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Pull or Heel – Make Your Mind Up!

Posted by James Bruce on
Pull or Heel – Make Your Mind Up!

So let me get this straight. For the first two years of my life you’ve been teaching me not to pull on the lead, to walk nicely or run along next to you and given me treats to reward this behaviour. I got that. NOW, you want me to run out ahead of you and pull you along!!!!! Make your mind up!

 

I get that you want to enjoy running with me and I want to run with you, believe me, but you’ll need to give me a bit of time to get used to this new concept - when you’re wearing your Ferd Belt or your Canix Belt and I’m in my trendy Freemotion Harness, that means run like the wind out in front of you. Throw the other rules out – no heeling or running alongside – just go! It’s great, actually. I love it!

 

So maybe you should explain a bit more about CANICROSS…!

 

Thanks Duke……

 

So, What is Canicross?

 

Canicross is the sport of cross country running with dogs, powered by the dog. Think of mushing in a more urban environment. The dog and human are connected with a belt, line and harness and work together as a team!

 

Canicross is a great method to get or keep both you and your dog fit but it also works the dog’s mind and allows them to use their brain whilst completing the “job”. And dogs LOVE to have a job!

 

Is Canicross for me?

 

Anyone! Can do canicross. From the seasoned runner to someone just starting out. It can be fairly high impact on the joints so a good warm up is needed as well as cool down, and it is important to build up in intensity and duration steadily!

 

How about my dog?

 

Of course some breeds will be more naturally skilled than others but that doesn’t mean that this sport isn’t for all dog breeds. As long as the dog is in good health/doesn’t have any underlying issues you know about then the dog is good to go! Just remember to respect the limits of your dog and don’t push them too hard!

 

Equipment

 

Harness – Canmore Canines stocks the Freemotion harness which is specifically designed for sports with a high pulling point such as Canicross. This harness is developed to allow maximum, unrestricted movement around the shoulders and minimal breath constraint so your dog can run and breathe freely! The material is strong and durable and has built in 3M reflective strips so your dog can always be seen. See fitting guides and ensure your dog is comfortable before you begin training.

 

Bungee line – a 2m running line is your best bet here. The length is pefect to allow the dog to be far enough away so that you don’t run into the back of them but not so long that you don’t trip over the slack or have the dog run of the track. Bungee running lines are designed with an elastic stretch to reduce any shock of sudden pulls on both canine and human. We stock bungee leashes from Non-stop Dogwear and Ruffwear.

 

Belts – A good running belt is also important. They are designed to give support and allow the dog to pull you from the pelvis area or under your bottom avoiding any pressure on the back and promoting a good, upright running technique.

 

Paw protection – something that is often overlooked. While we normally remember to lace up our proper running trainers and expensive gear, we often forget that our dogs feet need looking after too. As you will be running over a variety of rough terrain it is important to provide a level of protection no matter how tough your dogs paws may seem. The paw care we stock is non toxic and will help keep pads in good condition. Your dog will be grateful for you preventing or heeling cracks and dryness and keeping their pads soft and supple.

 

You may also like to think about visibility if your planning on running in low light conditions.. whilst a lot of our gear has reflective patches included, we would also recommend a decent light. We stock the Orbiloc dog dual which can either be attached to you or your dogs collar or harness or both, and can be seen from up to 5km away!

 

Hydration – lastly don’t forget to carry water for your dog and ensure to let them have a good drink (and lots of praise) once you have finished training.

 

Now – get out there try something new and HAVE FUN! You will have a mentally and physically tired dog and we all know a tired dog is a well behaved dog.

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