Emily Thomas, Director of K9 Trail Time has provided some excellent tips on how to get into the sport of running with your dog(s); otherwise known as canicrossing.
#1 – Train your voice commands as early as possible and as often as possible, you can start from when your dog is a pup to teach directions, slow down, wait and any other things you’d like your dog to understand when attached to you in harness.
These can be taught on walks and keep positively reinforcing your dog by doing little and often in sessions.
Change the pitch of your voice to get your dog excited and motivated but once your dog is moving don’t continuously talk as your voice may become ‘white noise’.
Don’t worry if your dog is a little bit older because you can teach this to any age dog, the key is consistency and keeping it fun!
#2 – Encourage your dog to go to the toilet BEFORE you start a canicross session, if your dog learns to toilet prior to when you want them to run then it can help avoid your dog stopping at every opportunity.
#3 – Get into the habit of having a warm up and cool down, this can incorporate your toilet routine too (!) brisk walking and getting your limbs moving a bit faster when you first set out will help prevent injuries through strain that can occur if you head straight out from home or the car at a run.
#4 – Dogs learn from other dogs so if you can go out and train in a running group, even if there is only one other dog they can follow, this will speed up the learning process as your dog will see the aim is to run out in front. You can practice passing with other dogs too, so your dog is not always chasing and becomes motivated to run independently.
#5 – Keep your training sessions short to begin with, build up the distance as you would with any new activity and remember that you and your dog will be using different muscles when canicrossing so give yourselves enough time to rest between sessions to give your muscles a chance to recover.
K9 Trail Time – Who are we:
Emily Thomas has been a lifelong dog owner and in 2009 took up the sports of canicross and bikejor as a way of keeping her and her rescue dogs fit and healthy. Emily currently has four dogs ranging from 18 months to 13 years old and has raced them all over the country in both National and International competitions.
K9 Trail Time is an online business retailing the specialist dog sports equipment needed to take part in canicross, bikejoring and dog scootering set up by Director Emily Thomas in 2012 to provide advice and support for people starting out in the sports, in addition to the best selection of products from a wide range of International brands.