Cani-cross is cross-country running with your dog for all breeds, any size, big or small. In the UK there are organized events and races for you and your dog(s) to run together.
The running can be done with a conventional collar and lead but it is easier for you and your dog if you use a cani-cross belt for you, a cani-cross harness for your dog and a cani-cross bungee elastic lead connecting you and your dog. The belt means that your arms can swing freely and naturally; the harness is attached to the dog’s powerful chest rather than its neck and the elasticity of the lead absorbs sudden surges by the dog.
Cani-cross events are organized events for human/dog teams. Many races are around 5 km distance with short courses of 1 km for young children and adults who are just starting off running and who want to have a go. The races are organized in different classes according to the ages of the humans doing the running. Races are organized so that the runners leave at timed intervals rather than all together.
The events are advertised online and you apply online to join several days in advance
There are also some cani-cross clubs which arrange for more advanced and fitter cani-cross runners to join in races with dogless cross country runners. Normally the cani-cross runners set off first so that the dogs do not get in the way the ordinary runners.
All the organizations stress the importance of preparing both yourself and your dog for running by not being too ambitious when running, especially for the dog who will run until it drops.
If the dog is unfit then it needs to build up its stamina over several weeks. An unfit dog can suffer damage to joints and muscles if pushed too hard, and it is especially vulnerable to overheating, so be careful in hot weather, and it is also essential that the dog has plenty of water available to drink. Check your dog in the first half hour after running as this is the most dangerous time for overheating.
Above all else cani-cross creates the opportunity for you and your dog to have fun!
I’d love to organise something like this for Aussie dogs in winter. Mind you, the concept of being attached to Guinness by a harness as he flies down hills is quite daunting.
Do we have any UK readers who are involved in Cani-Cross? We’d love to hear your stories!
Picture courtesy of xornalcerto