change direction, there are two key concepts to keep in mind when training flexibility. These two concepts are strict attention to alignment, placement, and form; and the other is the ability to relax.

Relaxation is not necessarily "calm" behavior.  Relaxation comes from understanding how one's body moves and changes direction.  It is the relaxation of knowing what you are doing and being confident in that doingness.  Flexibility exercises teach this understanding of the movements of the body parts, the awareness of the entire body and the confidence in moving it.

Simple standing exercises are the easiest builders of flexibility.

Move the spine in six directions

  • Start with your dog standing on all four feet on a table or the floor. Weight should be evenly balanced among all four limbs. Hindlegs should be directly under hips, forelegs directly under shoulders. The neck and head should be relaxed.
  • Grab your dogs hips and move them from side to side trying not to move the shoulders in the process.
  • At first you will only be able to do this for a minute or two.  This type of movement can tire a dog fast.  Build up the stamina slowly or you risk injuring your dog.

Weaving

Moving in a rhythmic pattern through obstacles is very beneficial in creating flexibility. You do not need to get a lot of speed with this activity as you would in standard agility with weave poles.  I have used a line of trees to weave around, posts for fencing without the fence and even landscaping boulders with spaces between.  The flexibility comes from making the turns, the tighter the better around each obstacle.

Walking in Sand

Walking in sand is more diffi cult than it appears and should be started slowly. Walking in stand teaches a dog to pick up his feet, to feel where he is walking and understand that not all surfaces are hard.  We have made so much of our world hard and dogs have many times not learned how to move through a natural, spongy environment

The softer the sand, the more difficult it will be for the dog to walk. So start this activity in hard-packed sand, if possible, and begin with two to three minute walks with the dog on leash. To increase the intensity of the exercise, walk the dog for longer distances, up and down embankments, and in zigzags.

Rocker boards, wobble boards, balance cushions and exercise balls

Flexibility is more then just how far a joint can stretch.  Flexibility is also about all the little movements we and our dogs do every day to maintain a solid footing.  Just like walking in sand, we need to show our dogs that they can move swiftly through any environment, even if it moves with or against our movements.  

Using moving obstacles such and rocker and wobble boards, standing and moving on soft squishy pads and balls, all increase the ability to make the finer movements and increase flexibility.

On An Incline

Differing from using inclines, slopes and hills for strength, we can also use shorter incline, like an AFrame type obstacle, to increase flexibility.

In Training




Standard Parkour

Tucker

Brinkley


Jumpers Parkour


Creative Parkour