The Increasing Popularity Of Canicross – Getting Fit With Your Dog!

The increasing popularity of Canicross – Getting fit with your dog!

Forget paying out for a personal trainer when you have your own furry personal fitness trainer at home.  Canicross is the sport of off-road, cross country running with dogs.  Working as a team powered by your dog and directed by the driver (you), directing your canine with voice commands.   It’s a great way for both you and your dog to keep fit as well as train their brains whilst enjoying the great outdoors. 

Join a Canicross group, form new friendships canine and human alike.  Get fit together, improve stamina, form stronger bonds with your beloved canine, get that doggy mind working.  Just some of the benefits of Canicross adventures.

Canicross Kit For You And Your Dog

The harness, top priority is a comfortable fit, can you fit two fingers between dog and harness around the neck, chest and waist?  Avoid restrictive harnesses.  Your dog needs to be able to breath fully and freely without any restriction or pressure on the chest area or ribs as they run.   It’s so important to watch and listen to your dog as they run.  Watch out for something restricting movement, or the equipment being pulled at an angle.  Stop and adjust if you think something isn’t quite right. 

For Canicross a slightly shorter harness with a higher connection from dog to runner is recommended.

The driver wears a strong, secure, adjustable and comfortable waist-belt (hip-belt) allowing hand free running. The hip-belt should be secured with leg straps, this enables the driver’s body to keep upright and pull from underneath the bum.   The waist-belt is then attached via a 2-meter bungee line.  The bungee line helps to absorb shock for both you and your dog from a strong pull or sudden jolt. 

Wear a good pair of trail shoes for extra grip and to help prevent slipping and sliding on off road adventures.  Comfortable light weight breathable running clothing.   Also think about a light weight waterproof stowed in a bum bag just in case.

Canine Suitability

You need a fit and healthy dog over the age of 12-18 months who loves to run for Canicross.  If you’re unsure if your dog is up to it speak to your vet.  Working dog breeds tend to be the most popular of choice but any breed can do it, but only if they want to?

Start of slow and build stamina together.  Allow them to get used to the harness, teach them their commands with a few months of light training and build up gradually. Never overwork your dog, especially growing dogs as this can damage joints and bones. 

Always keep an eye on your dog, watch out for signs of fatigue or discomfort during runs.  Always know your route and locations of available fresh water sources.  It so important for both you and your dog to stay hydrated.

Also they have to enjoy it just as much as you do.  If your dog wants to STOP, maybe they would prefer just to walk, sniff and explore the good old outdoors instead.