I wanted to write a blog on some of the common canicross myths new people to the sport often raise – the concerns or fears that often hold them back from giving canicross a go!
These concerns are neither stupid or invalid and to be honest, if somebody had described canicross to me as being attached to an over enthusiastic dog pulling out in front of me and making me run over uneven and often challenging terrain while trying to negotiate technical turns and other obstacles I’d be a bit like ‘Whoa, do you think I’m on a death wish or what?!’
But in reality, canicross is nothing like this….yes on paper it may sound suicidal, but it’s actually a controlled, highly effective and extremely fun way to get fit with your dog.
Not only that, it’s a wonderful way for you and your dog to bond.
Like any sport, the more you educate yourself, take on board advice from peers and experts, and use the right kit, techniques and commands, the better you will be and the more fun you and your dog will have!
So, these are the popular canicross myths that I’d like to dispel in this blog:
1. My dog will pull me over
Now this would actually take some doing!
Canicross kit is designed to support you as you run. For example, the waist belt you wear ensures that any pull you get is through the hips, the bungee line absorbs any shock and prevents any nasty jarring and the dog’s harness allows for a smoother, effective pull.
Plus, we recommend that you wear correct footwear for off-road running; road shoes won’t cut it, you need proper trail shoes.
2. My dog is too small
Whilst some dogs are better built for canicross that doesn’t mean other dogs can’t enjoy and participate in the sport.
Just like humans, dogs of all shapes and sizes can take part. In fact, we have clients who run with Boston Terriers, Pugs and Daschunds.
All we do advise is that your dog is at least one year old (or fully matured) and if you are in any doubt about their health seek medical advice from your vet.
Do also consider the environment you are running in, e.g. some dogs struggle more than others in the hot or cold temperatures.
3. I’m not a runner
I’ve met many canicrossers who say they didn’t enjoy running before they tried canicross…and now they love it! In fact, one of the DogFit team members is a self confessed convert!
That’s because canicross is a totally different experience to running dogless.
First, being able to run with your dog and other canicrossers in a ‘pack’ is so much fun you often don’t think about the hard work aspect!
Second, you get a nice pull so it’s like your virtual personal trainer giving you a little bit of encouragement 🙂
4. I’m not fit enough to keep up with my dog
Never let that be a reason not to try canicross.
Whether you believe that you or your dog aren’t fit enough to do canicross, you can simply build up gradually.
Start with hands-free walking and get used to the equipment, then slowly introduce jogging, then running. There are no hard and fast rules – it’s better that you take it easy and build up slowly than do too much too soon and give up.
There are also techniques you can focus on such as handy commands – this makes it more fun and easier later on when you start running.
5. My dog won’t pull
One of the most mentioned canicross myths. So much so that I’ve written a whole blog on this. But fear not, there are plenty of tips to address this that are covered in the article.
6. I’m too old
As long as you are healthy enough to walk hands-free (no need to run if you don’t want to) you can still enjoy the many benefits of canicrossing with your dog.
Don’t be put off by photos and videos of young people running flat out with their super fit dogs.
The beauty of canicross is that it is an accessible sport that anyone in theory can enjoy.
7. It’s too expensive
You may think that getting all the equipment is an expensive investment. But you can buy an entire set for the same price as a pair of trail shoes – and it will last much longer.
We created our popular Starter Set specially to make it affordable for people while still providing equipment of the highest quality and which we would only run in ourselves.
8. I don’t have time
Ah, this is the beauty of canicross!
If you have a dog you should have time to walk them so why not canicross instead?
Plus, why not substitute going down the gym for a canicross run….you will feel great for it afterwards and your dog will also thank you for it!
It’s such a fun, social sport so why not also arrange a group run with friends?
So I hope I’ve helped to address some of the common canicross myths. Please do comment below if you have any other suggestions or questions. Thanks 🙂