Friday, June 24, 2022

Pack Parkour Thursdays

Yooper Paws of Love hosts a Pack Parkour Party on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month!

Parkour is basically a mix between dog agility and nature where you practice stunts, tricks, and other obstacle course skills as a team in natural environments. In parkour, you teach your dog to perform “interactions” with objects in the environment such as jumping over, going under, going between, walking across, going around, backing between or onto, or sending around.

Parkour builds confidence and fosters teamwork by giving you and your dog an opportunity to explore and meet new challenges together as you perform the interactions with different objects in different locations. It also builds physical strength and flexibility while improving overall physical conditioning.

Safety First - Before doing Canine Parkour you need to have the right equipment! A harness with a back clip and a leash or longline allows you to support your dog if they need a bit of help. A dog should not be wearing any type of choke or prong collar doing Canine Parkour activities as these may cause harm if the dog falls or the leash gets caught. Even a flat collar can become stuck or get twisted and become dangerous.

What I like most about Canine Parkour is you don’t have to go out and buy any expensive equipment! You use what you have in your current surroundings. A chair, table or bench can be great to practice skills at home during the training phase. Logs, stumps and short rocks can be great obstacles that are easy to work with when you first move outside. Start on low objects that are easy for your dog to be successful and build your way up to more difficult behaviors and obstacles.

Common Parkour Stunts:
  • Paws Up - 2 paws on any object
  • On Top of the World - 4 paws on any object
  • Go Around - circles an object
  • Bum in the Air - back paws on any object
  • Crawl Under the Bridge - crawls under any object
  • Jump or Flying - dog jumps over any object without touching it
  • Balance - dog walks on top of obstacle without touching the ground
  • Through - dog walks through an obstacle such as a hoop

Pack Parkour

On the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month, Yooper Paws of Love hosts a Pack Parkour Party where teams can practice on simple obstacles that I set up to learn the basics of parkour cues and skills to develop teamwork before heading out into nature to practice on real obstacles.

Pack Parkour takes place at Strawberry Lake on or near the ball fields with obstacles spaced out so each dog can practice in sight of other dogs, yet at a safe distance.  The obstacle course is open from 6-7pm for you to enjoy and work through at your own pace.  There is a mini fee of $10 to practice on the obstacles which helps to provide better obstacles for future Pack Parkour Parties.

Check out Team Betsy Ross as they work through several of the obstacles from a previous 
Pack Parkour Party!

And check out Cam doing some backyard Parkour as I test out some new obstacles!

If possible, pre-register with a simple email to to let me know you're coming!  Or comment at our FB Event page!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

First Aid for Dogs

The ABC's of First Aid for Dogs.

Blog from Cindy Campbell Dog Training

First aid for dogs is good to know, even if you don't have pets. The priorities are the same for humans and animals, Airway, Breathing, Circulation. 

Always have your dog checked if there is anything going on, even if symptoms seem to have resolved after applying first aid. 

Continue reading here...

Here is the SD Handler Chat Replay of the discussion on First Aid.  This has great info about First Aid for any dog, but also gives some more info to think about if you have a Service Dog!

If you want more information on First Aid, check out this great resource from Oregon State University!

Understanding Scentwork

Understanding Scentwork

Dogs naturally know how to use their nose for things that come natural to dogs. They figure out pretty quickly which scents are appealing to them, which scents mean danger, and definitely which scents come from desirable mates. But with a bit of training we can teach them which scents are important to us and which scents they should ignore.

Dogs easily learn that most people's food smells delicious without much training. And if we completely ignore that, our dogs would gladly enjoy any food they can reach. Through training we can teach them that greater rewards are available when they control themselves and ignore people's food. My dogs don't raid the trash can because with reinforcement, I've taught them that the treats I give them from my hand is much greater than any treat they find on their own.

Dogs that work in scent related fields need to learn to ignore many people's scents. Service Dogs learn to ignore other people, focusing on their person. Police dogs learn to ignore environmental smells like people, other pets, and various other common household scents and search for chemicals or scents such as drugs, bombs, even gun powder. Dogs are being trained to detect new smells all the time!

My Service Dogs are trained to smell chemical changes that happen before I have a migraine. I always start teaching my dogs to interpret scents at a very young age. My life depends on their ability to process smells. This makes it even more important to me that I allow them to have fun with their nose too. 

Basic scent training for fun or recreation is simple and fun! This is where I got started with scent work 30+ years ago.  Some people do more formal scent work training designed to help you teach your dog to win competitions.  But for me, it's not about competition or being able to find better or faster then other dogs.  It's more about improving the day to day life of my dog and myself in a fun, engaging way.  So if you're looking for a formal competition class, this won't be what your looking for.  But if you want fun scent work with practically endless ways to apply the skills to your day to day life, keep reading!

I start with easy games such as Find It, Pick One & Hide-n-Seek.  The instructions for a simple version of Find It & Pick One can be found in previous blogs. Hopefully by the end of the month I can give some more advanced examples of these games for those who are looking to extend the basic training to the next level.  I've discussed Hide-n-Seek before, but never gone into great details so I'll explain that one a bit here.


Instead of always having to call my dog to come back to me when they are on following their nose, I build in value for this game so that they want to come find me and keep an eye on me.

Here are the basic instructions to train the game.

  • One person stays with the pup, keeping him in a certain room while another person hides.
  • In the beginning, the hiding person should pick simple spots like on the couch, sitting in the middle of a room, etc.
  • The hiding person calls out the dog's name prompting the dog's helper to release the pup to start the hunt. 
  • When the pup finds the person, they get a reward of treats, toys or praise to help teach them that they did a good job. 
  • As your pup gains experience, you can gradually pick harder hiding spots such as in the shower, behind the shower curtain, upstairs or downstairs.
Have some fun with it and your dog will too!

Often in Hide-n-Seek in the house, dogs will use sight, sound, and scent to find their person. But when you move the game to outdoors or larger environments the dog will most generally choose to use their sense of smell because it is their strongest sense.

Here is a video of a Hide-n-Seek Recall

Adding More Enrichment

As dog owners, we use reinforcement to reward our dogs for the behaviors we like. Enrichment is often confused as being an extra great or j...