Avoid Injury! Essential Safe Canicross Steps for You and Your Dog
Have you tried running with your dog before? Buying a cheap running belt from Amazon and just going out with your dog to get yourself both exercised. It’s the perfect way to fit both your exercise in and not waste too much time.
Recently (Nov 23) an article was published in The Times titled “Why I’ll Never Be a Dog Jogger Again” about a bad experience a journalist had trying to run with her dog.
She broke and a rib which meant she couldn’t run or exercise to her normal level. It’s frustrating and in this blog, we wanted to show you how with the right guidance you can run safely with your dog and enjoy the fun of the trails together.
Listen below to the podcast on Safe Canicross Steps for you and your dog.
The Journalist’s Experience
The journalist decided to try running with her dog to save time exercising herself and her dog and I totally get this and it’s why a lot of people start Canicross/ running with their dogs.
She had resisted it for a long time as she was aware her dog was “more Usain Bolt than Mo Farah” but in the end listened to her friends and decided to give it a go.
She bought a basic waist belt off Amazon £19.99 and set out to do a 5-mile run, but a few yards down the road her dog saw a squirrel and lunged after it is causing the journalist to fall, be dragged for a while and ending up in fence breaking a rib as a result.
An unfortunate incident which with the correct kit and training would have resulted in the journalist having more control with her dog when it decided to chase the squirrel.
Our Tips for safe Canicross
1. Do research and invest in proper Canicross kit
Waist belts sold as “Canicross belts or running belts” in pet shops are often not suitable, they have one strap attached around your waist via a bungee to the dog. The quality of these won’t be as good as the proper Canicross kit hence the price and just wearing the waist belt will invariably lead to lower back and other injuries as well as lack of control with your dog.
Canicross kit is a bit like a climbing harness, you climb into the harness with leg straps which help keep it in place. The main part of the harness is the part that sits on your bottom and a strap that goes round waist again to keep it in place. The load is taken through the part round your bottom/pelvis which is the strongest part of your body, so you have the strength and control as you run. The bungee is of good quality and designed to absorb the pull of the dog, rather than Catapult you as the journalist described in her article.
2. Know your dog and choose routes to suit it
When considering Canicross you need to take into account your dog’s size, strength, personality, prey drive. Start off slowly and for short periods so you and your dog get use to wearing their harness.
- Train your dog on Canicross commands
-This is the important bit, train your dog to Canicross with practice commands like “steady”, “stop”, “left”, “right” You can do these at walk so that when you start to run you both know when to stop! Check out the blog “How to teach your dog Canicross commands”.
4. Build up distance gradually
This is really important. Even if your dog runs for miles off lead and you think yes, they are fit. Running in a harness is totally different for them, they have to pull us around after all!
If you haven’t run for a while its good to get your running fitness up to speed as well. If you have a strong pulling dog then you will be running fast, so you need to be running fit. This doesn’t just mean getting out for your runs but doing some strength as well to reduce your risk of injury. Following the couch to 5k plan is a great way for your dog to get used to running in harness.
Want to get ready for Canicross then check out the Get Stronger: Run a faster 5K Course. An 11- week course. Michelle Mortimer (running coach) and Louise Humphrey (plates for Runners Instructor & PT) take you through the online course with 3 run sessions a week and Pilates & Strength sessions to help improve your running. Visit the website here.
5.Seek advice from Canicross experts
There is so much online where you can find out about Canicross to see if it for you and your dog. Find a Canicross Instructor near you and go and have a taster session and kit try before spending the money out.
Go to events, Canicross racing is becoming bigger in the UK it’s a great place to chat to Canicrossers who are always happy to chat about Canicross and their dogs.
At these events there are usually stores and owners who are Canicross experts and will help you get the best kit for you both.
With the right preparation and research, Canicross can be great fun and safe for both you and your dog. It’s a shame the journalist was injured and put off from trying again when there is so much support available to do it properly.
We want to spread awareness about Safe Canicross so more people can enjoy this amazing sport, so please share this blog to all your friends.