I’ve recently found it a bit of an effort to get into my running gear and get going. I’ve found that- like many people- I don’t run nearly as well and am more tempted to walk when it gets even a bit too tough when I run alone! It was so easy to just plod along the single track in a 10- strong group of people in the trail race I did. When running alone, there’s no one to see me walk so it just gets that much more tempting!
I have a 5- year old Labrador Retriever, Dino. I’ve never really thought about bringing him with me to the trails and lately I’ve realized how ridiculous it is. I have an active breed and I’m not even taking him for runs with me? As I’ve mentioned, we own horses and I ride almost every day. In the colder seasons I do like to take Dino with me for rides. He’ll trot alongside my horse (at a safe distance) and he just absolutely loves it! Other than that, he’s never been running with anyone. He’s normal weight but isn’t too used to running- type exercise and since labs are suuuper prone to get joint issues I’ve maybe just thought that long runs on difficult terrain might not be the best for him.
That all changed when I randomly discovered this sport called canicross. You may be asking yourself ’’wait, I thought this was a blog discovery post?’’ Hold on, I’ll get there. canicross is a sport where the runner is pulled by one or two dogs that are attached to the runner from their special harnesses by a bungee. Canicross was developed in Europe for training sled dogs in ’’dry land’’ conditions. Other sports with the same idea are bikejoring (dog pulls bike and rider cross- country), skijoring (during winter obviously) and scootering (you get the basic idea).
Obviously I had to look into all the details, intrigued as I was. While the sport has gained heaps of new interest (mainly in Europe), it’s not that easy to find too much info about. How do I know what pace is easy enough for my dog to start off on? How do I teach my dog to pull at the speed I want and in the right direction? How can I participate in races? Where do I find the gear? Do I have to reconsider my dog’s nutrition? As my dog is a Labrador (aka canis lupus nutcaseous) I can promise you he will run till he drops if I let him so I’ll have to be super careful not to injure him. Also, if I can’t control him properly, he is guaranteed to pull me straight into the closest body of water 🙂
I found a website aptly named ’’K9 of Mine’’ while browsing for answers and I have never seen such a thorough website for dog owners! K9 of Mine was founded my now- CEO Meg Marrs because she wanted to help new dog owners find answers to the questions she had when she got her first dog. Other team members include Ben Team (dog owner and professional writer) and trainer/ behavioral expert Kayla Fratt.
At K9 of Mine you will find an answer to almost any question you could possibly have. Even if you don’t yet have a dog, worry not, for K9 of Mine even has breed recommendations and advice for choosing the right breed for you. Other topics include nutrition, training, product reviews (from dog food to toys to training gear), canine health and grooming.
This is a bit of a confusing ’’Blog Discovery’’ since K9 of Mine isn’t specifically about canicross but a general advice site for all dog lovers and owners. I feel like often we don’t even think about our four- legged companions’ specific needs too much because ’’it’s just a dog’’ or ’’as long as it haves food, water and shelter it’ll be happy’’ and the same goes for cats. As a horse owner, I think most horse owners know a lot more about horses than many dog owners know about dogs? I don’t know, I just feel like a horse seems like such a huge investment and they are thought to demand so much more from the owner compared to house pets that people usually don’t get horses with absolute zero knowledge. Man, where is this post going?
I wanted to pick one specific article from K9 of Mine to share and that is the canicross/ bikejoring/ skijoring article the link at the top leads to. As far as I know, canicross isn’t very popular in the US and as that’s where most of my readers are from, I really wanted to inform you people that this glorious sport is a thing. Quite a big thing, actually. They have international competitions all the way up to the World Championships and it is considered an official sled dog sport. I will most definitely be writing quite a bit about it as I delve deeper into the world of canicross. I just need to get my belt, bungee and harness first!