Urban Agility is like Parkour for your dog. Do cool tricks and moves with your dog, anywhere, anytime.
This page will get you up and running in no time at all! Click the links below or scroll down to learn how to do Urban Agility. If you want a more detailed tutorial, consider our Urban Agility online course, which you can find here!
Before You Start
- Get 30-40 tiny tasty treats and a hungry dog. Alternatively, you can train your dog with another motivator like a ball or disc. Though some dogs are excited by a toy, it is usually easier to start with food treats.
- Most Urban Agility moves and tricks are best taught using lures and reward markers. Don't know what that is? Click here.
- Pick an urban environment! Here are some tips to help you choose the right location below. Also, since Urban Agility takes place in public, please be aware of others around you. Please leash your dog and don't allow your dog to jump up on people or run away. Always pick up your dog's waste!
The Basic "Moves"
1. Jumping onto or over things
First, you've got to know how high your dog can jump. This is key to keeping Urban Agility safe! In general, a fit, injury free, normal weight, healthy dog can jump onto something that's twice as tall as they are, and jump over something which is equal to their height. These are just rules of thumb! Be conservative, and don't let your dog get hurt.
Most Urban Agility is getting your dog to jump onto obstacles, so spend a lot of time luring and rewarding your dog for interacting with any type of item.
Depending on the height of your dog, you can ask them to jump over new or strange items.
Teach your dog a cue for jumping. I like "hup" but lots of other people use "jump" or "over".
2. Going around obstacles
Going around an obstacle is the best move in Urban Agility. It is the most diverse, allowing dogs to interact with a wide variety of obstacles and allows smaller or less athletic dogs a chance to play without the strain of jumping.
It's easy to teach! Use your lure, reward marker, and reward to prompt your dog to go around a simple item.
Videos to help you go around obstacles
3. Going under or through things
Teaching your dog to differentiate between jumping and going through or under on obstacle makes for a versatile Urban Agility dog.
Use your lure, reward marker, and rewards to prompt your dog to go through or under obstacles. It helps to teach a special word like "through" or "under" so the dog can eventually discriminate.
Videos to help you go under and through
4. Running across a length
There are lots of surfaces to run across in any urban environment. Use your lures and start off close to your dog, just getting them comfortable walking across a narrow obstacle. I borrow the cue "walk it" from competitive agility to indicate to the dog I want them to go across a length.
You've now seen the basic "moves" of Urban Agility: jump, around, through, and walk it. Now to add a little flair...
Adding tricks to your Urban Agility experience can make it more fun for you and your dog. The sky's the limit on the types of tricks you can incorporate but here are some ideas...
Simple tricks on a weird surface. Can your dog speak, shake-a-paw, sit pretty, or even just lie down on an urban object like a bench? What about on top of a garbage can?
Jumping or moving around your body. Teach your dog to jump over your foot or arm, run behind your back or weave through your legs. These are easy tricks to teach so don't be intimidated!
Sequencing is when you put a bunch of moves and tricks together to create a "sequence" of movement. Teams who know the Urban Agility moves and a handful of tricks will find sequencing super fun!
Jumping through the playground
Jump/Around/Walk-It at school
Walk-It Walk-It Walk-It! (the 'walk it cubed'!)
Around and around and around...
Sequencing is also a time when you want to chose your landscape carefully. Is it something you can come back to again and again? Remember, the more time you can spend on a piece of landscape, the more elaborate sequences you can train!
Urban Agility gets its name from the interaction between your dog's movement and the urban landscape. Your landscape is your creative canvas so choose wisely. Where are some good places for Urban Agility? See below for some Vancouver based examples. You can find similar locations anywhere!
Sea Wall - The sea wall walk south of Science World is awesome for Urban Agility. It has a lot of features!
Granville Island - Make sure to go on weekdays as the weekend can get pretty busy.
Downtown - There is lots of Urban Agility to discover downtown. Look for building 'features' out front, urban landscaping like interesting flower pot configurations, and ledges on some older buildings for walking on.
At home - At home can be a very creative space for Urban Agility because you get to choose what to interact with. Be creative with some weird stuff! What about some old kid's bikes? Or do you have a little dog? What about last week's recycling bin for a series of "around" items?
Your neighbourhood - This will probably be your main place for Urban Agility. Walk around with a new perspective... Look for downed telephone poles, planters, and tree configurations. Anything upright can be an around obstacle. Anything low enough can be jumped on.
Parks - Children's parks in Vancouver have a lot of options for Urban Agility moves but most do not allow dogs. Check to see if they are not being used in off hours and please be aware of signage.
If you want a more detailed introduction, with step-by-step instructions, exclusive videos, and a forum to ask Sarah questions, take our online course! Itís easy and fun, and only $20. You can sign up here, right now!