I live in a suburban environment where there are few options to exercise my four large dogs on a daily basis. I rarely take them for a walk and honestly don't believe that a walk is enough exercise for most dogs and I have very high energy dogs. Therefore many years ago, I began looking for ways to develop my dogs'; skills in using their physical abilities and provide them with enough physical and mental exercise. Occasionally I would move to a somewhat rural area where I designed and built obstacles for the dogs. More moves and more obstacles culminated in the extensive course I left back in Tucson which required a great deal of time and effort to construct.

When I first began doing agility, there were a few agility people who used odd obstacles and not just agility obstacles to help train their dog. Search and rescue and police work also use obstacles found in our urban and rural environments in training. However, teaching dogs to navigate a series of obstacles in the environment didn't happen right away. I first heard about Parkour in 2007 and it may have been around in the dog world a year before that. Agility had already existed for a couple of decades and I had spent time exploring that in the 80's and 90's.

Many dog owners (me included) are not interested in the competitive aspect of agility but do enjoy engaging and challenging their dogs. Those who don't have the time, space, or desire to construct large permanent obstacles (such as I have) can nevertheless create a clever and effective obstacle course by using a variety of objects that are pre-made or ones that are not difficult to construct. Also, you can look for "obstacles" when on outings. Away-from-home obstacles I have taken advantage of: hay bales in the farmer's field, pier walk at a park, willow maze at the museum, and fallen trees in the woods.

  • Agility tunnels
  • tractor and other used tires
  • barrels and drums with the ends cut out for tunnels and balance
  • Mazes of all sorts and configurations
  • Weave poles
  • cones
  • patterns outlined by flags, stakes, and ropes
  • patterns of zigzag, figure eight, and 90-degree-angle shapes
  • Agility jumps, platform jumps, boulders, rocks, chairs or anything you can imagine for height
  • Building confidence on novel surfaces of stone, sand, plastic, water, tin foil, carpet and even baby gates laid on the side.
  • Slides
  • Ramps
  • Tires and barrels for going over and through
  • Boards set up in an a frame manner
  • Broad jumps
  • High jumps
  • Dog Walks

Arranging your obstacles in a course also helps with confidence and problem solving. But unlike agility where speed of the essence, Parkour is performed at the dog's own pace where safety, enjoyment, and building self confidence is the goal.

For many years I've used the TTouch Playground for Higher Learning to build confidence in dogs. Just like the Playground, Parkour and other sports similar to it, can help a dog develop confidence and judgment, teach him to solve problems, just by navigating obstacles. And it's fun.

In Training

Standard Parkour



Jumpers Parkour

Creative Parkour