Gearing up for cani-cross

Cani-cross, or cani cross, is gaining traction as a fun and competitive fitness event for humans and dogs to share. Currently, I am training my young Lab mix for this pursuit, and we are having a blast together. In fact, each time I take her along for a jaunt, we trim at least a minute and a half per mile off my regular training pace. This high-energy pup makes a super fitness trainer!

We’re aiming for a cani-cross trail race in early December. Our training needs to include both fitness conditioning and dog-to-dog socialization, because we are sure to encounter plenty of peppy pooches on the trail!

What is cani-cross?

Cani-cross (also called dog joring) is cross-country running with a canine. Essentially, the runner completes the trail course with a harnessed dog (or multiple dogs) attached to his or her waist belt (usually with a bungee leash). This sport is growing rapidly in popularity, with pet owners training dogs of countless breeds to participate.

The sport of cani-cross is similar to bike joring, dog sledding, and ski joring (which may be led by either a dog or a mounted horse). 


What gear is needed for cani-cross?

The beginning gear requirements are pretty simple. Cani-cross is a hands-free sport, so an appropriate trekking belt is a must. Mine has handy pockets to hold my smart phone, a water bottle, and some treats for me and my dog. (Watch for a product review to come.)

Most cani-cross participants choose to put pulling harnesses on their dogs, rather than traditional dog collars, as this helps to prevent tugging or choking dangers, especially when dogs feel like running faster. A cani-cross harness may feature chest-plate padding and multiple adjustable straps, perhaps criss-crossed over the dog’s back. Sturdy snap buckles are a plus.

A bungee leash offers extra flexibility and safety, especially if it comes with quick-release snap clips at both ends. If the stretchy leash comes with a loop handle at one end, rather than a second snap, a standard carabiner clip can be added.

A double-dog lead is handy, if one is running with a pair of canines.

Cani-cross equipment may be purchased separately or in multi-product sets.

In addition to the dog-related equipment, cani-cross runners will also need suitable athletic footwear (such as trail sneakers) and appropriate reflective gear.

Cross-country running is extra fun with a canine companion!

Cani-cross photos – Creative Commons Licensing
Cani-cross artwork adapted by this user
from public domain artwork
for product pictured here.
Fair use

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