How to teach Canicross Commands

muddy field people canicrossing up the hill

How to teach Canicross Commands

Canicross commands are important to teach for the confidence and the trust you build with your dog when you are out running.

When Canicrossing your speed is generally faster and being attached to you dog can add other distractions.  As often happened with my prey driven dog.

So having the trust and commands that you can use are really important when you are out canicrossing.

Canicross Commands

Depending on when you come to Canicross you might already have commands that you already use for your dog and some of these might be relevant for Canicross. 

Remembering Canicross originated from sledging dogs for their training off season so some of the commands you might hear about come from that.

In reality you can use what words you want.  Short words helps and constant reinforcement will get you and dog ready for your Canicross adventures. 

8 Canicross command ideas

  1. Let’s go perfect when starting out whether racing or just setting off on your run.
  2. Gee (sledge dog command) or turn right, important when you want to change direction at speed your dog needs to know directions
  3. Haw (sledge dog command) or turn left.
  4. When you are running in a pack or passing a walker then letting them know you are there is really important and which side you are passing them, so although not for your dog important you shout out where you are going.
  5. When you are passing another dog, person or prey then using words like on-by, go straight, on on or forward work well.
  6. When you want your dog to slow down and come under control but still keep running, important if running down a hill then using heel or side works well to bring them back to you and under control.
  7. If you are on a narrow path, not sure what’s ahead or running downhill then behind is a great command, bringing your dog behind you and they run at your pace.
  8. Whoa, stop and slow great commands to stop!


How to practise Canicross Commands

It’s great to start using the commands you decide on when you are walking and can practice under control.  Then take them up into your Canicross runs. 

Running in packs is also a great way to practise with other dogs an distractions around. 

The video below shows us practising out on a run.  By doing a slalom around the dogs means we can bring in a few commands.  Here we practise right, left and go on so that the dog doesn’t get distracted by the dogs who are sitting.

If you like to join a pack run to practise your command then sign up to find out more about the next social run.