Hey guys, Luna here! As I told you in our previous blog post, you will need a specific equipment if you want to actively practice canicross and enjoy it injury-free for both you and your dog.
So here are the different pieces of equipment you will need to invest in.
The first thing you need for your dog, and the most important one, is a specific harness. The harnesses you would find at the pet store would not be adapted to this activity. When us dogs are pulling, a lot of muscles and joints are solicited. So you don’t want us to be injured. You will also need a harness that does not block your dog’s moves.
The most common canicross harness is called X Back harness. The simple reason for its name is that it has an X shape in your back. Easy, right?! That shape is perfect for canicross, mushing, bikejoring, skijoring, dryland mushing… So you only need to invest in one good quality harness and then you can do all those fun activities! Cool eh? (Yeah I told you I was Canadian).
The one I have comes from Nahak Sports. Here is the link for mine.
It is made in a non abrasive material, that does not soak into water. So it stays light in the summer, and does not freeze in the winter.
Now, a good harness is great, but it won’t work if it does not fit your dog well. My pawrents were a bit concerned as they wanted to buy my harness when I was 8 months, so they knew I would still grow in. So far it is the perfect size! If needed, they’ll buy the next size.
Nahak Sports has some really good sizing chart and explains you how to take the measurements on that link: https://www.nahaksports.com/en/dog-harness-sizing/
The next thing you will need is a bungee leash. This is an elastic leash, that will absorb any impact on both you and your human. It prevents any back injury for your human, and joints injury for the dog.
You can always try to run with a regular leash if you want to see your human fly at any impact, but I would not recommend it 🙂
The one I have from Nahak Sports is this one. It is 1.25m long, 4.1ft, which is the official length for canicross competitions.
Again, you can try to run holding the leash in your hand, but it would be pretty tedious and not recommended.
To run hand-free, the belt is the best. There are two types of canicross belts: one is more like a traditional belt, and you have the other one which is called double traction.
My pawrents chose to have the double traction one. The difference will be that this one will have straps that will come around your thighs. Thanks to those straps, you will feel more comfy running. It will prevent the belt from moving up to your hips, and will give you a better stability.
Again, ours are from Nahak Sports. My pawrents chose to have each their own belts, as they will be both running with me and are not the same size. This way it will not damage the straps by constantly moving them to adjust to each individual size. They have their own which is already fitted to their body. Mom has the Aqua one because she wants to run in style. Dad is like whatever that’s just a belt 🙂
Those 3 elements are the basics you need for canicross.
Here are some extra equipment you could use:
A good pair of running shoes
Because the impact when running with your buddy will be slightly different from the ones when you run by yourself, you need to make sure you have a good pair of running shoes. Also, you will most likely run with your dog on trails rather than in the city. So once again, a good pair of trail running shoes will be better to prevent any injury.
First, you will need water for you, human, as you need to remember to stay hydrated. But most importantly, you will need water for your furry friend. Running is a great exercice, but he will need to stay hydrated. This advice goes for every season, not only in Summer. You can find a lot of options to carry water: a water backpack, a bottle with a hand strap, or some bags that will go on your belt. We got the water bottle bag that goes on our belt from Nahak Sports, but have not tried it yet as we did not go too far so the other human always had a bottle of water in his backpack.
When you run with your dog, you want to avoid crowds, so you may want to go running early in the morning or late at late. Same for the Summer runs, to avoid the heat, you will want to go early or late, once the sun is down.
I think that would be the equipment you would need to start canicross. I would suggest not to go for the cheapest option, but choose a good quality. This is to prevent injuries, and have better quality that will last you longer.
Let us know what other brands you use in the comments!