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Ruff Dugger & The Cani-Fit Experience

The weekends adventures were brought to you by Cani-Fit with the assistance of a whole load of mud, lots of giggles, smiley friendly people and happy and healthy dogs!

Day 1 - Ruff Dugger

By Sue Weeks and Rickyjim


Some of the Photos were kindly provided by Kenny Girvan

Some of the photos have been borrowed from CSE’s very own Liz Taylor; a key support crew member at all canicross races and one of our unsung heros!! (sorry Liz, I didn’t ask, please forgive me –  Ali)


Mud mud glorious mud nothing quite like it for cooling the blood ???   Well kinda sums up the first part of the course on Saturday @Boswells Coach House Auchinleck !!! 

I arrived @ the venue in Benny Bongo with my pack of 6 dogs and anxiously waited for the fun to unfold over the weekend !!! Being a Campervan virgin !!!!!! I knew it could only be fun and even more fun ??  It was!!!

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I went out looking for any of our group and managed to find Tina and Sergio and hairy dog !! I feel so bad cant remember your name …owner of the lovely hairy dog !!!!! Ruby GSD also arrived with Allison and Robin.There was still no sign of the Beagle brigade ..Wendy and Heather !!!!

I’d been told to bring Duck Tape and scissors with me to hold my trainers on !!!! Is it duck or duct tape I ask myself ???!!!!!   Never used it though !!!!! Maybe should’ve because the mud was up to your thighs !!! Honestly would I lie to you???

So all systems go and wee Rickyjim in his go fast orange harness and shoes tied on extra tight, we went to the start !!! RickyJim as usual hyper and barking frantically !!!!Off we shot across a field and then disaster happened ! My belt slipped down to my thighs and somebody shouted ………..You cant have lost so much weight ….youve only just started !!!!! Well pulled it up and ran on red faced but laughing !!!

Once into the wood , we hit the Mega Mud bath bit !!!! Oh boy was it deep ! People were floundering all around me ! Me too!!!! Rickyjim just tootled on top !!!! The more I laughed .the deeper i went in ! Heather and Wendy were ahead with their beagles and totally were in the thick of it !!Lots of super kind folk helped them I think!!

 Got through this Mud Bath only to be confronted with a muddy trench with steep sides ! No escape ! I ran through and wee Rickyjim ran on the side ! Smart dog ???

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I remember a gorge we ran through and lots of tree trunks to negotiate ! The little legs of wee Rickyjim struggled @ times but he kept going !!!  

Lots of water to cross or carried across if you’re small like Ricky and rocky bits and the odd hill or 2 !!!!

 When we got to the finish we were awarded a prize for being a super Muddy pair !!!! I absolutely loved it and it was better than I expected it to be !!!! Not sure about wee Rickyjim !!!!!! Chips and cheesy chips and burgers went down really well afterwards !!!!! 

I’m certain I’ll be back for the next one with my wee friend Rickyjim ??


P.S  Forgot to say it’s a cold water hose pipe by the cow sheds for you to clean off the mud !!!! Rickyjim didn’t approve !!!! Baby wipes did come in very useful !!!!

Day 2 – Cani-Fit Experience

Ok, Sunday was the end of the first Scottish Canicross Championship Races !!!!! A big day for many as this was the last race in the championship series!! No pressure then ??!!!!

My lovely black greyhound Amelie and I had entered in the wee 3k race !!! It was Amelies first race and so we were both feeling scared !! I wondered if she would run or like @ Vogrie tootle along as if she had her high heels on !!!!


Before we ran, it was the turn of the bikes and scooters to go and the 5k race folk !!! I’m soooo impressed with the bikers and scooter folk !!! Crazy to attach yourself to these and then go through rivers ?? Many had fun coming off and getting wet but got up laughing ! One lady had designer mud spattered all over her face like freckles !!!

Serious running in the 5k………Michelle Littlejohn was excited to be running both her beagles !!! John had slept in his newly acquired van with Junior and appeared to be refreshed and raring to go ? All in all, all were up for it!!!!!! 

When our turn came Amelie set off with her high heels on and tootled !!!! She drank from every puddle and was generally very relaxed and calm !!! She loves water so crossing a wide river meant PLAYTIME !!! She goofed around in it and generally had a ball !!!! She did have a final sprint at the end cheered on by the people at the finish line ! Its all about fun they say and Amelie proved this to all !!!  

It was a treat to have burgers and chips and salad rolls again !!! Coffee went down well to!  Always a time to chat and see how everyone found their race and the course !The cold hose pipe was still by the cow shed if you needed a clean up !!!! I did the trainers only on this day having learnt from yesterday how cold the water was !!!! 

The prize giving was well worth the wait !! Wee silver cups were given out to the Champions and the Podium was well used ! Well done Team Red for collecting so many prizes ! I’m glad I stayed to see you all collect your cups and trophy pictures !!!! Brilliant !!! 

Surprise of the day was Amelie and me got a 3rd for Newcomers class !!! Bless her !!!! even if she did insist on tootling along with her heels on!!! What a Diva !!!


Journey home was the scenic route and rolling hills ! Exhausted all of us …….6 dogs and me slept oh so soundly after a good scrub in the shower !!!! Must do it all again soon ??? 

P.S  A big shout out to John who saved me when my Benny Bongos battery was flat !!! Luckily he had jump leads and got me up and running again !! Eternally grateful thanks !

Note from CSE committee, Sue Weeks joined us in September 2015 and since then she has added a ray of sunshine to the clubJ




Nervous Maggie conquers her fear and loves Canicross!!

My name is Maggie and I’m a one year old Border Terrier…..and I get really nervous about everything!!! I can’t control my anxiety and show it by barking a lot!!! Woof Woof

canicross Maggie 1

I live with my humans and two big brothers Moss and Inness who have been doing Canicross for a while. It was my 1st Birthday in August so my human took me to Canicross at Dalkeith so I could have a go and I loved it… after a few practices we entered a race!

On the day of the race my human’s friend picked us up and I got to ride in a van with Meeko the Husky!! I didn’t know what to make of him so I barked at him a few times…Woof Woof!! We went to a place called Coalsnaughton where there were loads of other dogs and people….the most I have ever seen! Woof Woof

My human got me ready and put my special purple harness on.  Once Inness was ready my human took us to the start line. This was hard for me as there were so many other dogs and people and I made a lot of noise!

Then it was our turn to run and I was ready. Inness knows how to do Canicross so I followed him…..up to the start line…..3…2…1….GO! Woof Woof Woof! We were off running as fast as our paws could take us….we could go faster but we have to pull our human who only has two paws and is a bit slow!

Up the hill….down the hill….past the photographer….Woof Woof. I loved it!!! I just concentrated on running. Then another dog stopped for a drink in front of us, but it was ok cause my human told me to keep running so I did and it was easy! Before I knew it we were sprinting for the finish line…..hike hike hike!!

My human gave me a drink and told us we were amazing puppies and I felt really good, I managed the whole race without getting nervous and barking at other dogs and people.

After the race I got to meet some other dogs and even got a bit of bacon….Yum Yum. I did so well that my human brought me back the next day and I got to do it all again!! This time we went even faster!!!  We even won a rosette and a bag of treats as part of the winning female team for Cani-Sports Edinburgh!!

At the end of the weekend once a lot of people had gone home I went for a wee walk with my new Collie friends Jura, Tiree, Finn, Buddy and Bex!! I was so brave and by the end was running around playing chase with them all. Buddy kept me in line and brought me back to my human when I got too far away! Woof Woof! I can’t wait for the next race and I’ve told my human that she needs to keep practicing so we can go even faster!!

Canicross Maggie 2Serious Bit….

Maggie was rehomed after the family she was with could no longer look after her. She has developed an anxiety problem and is wary of all other dogs and a lot of people. She often hides behind her two older brothers and vocalises her fear by barking. She is relatively new to Canicross but it has helped her immensely over the last couple of weeks and hopefully this will continue.

The world of Canicross is full of tolerant understanding people who accommodate other dogs even with issues and offer assistance and advice so if you were thinking of coming along to a run or race and have a dog that has any problems please do come….it can make a world of difference!


Important Dates


Some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

Some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

NEW CSE MEMBERSHIP YEAR 2018/2019 – 1st May 2018 – 31st April 2019

From ABOUT 15th April 2018 Membership will open
Club membership for Cani-Sports Edinburgh 2018-2019 season will open on Entry Central. The prices will remain the same as previous membership years. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help the committee out by renewing your membership or signing up for the first time during these two weeks and BEFORE the 1st May 2018, this helps with administration enormously!

1st May 2018 marks the start of the new Membership year
This is the start of the new club season 2018 – 2019, anyone attending club runs who has not renewed their membership will be required to pay the £1 per run. But I’m sure you will all be extremely organised and have signed up already during the two week period in April as kindly requested.


some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

More information to follow
Between 23rd May 2018 and 7th June 2018, all those wishing to put themselves forward for the committee for the 2018/2019 period are requested to e-mail the secretary Jane Irvine at  and simply state that you intend to volunteer for the committee 2018/2019. Following on from the amendments made to the constitution there is no limit on committee member numbers, we ask that you check out the information on the website here (please scroll down to the bottom) and consider volunteering for this very rewarding role.

You may be new to CSE – you can still join the committee! You may be new to running – that is irrelevant. You just need to have an abundance of enthusiasm, love CSE and be passionate about canicross and dogs, it is also quite important that you like cake! 


Sunday 17th June 2018
More information to follow
All club members are invited to attend the AGM, which will be followed by a wee social, so stay for a beverage or two. Unfortunately , this is just for hoomans and not dogs 

Venue: Woodland Creatures, 260-262 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 5EL
Time: 4pm

During the AGM the 2018-2019 membership year will be reviewed and the new committee will be agreed and welcomed, if you plan to volunteer to be on the committee but cannot make the AGM, do not worry, you can be voted in in your absence. Following on from the amendments made to the constitution there is no limit on committee member numbers, we ask that you read the information and consider volunteering for this very rewarding role.

At this point some members will stand down from the committee :-(


CSE Race Review – Take 1

CSE Foxlake Race Report, inspired by Junior and written by John McCausland

John and Junior, photo courtesy  of Yellow Dog Photography

John and Junior, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography

After a week of storms, wind and heavy rain, I checked the weather forecast for Foxlake, East  Lothian one last time on Saturday evening. Heavy rain again from 9am! My overnight bag just tripled in size with the addition of spare socks, a change of clothes, waterproofs and a few towels for race day. Off we went to Dunbar for an overnight to get a good rest before an early start (for us!).

Sunday morning we arrived at John Muir Country Park greeted by three majestic Deer crossing the single track road towards part of the race course. That was Junior alert and ready to run! Arriving in good time, we got a warm welcome from Lan and Lisa and picked up our race number, followed by a slice of fantastic millionaires shortbread, which I got a few comments about! It’s a millionaire’s energy bar, right?! We said hello to all out CSE friends as well as other Beagle buddies and familiar faces including the ever mischievous Rogue Dog and Rogue Pup. But something was missing. No Rain! Somehow we had found virtually the only break in the weather for the whole

Then off to get kitted up and to the start line! I have to say that I was a little worried looking at the standard of four and two-legged athletes we were flanked by while lining up for the off. But when we approached the orange line and were given the count down, it was all about us: Junior and I running as a team, racing against ourselves… And the course!

The Course! What a joy! Starting with a boggy dip to a short incline, another quagmire of a field
before a sharp right through the woods and on to farm tracks for the next kilometre or so. Already covered in mud I knew this was going to be a fun race. And we were guided all the way impeccably by enthusiastic and encouraging marshals and some tactically placed hazard tape.

We managed to slowly overtake two (four) competitors before negotiating the sprout pickers and hitting what can only be described as perfect Canicross territory. Stunning pine woodland with its associated firm sandy grass trails, led us over ridges and bridges, a quick jog across a field, over another ridge with a tactically marked trip hazard and to the beach. The sight of the beach spurred Junior on – albeit in the wrong direction… although that might also been the site of Jane Jones from Just Dogs Shop (who were kind sponsors of the event) marshalling in the same direction. Junior always knows who to mooch from.

I was really feeling it at this point only the sight of Junior loving his run keeping me going. In the next few yards though we managed to catch up with another team from Fourth Valley and eventually overtake. What I heard at that point really embodied what Canicross is all about. As we passed our competitor from another club said to us “Well done! Good running.” Well that really spurred us on! What an incredible supportive gesture (although I’m probably 10 years his junior and had worked my socks off just to catch up, never mind overtake!) It spurred us on to our favourite part of the course. A twisty, turn-y woodland stretch where we could hear our Beagle teammate Naboo up ahead, but not see him. That gave us extra motivation to press on. But then the sound of the cheering crowd gave us another boost before we finally turned back into the field where it all started and back into the glorious mud and puddles, Junior pulling at a perfect pace.

The reception from the crowd was amazing as we crossed the line and were bombarded with medals, water, delicious fishy food for Junior and even human treats.

Junior running towards the finish, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography

Junior running towards the finish, photo courtesy of Yellow Dog Photography

What really struck me about the whole day was not only the obvious extensive hard work and

preparation that had gone into making the races a success, but the friendly reception from all

involved in what was essentially a competitive meet. Junior and I are both quite introvert and can struggle with meeting others of our own kind. Being socially awkward is of little disadvantage on a day like this. Everyone was keen to talk to each other no matter what club, ability, breed, or any other factor was involved. What an incredible day at a superb facility with an awesome course. All shared with our favourite Canine buddies. This being our second race went so well that Junior and I have signed up for the long and short course and Muiravonside.   And we can’t wait!

Thank you to Yellow Dog Photography for letting me use her photos, please like her facebook page and check out her pics.

See you there!

John & Junior


CSS Coalsnaughton Canicross Race Report, by Linzi Melville

Coalsnaughton was our first race. I was quite nervous as Indie can be reactive with certain dogs and we have had to put a muzzle on her and go back to the very basics of training again.

Linzi & Indie, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

Linzi & Indie, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

We arrived early and I went to get our race number. There was a few folk around with their dogs so I decided to get Indie out and walk around with her. I was immediately much calmer as I soon realised we were around real doggie people, who are not scared to let their dogs be dogs. Indie was much calmer too because of this and was much more interested in the sheep poo than other dogs!

I popped her back in the car after 10/15 minutes and went for a walk around and chatted to lots of people and their dogs. Everyone was so encouraging and kind, wishing us good luck with our race. What was really surprising was that I was not the only person with a reactive dog. In fact it’s pretty common! I brought Indie out of the car again for another wander. She was calm. I was calm. Confidence up!

After another 10/15 minutes I put her back in the car and went to watch the start of the 5k race. The race start is staggered and is was really interesting watching everyone line up to start. the dogs were excited, some were jumping around, some barking, some calm but when it was their turn they knew what to do. People gave each other space, didn’t freak out if their dogs were told off by other dogs and wished each other good luck. There was loads of friendly banter too!
I then went to the finish line to watch them. There was some really fast times, lots of huge smiles and lots of tongues hanging out of (mostly dogs) mouths!

Our turn. Yikes. Nerves taking over. Warm-up. Lots of dogs in close proximaty. Is this wise? Can Indie cope with this? Oh…she’s eating sheep poo again and paying no attention to the dogs!  We’re next. Go!

Linzi & Indie, photo courtesy of Nlnja Laura

Linzi & Indie, photo courtesy of Nlnja Laura

Straight away Indie is super focused on running. First corner and we need to pass someone. She sees us coming and moves over and I say to Indie “on you go” in my super stern scary voice and she runs straight past the other dog. Confidence up again! More runners to pass. ‘On your right!’ I shout and then ‘on you go’ to Indie and she just keeps running, super focused and listening to every word I say.

We ran that race together (although she did pull me around!) but it had been a long time since we had connected like that and it was AWESOME! Indie was AWESOME!
The race was so well organised and the people that come are just lovely.

Having a reactive dog is really hard work. You think about every little detail that could go wrong and will go out of your way to avoid certain situations. Your walks can be stressful, boring, infuriating and a chore.

This weekend has opened my eyes to the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way. Training your dog (again) is hard work but totally worth it and this weekend showed me that we can and should still socialize our reactive dogs in a controlled manner and do this with people that know about dogs. Canicross is perfect for this and people are more than willing to help you and offer advice and tips and you get to keep yourself fit and your dog fit and engaged at the same time. Great bonding time!
Can’t wait for the next one:)

Linzi & Indie

Some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

Some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

CSS Coalsnaughton Canicross Race Report by Kim Collier

My old puppy!

Kim & Bonny, photo courtesy of Nlnja Laura

Kim & Bonny, photo courtesy of Nlnja Laura

Bonny and I started our running career in 2013 when I signed up to do the New York marathon.  We had done a little bit of running before then, but nothing serious.

I love running with her, she makes the time and distance go past so much more quickly! I heard of Cani-Sports Edinburgh, last summer, when one of their members asked me to do a PAT assessment on their dog. I went along and went for a walk after the assessment with some members. I thought Bonny would love to do this as it’s a nice distance and would keep her running up.

She had never run on a lead and she didn’t pull, but you CAN teach old dogs new tricks!  We have done 3 Canicross events and by far the best one was her last one at Coalsnaughton.  The course suited her to a T, not too muddy or stony, a bit hilly and some lovely grassy tracks(her favourite)  It was very cold at the start line, but Bonny was rearing to go! It was our time to start, we don’t go off at full speed like some of the younger ones do, but she was ‘out in front’ which she normally doesn’t do! She had a fab time around the course, she was out in front and pulling a little for most of the way, again a first. The nicest part was when we were coming to the finish line and everyone was calling her name to make to go even faster, she pulled me across the line!!  We defiantly did not come in the placings, but it’s all about taking part, not the winning!

Bonny will be 14 in May so this was her last long course race as when the season starts again she will be 14&1/2. We had a fantastic time.  We are both a bit shy, but we met some new people and had our photo taken with our running group Cani-Sports Edinburgh!

some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

some of the CSE crew, photo courtesy of Hilary Little

Canicross has really kept Bonny fit and active, and she loves catching up with her doggy friends and acting like a 14 month old not a 14yr old!

I will hopefully have my friend`s dog to run with for my Canicross events next season and the Coalsnaughton race will be a must again next year!

Happy running.

Kim and Bonny (aged 13yrs 10 months)

Ruff Dugger & Cani-Fit Experience IV 14-15th March 15

Avril & Bailey's weekend of adventures (photo by Caroline Burrough)

Avril & Bailey’s weekend of adventures (photo by Caroline Burrough)

What a wonderful weekend this was!  Bailley and I travelled down to Ayr on Friday afternoon in preparation for our first Ruff Dugger on Saturday morning at Auchinleck Estate.  On arriving at the venue we were guided round the farm to park in a shed, the place was buzzing with people and dogs. I registered and collected my number, the butterflies started in my stomach!


Avril & Bailey at Ruff Dugger

Avril & Bailey at Ruff Dugger (photo by Angela Spence)

At 9.30am I went to listen to Lindsay’s briefing and I was nervously excited and couldn’t wait to get started! As I was number 87 I had time to go and watch the first runners start before going and getting changed and get Bailley into his harness. Walking round to the start Bailley was going round the puddles and trying to keep out of the mud…………if only he knew!!!

Finally it was our turn, we were on the start line and being counted down, my heart was racing and we were off across the first field and into the unknown…..let the adventure begin.  What a wonderful course from the first mud swamp where we were up over our knees in mud, through streams over trees down bankings sliding and slipping and all the time when I looked around me all I could see were happy smiling faces of people and dogs having fun……I have to say Bailley was a bit of a princess to start with but soon realised he had to move and couldn’t just stand stuck in the mud and I’m sure he eventually thoroughly enjoyed it too. All the marshall’s were brilliant taking the time to read our numbers and calling out our names to give us that extra  bit encouragement which was very much appreciated. Cameras were clicking and there is some wonderful photo’s to save the memories for everyone. The feeling crossing the finish line is one that is very hard to put into words…… adrenalin flowing, ecstatic, wonderful and relief!

Back to the car with Bailley, dry him off, put his fleece coat on and let him rest to dream about what he had just accomplished. After getting changed myself the hot soup, burger rolls and cakes organised by Boswell Coach House were very much appreciated. In the evening everyone was invited back to Boswell Coach House where Rory Douglas hosted a party for everyone! It was a very light-hearted evening spent in excellent company where everyone could relax before the next day’s adventure started.

Sunday morning I got up early and walked Bailley before heading back to Auckinleck Estate to take part in the Cani-Fit Experience IV Race. I was only doing the short course of 3k with Bailley which wasn’t starting until 11am but the atmosphere and excitement of everyone getting ready for the Bikejor, Scooter and the 5k race was electric. I have total admiration for everyone who was on bikes and scooter’s they were all amazing and I can honestly say I will NEVER be doing that……my heart was in my mouth as I watched them fly past me!


Avril & Bailey at Cani-Fit Experience IV

Avril & Bailey at Cani-Fit Experience IV (photo by Julie Eastgate)

Finally again Bailley and I were on the start line being counted down and I must admit at first my legs felt heavy from the day before’s adventures but we got into it and again it was an amazing course with even a “water feature” in it which Bailley stopped short at but I just told him “you coped with a lot more yesterday so come on” and we just ran through it soaked to the waist again. The encouragement from fellow Cani-Sports Edinburgh members standing at the finish line was very much appreciated!

I have to mention all the kids taking part were absolutely brilliant and it was lovely to see so many of them as after all they are the future of our wonderful sport.

I only started running a year past July when I was 59 at the time and the encouragement and support I have had from our Club has been totally overwhelming and has given me a wonderful new hobby. It is never too late to start and although I will never be that fast the enjoyment and fun I have taking part is second to none.

Thank you Lindsay Cani-Fit and all your helpers, Rory Douglas and all your Staff at Boswell Coach House for making this such a wonderful weekend for not only me but for everyone who took part. I will certainly be returning to do it all again in the future.

Avril Dodds

Muzzle FAQs

by Jane J 
Muzzles may look scary if you are not used to them but a correctly fitting muzzle is not harmful to your dog and if introduced properly dogs can learn to be completely relaxed whilst wearing one. Contrary to some of the myths & stigmas attached to them, muzzles are often the sign of someone being a responsible dog owner and minimising the risk to their own dog and others. A muzzle can provide the peace of mind to get out to exercise a reactive dog and to allow an opportunity to do further training, where appropriate.

Why use a muzzle?
Within the context of canicross muzzles are used to prevent nips/bites which can occur through excitement, fear or prey drive. Muzzles are however not a license to let dogs with aggressive behaviour cause distress to other animals or people (distress & even injury can still be caused whilst wearing a muzzle), nor should they be used to repeatedly force your dog into situations they are not comfortable with (the stress of this can cause further reactivity)..

What type of muzzle is appropriate?
A plastic or metal basket style muzzle should be used – these allow air to circulate & dogs to pant adequately, as well as drink water, both of which are absolutely essential during canicross. Mesh muzzles are not appropriate as dogs cannot breathe properly when exercising in them.

Where can I get a muzzle?
Different styles of muzzle are suited to different face shapes & it’s very hard to judge what size a dog will need without trying on, so it is best, where possible, to try a variety of different styles & sizes on before purchasing. Just Dogs Shop in Stockbridge sells several different styles of plastic basket style muzzles & has experienced staff who can help you select the right one for your particular dog.

How do I teach my dog to accept wearing a muzzle?
It is very important to desensitise your dog to wearing a muzzle so that they do not feel frightened or uncomfortable. Create a positive association with the muzzle by pairing it with yummy treats, fun games or something your dog really likes. Gradually build up the length of time your dog is wearing the muzzle for, starting with only a few seconds at first so that your dog gets used to the sensation of having it on. This video demonstrates how you can teach your dog to accept (& enjoy!) wearing a muzzle.
Sandy and Muzzles

CSE dog Sandy wears a muzzle whilst running because his upbringing within the greyhound racing industry means he may try to chase small, fluffy, fast moving dogs. 

There is more information about muzzles here.