Canicross is a growing sport in the UK! It is cross country/trail running with dogs, where the human and canine form a team and run together. As with most sports, you can participate at any level, from run/walking around your favourite trails to joining the competitive structure and everything in between.
This group is part of Ludlow Runners, a small, friendly running club based in South Shropshire. As with the non-canine groups, runners of all abilities are welcome. If your dog is inspiring you to start running, this group is for you!
Canicross runs are included in the Ludlow Runners’ membership fee. If you’re not a member of Ludlow Runners and you would like to join us, you’re very welcome. The first two runs are free and after that, you can either join Ludlow Runners or pay £2.50/run.
Our aim is to slowly build fitness & stamina for you and your dog. While there’s no doubt that your dog can run, they need time to get used to the kit, build their fitness and stamina and learn a new way of running. This is significantly different to racing around a field chasing a ball and running off-lead.
It’s different for you too!
Throughout 2020, we will run at 9am, for an hour, on the first Sunday of every month. We can increase this and add more times/dates if group members are keen to run more often. The meeting points and routes will change so that we can keep life interesting and enjoy the awesome trails that South Shropshire has to offer. We encourage group members to share their favourite canicross routes and the meeting point will be emailed out in plenty of time before the run. We’ll email twice, at least, so you don’t have to rely on random posts popping up on social media!
It is not safe for a dog to run with a collar/lead combination. Every dog joining a club run must have a harness/short lead combination as a minimum, with the goal of having a canicross harness & bungee lead as soon as possible.
We understand that if you’re starting out in this sport that you might not have a specific canicross harness from the outset, but every dog MUST have a harness. For the dog’s comfort and safety while running it is best practice to have a running harness for your dog that isn’t used for daily walks. Your dog is still required, by law, to wear a collar with your name & address, including your postcode, on it or engraved on a tag, when in a public place. Your telephone number is optional, but we recommend you include it. We’re just not attaching a lead to that collar!
You will receive information on trusted kit suppliers in your welcome email and we’ll talk about the harnesses, bungee leads and running belts whenever you’re ready. As a canicross club registered with K9 Trail Time, group members can access a Ludlow Runners’ discount code which is included in the welcome email.
Your Canine Running Buddy
It won’t come as a surprise that the run is canine-focused and their welfare is paramount. This has to be something they’ll enjoy. If your dog doesn’t like canicross, being in groups of people and dogs or would just rather potter around the woods sniffing everything on their way, that’s ok! Canicross isn’t for everyone. If your dog does love running and needs some time to get used to running on lead in this way or be supported to run where other dogs & humans are running too, that’s ok! Talk to Marie before the session and your dog will be set up to succeed.
If you’d like to join us, please email Marie on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form. If you don’t get a reply within 48hrs something has gone wrong, please check your spam/junk folder and if you can’t see a reply, email again!
You will receive the welcome info and a disclaimer that we need you to complete and bring with you before your first session.
The Human Team
Marie, Sue and Ros have completed the Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course and are all run leaders with Ludlow Runners. As with everything linked to Canine Perspective, we’re learning from the dogs and you won’t find any of that pack leader nonsense here. We’re not a pack, we’re a social group!
Marie can answer your canine-related questions and will ensure that the dogs are set up to succeed; she’s a member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers, has been trained in canine first-aid (and strongly urges you to take a course, you can’t call an ambulance for your dog!) and can often be found doing interval training with her canine running buddy thanks to the local squirrel population.
Sue loves running with dogs, mainly because it’s a giggle-filled run and she believes it’s the best possible way to stay happy and healthy. Nobody can disagree with that! She’s a former paramedic so if you fall over, don’t worry, as soon as Sue has checked your dog is ok, she’ll be at your service!
Ros – on the right – loves nothing more than running with her cocker spaniels, Daisy & Poppy. She’s the person we rely on to ensure we don’t get lost – although we have been told that routes *could* go via cafes & pubs – and if you’re new to running, Ros is the perfect person to be around.
- Will I fall over if my dog is pulling?
- Maybe! It’s unlikely, but running on trails does bring an element of risk whether you’re attached to your dog or not. The correct kit will help mitigate this as you’ll have good running posture, you’ll be hands-free and you’ll be able to see where you’re running. Having cues for your dog, to be able to communicate when you’d like them to run, walk, stop, change direction etc will help to ensure you’re running as a team. We’ll learn more about the cues that are useful for canicross in the sessions.
- My dog is small and gets under my feet as I’m running, how can I stop this happening?
- You need to teach them how to run with you. We’ll cover this in the sessions so that your dog learns the skills they need and the cues that will help you both run together, injury-free.
- My dog
hates harnesses and has always run off-lead with me.
- For the safety of the humans and the dogs, all dogs must wear a harness and be on lead. You can teach your dog to wear a harness and feel comfortable running in one while on lead. Training plans to introduce harnesses to dogs can be provided so they’ll be happily running with you in no time.
- My dog pulls on the lead when we walk together, will this make him/her worse?
- You can teach your dog the cues they need to walk by your side when they need to and the cues they need to run and/or pull. We’ll cover the canicross cues in sessions and if you’d like to ensure you can teach your dog loose lead walking so they know the difference, a training guide can be provided.
- My dog doesn’t pull on the lead and I’d rather not teach him/her to do that.
- That’s fine! If your dog is comfortable running by your side (on lead), they don’t have to pull and you’ll just need to find the most appropriate position within the group you’re running with. This is all about participation; enjoying running with your dog is the aim.
- Can I bring my puppy?
- No! As a general rule, dogs need to be at least one (in human years!) before they start canicross. Different breeds and sizes of dogs develop at different rates so please check with your vet before bringing your dog to a club session.
- Is there an age-requirement for humans?
- Yes, as we’re part of Ludlow Runners, the group is for humans aged 16 and over.
- Can I run
with two dogs?
- Yes… but… you must have the canicross specific harness, belt and splitter lead for the safety of everyone concerned.
- Is there a restriction on breeds of dog?
- No, any dog can take part if they are healthy enough and if it’s something that they enjoy doing. We advise that brachycephalic dogs have a vet’s approval to start canicross, but the wellbeing of the dog is the responsibility of their human.
- My dog is anxious around other dogs but loves running, can we join a session?
- Yes! Please talk to Marie about the best way to ensure you and your dog can enjoy the session. Please have a something yellow on the dog’s harness/lead to show other people that you need space. There’s more about this in the welcome email.
We look forward to meeting you & your dog(s)!