Canicross – How to run safely with your dog

Posted by Gail Walker, 4th March 2022

More and more people are taking up Canicross – the best way, in our humble opinion, to exercise with your dog.


So what exactly is Canicross and what equipment do you need?

Canicross is hands-free trail running with your dog. It is the most fun way to enjoy getting fit together but there is so much more to it…keep reading to find out 🙂

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Better still, you only need three affordable items to get started!

  1. A running belt for you
  2. A harness for your dog
  3. A bungee line

That’s it!

The lightweight running belt is purposely designed to sit low on the top of your bottom as opposed to around your waist. It comes with fixed, adjustable leg straps. As a result, any pull from your dog will come through the hips guaranteeing comfort and preventing injury to your back.

The dog wears a specially designed and properly fitted Canicross harness. This is built for comfort, efficiency and injury prevention. The attachment for the line (which we come onto next) is on the dog’s harness. This is important because the pull comes through the dog’s back and shoulders rather than having a lead yanking at its neck. To help you get the right fit, we have sizing guides on our product pages or you can complete our short and simple Personal Canicross Kit Questionnaire, which you can find here. We will then get back to you with a personal recommendation.

The bungee running line attaches the two of you to each other; one end should be attached to your belt and the other to your dog’s harness. It is a very important piece of equipment as it helps absorb any shock from the pull of your dog, so you get a nice, comfortable pull. It also means your dog is not getting constant resistance. The idea is that you run together with your dog leading the way out in front. Of course, you are then able to run hands-free so your running gait and style is not negatively impacted which is so important for injury prevention.


Why can’t you just run your dog on a collar (or harness) and lead? 

At DogFit we always put the welfare of our customers and their dogs first which is why we don’t advocate or encourage running with your dog through any other means. That includes using a lead or line attached to your dog’s collar or your dog’s harness. Either of those methods can, and most likely will, cause temporary or worse still long-lasting injury to you and/or your dog. Which is why we are strongly opposed to Parkrun’s policy that states that people taking part with their dog must use a short, handheld, non-extendable lead and have their dog close to their side. This is not practical and not safe.


What other benefits are there to running with my dog?

Canicross is more than just running with your dog. It is a great way to build a bond and relationship with your dog as not only are you attached to each other but your dog is listening out for commands so communication and encouragement is key.

It is also ideal for dogs with high energy levels, behavioural/socialisation issues or that simply cannot be let off the lead for whatever reason. We have many customers who have found this to be an invaluable way to socialise their dogs – not only do they benefit from running with other dogs in a group but they quickly pick up verbal commands, and this all helps build a special bond.

Canicross also has a profound effect on our customers’ own lives. For many it has helped with their mental as well as physical well-being  – being part of a social group of like-minded people helps motivate them and offers incredible support. You can read more about the special connection people have with Canicross via our popular My Story series. These are real people talking about their real and personal  experiences.


How do I find out more about Canicross?

We have a host of information on our website as well as on our social media channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We have over 50 DogFit Trainers located across the UK (and also overseas) who offer dedicated introduction classes, couch to 5k courses, more advanced classes, drop in social sessions and more. They are all Certified Canicross instructors who come from the fitness and/or dog industry with experience in coaching and delivering this wonderful sport in a fun, safe and effective way. They are also experts when it comes to the Canicross equipment so they can help you and your dog to get started.


A bit about DogFit and why we’re here to help you.

The team at DogFit are passionate about encouraging and supporting people and their dogs to get fit together in a fun, safe and social way. We welcome everyone and believe that you don’t have to be a runner or be super fit to enjoy taking part in this great sport. We celebrate the achievements of every Canicrosser whether they want to jog 1k or run a marathon. 

We supply quality equipment to ensure the safety and comfort of those taking part and, as a partner of The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), we also provide a network of Certified Canicross Trainers across the UK to help people and their dogs reach their goals, whatever they may be. 

We take great pride in designing and manufacturing our own apparel following stringent testing and feedback. We manufacture our DogFit Canicross kit in the UK and purposely made it both high quality and affordable to encourage more people to take part and we also offer advice on the appropriate equipment to ensure our customers walk away with the product that is right for them and their dog,

We are proud to be leading the way in this fast growing sport and to offer advice and guidance to ensure everyone feels welcome and motivated to take part. 


Still not convinced?

Hear from some of our customers why they love Canicross so much…

We hope to see you on the trails soon…Carry On Canicrossing 🙂

8 responses to “Canicross – How to run safely with your dog

  1. James Salmon says:

    100% agree!

  2. Nicky Grace says:

    Absolutely agree – safest way to run for you and your dog

  3. Gail Walker says:

    Hi James. Thank you for taking the time to read our article & comment – it’s much appreciated.

  4. Gail Walker says:

    Hi Grace. Thank you so much for posting – it’s much appreciated.

  5. Lisa Hurry says:

    I was worried when a running friend of mine told me I could no longer run with my canicross purchase from DogFit, although I don’t run parkrun as it’s short distance and too hectic. Thankfully I found out by talking to people at a trail half marathon event at QECP that it was only parkrun. Back in September 2021 I fell over my GSP as I was holding him on a lead and broke my finger therefore canicross waist bungee and line only safe way. Parkrun rules very worrying for those running with dogs. I love my DogFit system. No other way for me and Chester. One happy customer of DogFit. Highly recommend. Lisa Hurry

    1. Gail Walker says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you for your message, kind words & for helping to spread the word about the safety of our equipment. Happy Canicrossing 🙂

  6. Becci Shaw says:

    Since I brought a canicross lead harness etc I’ve never looked back. It is easy for me and my dog to run together safely and to enjoy our time out together.

    1. Gail Walker says:

      Thanks for your message Becci. Hear, hear! 🙂

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