These are some of the most commonly asked questions about canicross. If you have any further questions please contact us.
Q) Is my dog suitable for canicross?
It is acknowledged that some dogs are designed to run (e.g. snow breeds), however many other breeds excel at canicross and really enjoy it. If Fido is healthy, old enough (see third question) and shows a willingness to run then come and try canicross.
It is advisable to consult your vet prior to starting canicrossing with your dog.
Q) What is the difference between canicross and canix?
Canicross is the sport and Canix is an organisation based in England. A bit like Hoover and vacuum cleaner.
Q) How old does my dog have to be?
Dogs are not permitted to run in harness with Cani-Sports Edinburgh until they are 1 year old.
The important thing is that the dog’s bones are fully developed. Given the size differences between breeds it is obvious that dogs mature at different stages, for instance a terrier will be fully developed quicker than a great dane. At the very least you should not do heavy exercise with your dog before they are 1 year old, it is advisable that the larger breeds reach 18 months prior to doing heavy exercise with them. Again it is best to seek guidance from your vet.
If Fido is still young, why not get him used to the equipment and teach him commands.
Q) Are there any breeds that should not do canicross?
Please bear in mind we are not experts, as such this question is best answered by your own vet. There are however a few types of dogs which spring to mind; Bracycephalic (short nosed) dogs may well struggle to regulate their body temperature, which could result in the serious and potentially fatal condition in dogs of heat stroke.
Most breeds can run, however the distance and speed would need to be adapted in accordance with their needs.
Q) I’m not very fit, can I do canicross?
YES! Everyone can do canicross, it is a great way to gain fitness. Build up slowly by alternating between walking and running. If you have any underlying health conditions it is advisable to consult with your Doctor prior to committing to more exercise than you are used to. If you are asthmatic, please ensure you carry your inhaler with you.
Q) How can I get started in canicross?
There are numerous groups set up throughout the UK. Find your nearest group and go along. It is as simple as that . For all those based in and around Edinburgh, you are more than welcome to come along to Cani-Sports Edinburgh. If you are not local to Edinburgh why not check out Cani-Sports Scotland and you may well find a group local to you.
Q) What equipment do I need for my dog?
Your dog will need a running harness, which directs the pull from the shoulders and does not restrict the windpipe; a line either with bungee incorporated into it or a separate bungee section – to avoid any jolting and injury to you and your dog – and finally a waist belt to attach the line to.
Many groups lend out equipment to allow you to try before you buy. Cani-Sports Edinburgh have a spare gear box with an array of harnesses, belts and lines.
There are numerous different types of harness for your dog, unfortunately it is not a case of ‘one size fits all’. Here at Cani-Sports Edinburgh you are more than welcome and encouraged to borrow equipment initially. A small donation of £1 (for non-members) is requested to help reinvest in equipment for the spare gear box. This will allow you to gauge what equipment is most comfortable for you and Fido.
Q) What equipment do I need for myself?
Trainers are key! It is worth investing in a decent pair with adequate grip; to avoid injury. Club members of Cani-Sports Edinburgh receive great deals and discounts, which includes sports shops.
Loose fitting clothing or running gear if you have it is advisable. What ever you are most comfortable in.
In time you may prefer to use trainers with a bit more grip; trail shoes, however normal trainers will be adequate to begin with.
Q) What external conditions are required for canicross?
Dogs can not tolerate heat like humans do. All dogs tolerate heat differently, it is incredibly important to keep a close eye on your dog to avoid heat stroke.
Winter months are fine and favourable for decent training. Spring and Autumn can be questionable and Summer months can present problems. A good rule of thumb is: Temp (c) x humidity (%) and anything below 1000 is good to go, for instance 14 degrees and 45% humidity would be 630. If in doubt … do not run!
Consider the terrain that Fido will be running on, tarmac is not good for their paws or joints. Forest tracks and grassy tracks are favourable. Always check Fido’s paws for any cuts or scrapes.
Q) Do I need to feed my dog anything differently if they do canicross?
As long as Fido is receiving a well balanced diet in the right proportions, you should not need to change his diet. Ensure that he is within the recommended weight range for his breed.
Allow 1 – 2 hours after feeding to exercise Fido, similarly allow an hour after exercise before feeding.
Q) If my dog has been unwell can they do canicross?
If your dog is unwell or has recently been unwell, please do not bring him to a group meeting, in case it is contagious.
Q) My dog isn’t good with other dogs, can he do canicross?
Absolutely, all dogs are on a line and in full control of their owner/handler. If you need space, please let others know and similarly please do not allow your dog to lunge at other dogs. Please ensure there is plenty of space between you and the runner in front to allow for them stopping or slowing down and if you have to stop or slow down please check behind you. Also ensure you communicate clearly to the person in front of you if you are over taking. Canicross has proven to be particularly good in building confidence in dogs with ‘issues’; as testified by many members of Cani-Sports Edinburgh. We have a guide for running with reactive dogs here.
Q) Where and when does Cani-Sports Edinburgh run?
For Cani-Sport Edinburgh club runs please refer to the relevant section in the Cani-Sports Edinburgh Useful Guide, for an up to date list of the regular club runs. A post is put on the Facebook Club Page a few days before each run. If you plan on coming please state this on the Facebook post, so we know to wait for you.
At the time of writing there are 2 club runs a week, please note that these default to being unofficial if a committee member is not present.
Monday, 7pm at Dalkeith Country Park
Saturday, 8.45am at Vogrie Country Park
Non-club runs and meetups are posted up in the Facebook CSE Group on an ad-hoc basis, these are viewed as meet ups between like minded people, please feel free to arrange meet ups. Whilst this is a private run and not under the banner of Cani-Sports Edinburgh to members of the public you are representatives of the sport and the club so please take cognisance of the rules and regulations and keep to the spirit of the club.
Q) How much does it cost?
Your first 3 sessions at an official run with Cani-Sports Edinburgh, are free. Thereafter non-members are required to pay £1 per run or consider joining as a member (this applies to walkers too).
If you wish to borrow equipment a small donation of £1 is requested from the onset, this is waived for members.
Q) How do I get started?
Please read the rules and regulations and complete a disclaimer, then simply come along to your chosen run (it is helpful if you have indicated on Facebook that you are coming), introduce yourself to the run organiser, hand over your completed disclaimer, receive a short briefing in relation to a few health and safety points from the run organiser then you are good to go!!
Q) How far do I need to go?
The regular club runs are all approximately 5 kilometers. You do not have to run this distance, you can turn back at any point or create short cuts. There is no pressure whatsoever to complete the route in a certain time. Please work to your own fitness and ability and do whatever you are most comfortable with.
It is worth noting that there are often a few walkers, why not come along and walk and see what it is all about?
Q) My dog’s heel work is brilliant, will canicross undo this training?
Rest assured, Fido very quickly learns the difference between a collar and a harness. A harness means running an being allowed to pull. A collar means heel work!
Q) Can I run with more than 1 dog at a time?
You can run with more than 1 dog at a time as long as you have full control of all the dogs. Consider whether you could hold all the dogs you intend to run with if a deer or rabbit crossed your path. If you are confident that you would have full control without any risk to yourself or others then feel free to run more than 1 dog. Official runs have a maximum of two dogs.
Q) Can I bikejore or scooter with my dogs?
At this moment in time due to insurance reasons scootering and bikejore is not permitted at official Cani-Sports Edinburgh meets. This will hopefully be allowed in the future.
Q) Can my children participate
Children are welcome, under the strict supervision of an adult or guardian, who must run with them. There must be one adult or guardian per child. Please do not allow children to approach any of the dogs without checking they are child friendly with the owner/handler beforehand.
Q) If I am involved in an incident with a third party who is responsible?
Everyone participates at their own risk and are wholly responsible for themselves. It is strongly advised that all participants have insurance which covers dog sports (see United Canine Sports Club on facebook).
Cani-Sports Edinburgh has club insurance, which is valid for official runs, however this is to safeguard the club, not members. Cani-Sports Edinburgh are not liable for any incident involving you and a third party e.g. if your dog bites another dog or is bitten or if your dog trips someone up or you are tripped up by someone else’s dog YOU are responsible, NOT Cani-Sports Edinburgh.
Q) Can other people run or walk my dog?
If you wish to lend your dog to another member to run or walk that is entirely up to you and at your own risk. Please ensure you provide the runner/walker with adequate informaiton in relation to your dogs nature, commands and tendencies with other dogs/people. However, if you bring along a dog that you do not own (perhaps you are looking after it for a friend), you are not permitted to allow anyone else to walk or run this dog.
If you’ve got a question that’s not answered here please try asking in our Facebook CSE Group, dropping us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or chatting to us in person at one of our regular meetups.