Month: May 2019

An Introduction to Canicross

Canicross

Canicross is the sport of trail running with your dog. It grew out of the northern sleddog sports, as a way to keep their dogs fit over the summer months when there wasn’t much snow on the ground. Now it is fast becoming a sport in its own right!

It is a real team effort, with the human driving from behind and your canine partner pulling from the front.

Canicross Equipment

Specialist equipment is required to connect the 2 of you together. You will require a waist belt for yourself, a sporting harness for your dog and an elasticated bungee line running between you both.

The importance of correctly fitting kit cannot be over emphasised.  This will enable you to participate safely & comfortably, getting the most from your outings. Canicross harnesses are designed to be pulled into and promote freedom of movement in the dog, while ensuring breathing is in no way restricted.

Canicross – Getting Started

Once out on the trails, it’s a good idea to teach your dog some basic commands that will help you navigate safely through your surroundings together. Stop or steady, go, left & right are a good place to start!

You don’t have to be a fast runner, and any breed of dog can have a go, as long as they are at least a year old. Asking a dog to pull in harness for you before they are fully grown, can do permanent damage to their developing joints. Different breeds mature at different rates, but always err on the side of caution and check with your vet if you are unsure.

Social and Physical Benefits For You and your Dog

We think there is no better way to explore the great outdoors! Canicross will help keep both you and your dog physically fit.  Including mentally stimulated as you learn something new together. As a training exercise, it can help to strengthen the bond you have with your pooch, while also providing a healthy outlet for high energy dogs to let off a little steam.

It’s also proven popular for owners with reactive dogs. Providing them something else to focus on can often help distract them from situations that may otherwise have caused a reaction. Additionally, your dog remains attached to you at all times.  Allowing even those dogs with poor recall or high prey drive to get out and stretch their legs.

Most importantly, it’s accessible to everybody! Whether you want to tootle round your local park on a weekend (most parkruns allow canicrossers these days), perhaps enter competitions across the country, or anywhere in between then this is the sport for you!  However, do take caution in the warmer summer months, temperature is an important factor to consider. It is essential to respect the welfare of your dogs and ensure plenty of drinking water is available for them.

DogFit have made it their mission to bring canicross to you.   In fact they have trained up dog & fitness professionals across the country to offer canicross taster sessions and training somewhere near you! They also have an online store selling a whole range of tried & tested canicross equipment. Head on over to DogFit to find out more!

LeanDog Can Support Your Dog’s Fitness

Fuel your dog’s drive and enthusiasm with LeanDog grain free premium dog food.  The perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals will ensure your dog has the stamina and drive for their next adventure. Check out our LeanBlog  Healthy dog food benefits and for nutritional information and ingredients you will find more information at Our Food.

Final Thoughts

Most importantly Canicross is about having fun and being fit and healthy with your dog. There are so many fantastic benefits for you both to experience, whether you choose to power walk, run on your own or join a group. Run for fun or compete alongside others.  The level and pace is really up to you and your canine companion.

Not only will you both explore the great outdoors more, but there is the opportunity to be enjoying increased fitness and wellbeing.

Thank you to Emily Gelipter, DogFit certified canicross trainer, for sharing advice and photos.

If you have a way of keeping active with your dog and would like to share it with us, would love to hear from you.

Roz 🐕🏃‍♀️

Adventures With Your Dog

Exercise is just as important for dogs as it is for humans.  Taking your dog on a couple of walks a day around your local park is okay, however what if you want to be more adventurous, what is there to do with your dog?

Camping With Your Dog

A camping trip with your dog is a fantastic experience that you can both enjoy. This is a great opportunity where you can adventure together experiencing the delights of new walks, parks and beaches.  Enabling you both to enjoy your holiday together.

There are plenty of dog friendly campsites within the UK, providing suggestions of where you can visit with your four-legged friend once you are there. If in doubt checkout Camping and Caravanning Club

If this is the first time camping with your dog, you may wonder what is best to bring along for them. This checklist will help keep you right.

Feeding your dog when camping

Dry complete dog food certainly is the most convenient and if possible, store in a sealed container. (Keeps away any unwanted visitors). Always try and keep to your usual feeding routin. Therefore minimising any anxiousness. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water available for them too, especially out on adventures. A bottle of water is essential for keeping you both hydrated.

Camping Rules for Dogs

Make sure you have your poo bags handy. Respect camp rules and clean as you go. Most campsites always require your dog to be on a lead, no longer than 2m or 6ft long. Their rules will be on their website.

The benefits of your dog joining you on your camping adventure are many.  Not only will you be saving on boarding costs, but you you will be enjoying your adventures together.

The Lakes

The Lake District is probably one of the most dog friendly areas in the UK.  Even just walking round one of the small towns, it’s obvious just how much dogs are appreciated and welcomed.

If you’re thinking about a weekend away with your family, dog included, then Windermere might just be the perfect destination. Walking round lake Windermere is the perfect way to take in the beautiful view.  Also plenty grassy areas for a game of fetch and pebble ‘beaches’ perfect for pebble skimming. You and your dog will definitely appreciate the fresh air.

If you’re visiting Windermere as a family, then why not visit Brockhole.  This not-for-profit attraction features gardens, tree top adventures, an adventure playground, exhibition areas and a café.  Most importantly though, it is dog friendly! There are a few limitations, as dogs aren’t allowed into the play areas, but Brockhole is sure to please everyone.  Including your dog!

Geocaching

If you’re after something a bit more adventurous why not give Geocaching a try? Perfect for families with young children or even adults who are still children at heart.  This world wide treasure hunting game is sure to keep you all busy.

Start by simply downloading the app onto your phone and entering your location. You will then be given coordinates and hints which will ultimately lead you to a small treasure. Often these ‘treasures’ contain items, which you can swap for your own.

Geocaching will get you out and about, no matter where you are, in a city or in the countryside.

National Parks are absolute hubs for Geocaching, and even more perfect for taking your dog on an adventure. With trails for all abilities and even camping facilities at some sites.  Your dog will absolutely love a day out or even weekend away at one of these parks.

Obviously National Parks have rules which dog owners have to obey.  However these are completely understandable guidelines that responsible dog owners will unconsciously follow without prompts.  Such as keeping your dog on a lead near sheep and other animals and cleaning up after your dog.

Conclusion

There are tonnes of adventures you can go on with your dog around the UK, the majority of which are free, easily accessible and perfect for a full family day out.

What has been your favourite dog friendly adventure? We would love to get some inspiration from you.

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