How to run with your dog
Here at Outdoor Look we're always interested to find out about new outdoor activities - and one of the fastest growing at the moment is Cani-Cross. This is a sport that sees dogs and their human owners running cross-country. It's a great activity for improving dog and owner fitness and also offers the opportunity to take part in a rising number of Cani-Cross events, from 2.5ks to 10ks to off-road marathon that place across the UK.
This week we joined an enthusiastic Cani-Cross trainer and runner, Lindsay, of Glasgow-based Cani-Fit, for a training run in Mugdock Country Park. She has just returned from a Cani-Cross event on the Black Isle, in the Scottish Highlands, where she and her dog, Suko, a large malamute, took gold.
The rise and rise of Cani-Cross as an outoors sport
Lindsay became a fan of Cani-Cross as a way to keep her dog fit and happy, and because she loves running in the great outdoors. She prefers longer distance runs - "I like slower and longer runner," she says - and is also keen on dog scootering. Suko is learning the art of pulling Lindsay on a scooter so that the pair can take part in dog scootering events.
Thanks to the use of a special dog harness that fits comfortably around the dog and keeps the lead from becoming entangled in their legs, and a padded waist harness for the owner, dog and human can run in unison. An elasticated style lead means that if dog or owner need to stop suddenly, neither one is jolted uncomfortably.
Suko’s breed, and others like him, require a lot of walking and they are perfectly suited to long-distanced runs with their owners. Most dog breeds are suitable for Cani-Cross although it can require a little training to ensure that dog and human run along happily together. The running distance of each dog will vary but many dogs love being able to lead their owners along countryside trails and up and down hills.
Lindsay says: “Cani-Cross is really taking off in the UK now, having come from Canada where it’s a huge sport. I have found many people are asking for information about harnesses and training their dogs, and the numbers of participants at Cani-cross events is rising.
“This is a great way to get fit, and it is also a fantastic workout for the dog. Recently I have started a Jog Scotland Cani-Cross training session in Glasgow and it has proved extremely popular.
“I think that more and more people are keen to find a new keep-fit session, and one that includes their dog. It just seems strange to me that people would take their dog on a short walk, go home and then go out again to exercise themselves at the gym or on a run. With people being so time-poor Cani-Cross is the answer to dog and owner fitness needs.”
What to wear for CaniCross
Apart from the dog and owner harnesses, little else is required in the way of equipment. People dress in their normal running clothing, and most wear off-road running shoes. During winter months it’s a good idea to wear a waterproof running jacket and running tights. If you’re running in a dimly lit area then brighter clothing is recommended.
Cani-Cross is a great evening activity, too. If you pop on a head torch it is possible to run on country trails in the dark and still benefit from dog and human exercise.
For details of how to train for Cani-cross, equipment, training and events see a number of websites including:
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