We are often asked this question from people who are keen to start running with their dogs. They might already have a harness that they walk their dog in and assume that this will be suitable for Canicross.
It is really important that your dog is comfortable and wearing a suitable Canicross harness that will encourage him to pull forward for you both to enjoy the sport together. There are a number of reasons why you should not run your dog in a regular harness and we’ve covered key areas to consider.
Designed for Canicross
Always choose a harness that has been specifically designed for Canicross. There is a lot of research and testing by Canicross manufacturers to perfect the correct pulling points and padding on the harness. Whilst there are many different types available, they all designed to ultimately encourage your dog to pull into without restricting the natural movement.
Suitable for your dog
This is one of the most important points. It needs to be right for your dog, it’s breed and way of going. You may have been recommended a Canicross harness by a friend that likes a particular style, but this might not be suitable.
At DogFit we stock a range of harnesses to suit different dog body shapes and pulling power. You might have a GSP that is particularly strong pulling, and the same size Labrador, who needs to be encouraged to pull forward. They would be in different harnesses. You can also “over-harness” your dog with one that is technical with too many straps and buckles. This can have a detrimental effect and might encourage your dog to fall behind.
If you would like some a free personal harness consultation to help you find the right one for your dog. Please click here to find out more.
Does not restrict shoulder movement or have a horizontal strap across the chest.
There are many harness on the market that have a horizontal strap that goes across the dogs shoulders. This restricts the natural movement of the front legs and is also usually marketed as an “anti-pull” harness. Prolonged use could potentially cause injury and this type is definitely not for Canicross!
We want to encourage our dogs to pull forward and in order to do this they need full range of movement.
Does not obstruct airways
Look for a harness that sits well around your dog’s neck and does not obstruct airways in any way. There are different styles for the neck area depending on the type of harness. Whilst dogs can be very excited initially, they should settle and be breathing normally and not gasping.
Know your dog
Ultimately you also know your dog best. Does he look comfortable, is he running well and happy?