As a Certified Canicross Trainer, I think it’s fantastic that dog & owners teams are inspired to run with their dogs! I’m passionate about promoting safe and comfortable hands-free running with your dog through the use of Canicross specific kit.
A Canicross kit is made with safety, control and comfort in mind. The equipment is made to not only to allow for efficient running for both you and your dog, but also to minimise any risk of injury. A full Canicross kit is made up of 3 main pieces of equipment, specifically made for Canicross running. – A waist belt, bungee line & running specific sport harness.
The Canicross waist belt is for the human to wear for hands-free running. These technical Canicross waistbelts are designed to allow the pull of your dog to come through your core (the strongest part of your body) giving ultimate control and balance whilst taking any strain away from your back, minimising injury and discomfort and allowing for safe and efficient running together.
Once of the most common injuries I see in newbies who have taken up running with their dogs before seeking out advice are lower back injuries and discomfort from having an incorrect waistbelt for running thier dog in. The one strap belt systems available in may high street retailers sold as running belts are inefficient for pulling dogs such as those who take part in Canicross as they end up sitting in the small of your back which is a very weak area to take the pulling force through. For this reason, I always recommend to invest in a Canicross specific waistbelt.
A bungee line is what attaches you to your dog whilst running together. The bungee line is important as it absorbs any shock and sudden jerks for you and your dog whilst running together, making for a smooth and comfortable run as well as acting as another safety feature to minimise any impact on both you and your dog’s back/joints. As you can imagine, some dogs really go for it whilst out on the trails, others, the sheer weight behind them means you need a line you can be 100% confident in as the last thing you want is a line breaking resulting in an escapee dog or a clasp hitting you in the face! So ensuring they have been made with pulling in mind is a good place to start!
It’s super important that your dog has a properly fitted Canicross specific harness to run in. A Canicross harness should sit comfortably and not obstruct their airways, restrict movement, or rub whilst running. There are different styles of harness depending on their size, power and running style. Just like a bad pair of shoes can ruin even the nicest of adventures for us humans, an inappropriate or badly fitting Canicross harness has the same effect for our dogs. – Wearing an incorrect harness long term for running can cause your dog discomfort but also injury and/or postural problems and in worst case scenarios, some dogs may not want to come running with you at all due the negative association from a badly fitting harness.
If you’re a newbie to Canicross and would like a to join my free online Canicross community for support specifically for beginners, click HERE!
Emma Cook – Owner & Certified Canicross Trainer