At DogFit we are passionate about encouraging owners with reactive dogs to give canicross a try, even if their dog wears a muzzle. Not only does the sport help enormously with exercising, but it also helps build a bond and socialisation with other dogs.
The main concern from owners is that their dog is reactive and doesn’t mix well so won’t be able to canicross. However, the good news is that you can canicross with a dog wearing the correct type of muzzle.
Luna, who is featured in this blog, is a rescue dog and can be very reactive. Her owner Cat Burchill, canicrosses with her regularly and has done amazing work with Luna since she rescued her through Rescue Remedies in Guildford. Luna wears a Baskerville muzzle, which is made of lightweight rubber. It goes over the nose and fastens behind the head, with an adjustable strap to ensure a perfect fit. It’s soft and comfortable and allows her to drink and pant easily.
We asked Cat how she introduced the muzzle to Luna. It’s not something you can expect a dog just accept happily if they are not used to it.
“I muzzle trained her really slowly. First of all, I stood the muzzle up on the floor and used it like a bowl she ate all her meals from it. Sometimes as she was eating I’d put the straps up but not do them up. Then gradually progressed to doing it up, and undoing it. All while she was eating from it.
Then once she was happy to have it done up I covered it in peanut butter or liver paste and had her wearing it. There was a weird stage where she just stood still with it on. She didn’t realise she could move whilst wearing it.so then I had to encourage her to come a couple of steps to take a treat from me.
We spent some time with her wearing it in the house and from there progressed to walking outside. Once she was really comfortable and had fully accepted it, we started canicrossing with it on.
Lots of verbal reward too throughout the process.” Cat Burchill
At DogFit we actively support owners with rescue dogs to take up the sport. It can be the perfect answer and sometimes the only opportunity for their dogs to still enjoy a good run and burn off some energy.
Many of our customers with dogs that can’t be let off the lead, tell us that canicross has transformed their lives and that of their dogs – the dogs are both happier and more stimulated.
You can read more about our work with rescue dogs here.