In human gymnastics, spotting or to "spot" someone means to assist them in safely completing a skill. The amount of spot can range from simply tapping a leg to completely carrying the gymnast through the motion. A spot can be used to reduce risk of injury, or to ensure proper technique. Spotting can be done hands on, or with a spotting device such as a spotting belt.

A spotting belt is a belt that a gymnast wears that is attached to ropes or cables that are generally attached to pulleys connected to the ceiling or a tower. This device allows a coach to "catch" a gymnast when working multiple flipping or twisting skills in a situation when a hand spot would be unfeasable.

There are many other gadgets and tools used for spotting in gynastics. In Canine Parkour, we use a harness for spotting. Spotting is used for:

  • Physically modeling proper body positions.
  • Physically showing the changes in body position or transitions of positions
  • Reminders or cues to the dog – use a light touch and/or verbal cues.
  • Physically assisting the dog in the performane of a skill or behavior chain.
  • Motivation and helping to alleviate fear and build confidence.
  • A steady hand always ready to assist if necessary.

In gymnastics, many coaches teach entire skills and routines using spotting techniques. This ensures that the muscles do the actions of the behavior properly, in order, in a timely fashion and with confidence. With the help of the spotter, muscle memory is built and associated with cues. Many canine fitness trainers use the spotting method exclusively with balance equipment. As a method of teaching, it works for both humans and dogs, however, we don't use it in Parkour. We don't use it because we need a thinking dog, one who understands why to tuck when jumping, not just have the muscle memory of doing so.

Mostly what we'll use is "rescue spotting" in situations where there could be damage to the dog because he has climbed too high, can't balance on a particular small surface or gets bit by an ant when walking a rope or climbing a ladder.

Spotting, in general, can be applied in many different formats and involve very complex skills on the part of the spotter and the dog. Hand and harness spotting, specifically rescuing a dog from an unplanned fall (i.e., a rescue spot) is what we will concentrate on in this sport.

The majority of spotting is a type I would call "assistive" which refers to the idea that the handler intends to touch the dog from the outset and that the handler and dog have a well choreographed spotting and performance duet that will be executed within rather narrow performance limits by both handler and dog. In most assistive hand spotting the handler manipulates (i.e., touches and partially supports) the dog throughout most or all of the skill in question. In a rescue spot, the handler does not plan to touch the dog unless something unforeseen and potentially harmful occurs. The rescue spot technique is largely created at the moment of the fall in order to rescue or steady the falling dog.

In Training

Standard Parkour



Jumpers Parkour

Creative Parkour