The simple answer is, no not always. Running with your dog can be a fantastic way to stay active and bond with your four-legged friend. However, not all forms of running with your dog can be classified as "canicross." Many people will be surprised to learn that there is a distinction between the two. This blog post aims to shed light on the difference between running with your dog and engaging in canicross. Understanding this difference is crucial as it can impact the gear you use and ensure you have the right setup for both you and your dog.
Some might say that it doesn't really matter to that it might be considered elitest to say there is a difference. And, does it really matter, you are both still out getting active, spending time together and doing something your both enjoy? But, where is really matters is down to the right kit selection. Basically you don't need canicross gear when you dog is running alongside.
What is Canicross? To begin, let's define canicross. Canicross is a specific sport that involves running or jogging with your dog, but it goes beyond just having your dog running alongside you. In canicross, you and your dog are connected with a specialised harness and bungee line. The line is attached to a waist belt worn by the runner, and the dog wears a harness and your dog is towing/pulling you along and adding assistance to your running. This setup allows for efficient, safe, and comfortable running, with both runner and dog working together as a team.
The origins of canicross is from mushing teams and skijorers that need to continue exercising thier dogs in a harness durning the seasons when there is not snow. Harness them up, take the dogs for a run and canicross was born.
Running With Your Dog: The basic approach on the other hand, when people start running with their dogs, they might envision a more casual and straightforward setup. This involves taking their dog out for a jog, walk, or run without the specialised gear used in canicross. While it's a great way to enjoy outdoor exercise together, it is not strictly canicross.
The Distinction: Gear and Setup. The primary distinction between running with your dog and canicross lies in the gear and setup and how your dog is running. Canicross requires specific equipment, including a running harness for your dog and a waist belt with a bungee line for you. This design ensures that both you and your dog can maintain a comfortable pace and reduce the risk of injury. If you are running with your dog on a slack line and your dog is not towing then firstly a running harness will not sit correctly on your dog as it is designed to sit correctly when towing and secondly a comfortable walking harness will work best.
Canicross Benefits. Engaging in canicross offers several benefits. Firstly, the bungee line reduces the impact on both you and your dog's joints, making it a safer activity for both of you. Secondly, canicross promotes teamwork and strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. The shared activity can also improve your dog's behavior, as it provides mental and physical stimulation.
Running With Your Dog: A Different Approach While running with your dog without the specialised gear and your dog running alongside on a slack line or leash isn't technically canicross, it can still be an enjoyable and beneficial activity. It is especially suitable for dogs that don't pull excessively or those with health conditions that may prevent them from engaging in the more vigorous canicross.
Adapting to Your Dog's Preference It's worth mentioning that your dog might have a say in how you run together. Some dogs may naturally pull and enjoy the structure of canicross, while others might prefer a more leisurely pace by your side. It's essential to observe your dog's behavior and adapt your running style to their comfort and enjoyment.
The simple answer to the question "Is running with your dog always canicross?" is no. While running with your dog is an excellent way to stay active together, canicross involves a specific gear setup that enhances the experience for both the runner and the dog. Just remember that running with your dog alongside or at the very least on a slack leash does not need canicross gear. A good walking hanress like the Ruffwear Front Range or Hurtta Venture are very good options and a hands free waist belt like the Ezydog Road runner are very capable options. However, both forms of running have their merits, and the choice between the two depends on your preferences and your dog's inclination. Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is to enjoy the time spent with your loyal companion and make the most of your outdoor adventures together. Happy running!