Running with a Foster Dog

We love running and we love making dogs happy so some of our members take dogs looking for homes out for a run, usually their own foster dog.  Sometimes they take them to CSE Club Runs.  This page will give you some guidelines on bringing a foster dog to a Club Run – we recommend building a relationship with the foster dog, canicross them outside the club several times and take them for a walk at a Club Run before considering canicrossing them at a Club Run.  We also have the wonderful story of one of our member’s canicrossing with a homeless dog to inspire you on your own adventures!

Bringing a foster dog to a Club Run

We aim to provide a safe environment for all dogs and humans to have fun canicrossing.  Our runs are a potentially stressful environment particularly for dogs who don’t have permanent homes and who may already be stressed or unsettled.  The dogs are in a strange environment, doing a new activity, surrounded by a large number of keen and excited dogs and people.  Even if you know the foster dog well, it is unlikely they’ve been in an environment like our Club Runs.  Therefore please consider the following guidelines to running with foster dogs at Club Runs to reduce the stress for them and ensure that this is the right environment for them.  This has been put together by volunteers who have had experience of running with foster dogs and dogs currently in rescues.

Please remember you are running at your own risk and the foster dog and its actions are your responsibility.

If you are new to canicrossing and bringing a dog you are not fostering that is looking for its forever home (i.e. living in a shelter or somebody else is the foster parent) we would suggest you attend a few club runs first so you know the environment and what canicrossing involves.

Firstly build up a relationship with the foster dog and then assess the following:

  • Do they want to canicross?
  • Strength of the dog – you may not be used to a dog that pulls this much.   Take care going through mud and downhill.  Walk if necessary.
  • Lunginess of the dog – even if your dog is great with other dogs, there maybe some dogs it won’t like.  Or the dog maybe playful and boistress and want to play with passing dogs.  This could trip over other runners and also passing dogs might not react well to being played with.   Keep your dog close to you.  Stop and move of the path and hold your dog in if you’re being overtaken if necessary.
  • Prey drive – there are often deer and other furry creatures running across the path that will make your dog lunge and pull.   Take care that you can handle the strength of the dog if this happens.
  • Reactiveness of the dog – if the dog is nervous or reactive please read our guide to running with nervous and reactive dogs.
  • General behaviour around other dogs
  • General health and injuries

To assess the above – do several runs with the dog before you consider taking them to an official Club Run.  So that when you get to a Club Run you are familiar with the dog’s behaviour whilst running and its canicrossing style.   Also for the dog – to ensure when they get to a Club Run, the experience is not totally overwhelming for them.  It may also be that run with lots of people and dogs isn’t appropriate for the dog.

Before canicrossing at a Club Run

  • Once you have run with the dog in a safe and quite environment – consider put up a post asking other members to run with you on an informal run so you can assess the dog in a group run environment.
  • Let everybody know that you are running with a foster dog so people can give your dog space at a Club Run.  Put up a picture of you and your foster dog when you post you are coming for a run so people know who you are.
  • Check the Cani-Sports Edinburgh Wobbly Dog Album – these are nervous and reactive dogs and also need space.
  • Bring the foster dog for a walk at a Club Run – so they get used to the environment.

During the run

  • Start your run early so the foster dog avoids the excitement and stress at the beginning of the run – start in enough time so you don’t get overtaken!  Or start behind the main runners.
  • Don’t hang around at the beginning of the run and put the dog straight back into the car at the end of the run until you have been to a few runs and know the dog’s behavior during a Club run better.
  • Ensure plenty of room between you and other dogs.

Chance and his chance for forever home

By Agata

So the time came and I have decided to rescue one furry heart. Roger was so energetic that I was trying to find some activity to do to get rid of his energy. I found canicross… After sometime learning about canicross I have decided to help other dogs to get rid of their energy. I have been in touch with Cleo’s Mutley Crew Dog Rescue and offered them my ‘running legs’. The rescue got back to me very quickly and say yes we have one wee chap who would love to try canicross as he is full of energy.

His name was Chance. I was very excited but at the same time a bit nervous. A lot of thought went through my head: will I manage a different dog? Will he pull me off my feet? Will he lunge at others? Will he jump on me? Will he play tug game with bungee lead? Will he like the running? What trails should we go and run? So I picked easy Strathclyde Country park which is flat and easy for first time. I have planned nice and easy 2.5k route.

Chance 1

Saturday morning… I am a bit more nervous. I had my run with Roger and thought oh the new dog will be not so much focused and run in zigzagging way. Arrived to the park, Lynsey from rescue said Chance is very strong and that I should be careful. I had a look and said to myself be confident as you know what you are doing (you are canicrosser). Chance had a cute face, and was very friendly. I had put the harness straight on without any problems, as I know some dogs don’t like it. Bungee lead on and off we go… We walked, and off we go running. My head buzzing… and guess what he was amazing, straight ahead in front of me and pullying well. We needed to pass street, walked and he tried to play “tug game” so I dropped the line as he was attached anyway (no running off), he stopped and we are off again….

Chance 2I have never felt so relief so relax… Chance ran like a pro. He was amazing in woods, pullying but then he heard something and got distracted so I slow down the pace so he could enjoy every moment of this… He was very distracted by other dogs, and interested in everything around him. Slow pace allowed him to enjoy being outside kennels. I felt good… I had some dogs running into us and I shouted to owners I have fostering dog so please take your dogs away. Chance was good, he wanted to continue running. Our 2.5k turned into 4.2k.

Back to parking Chance is my best cuddly friend. I think he had the best day of his life: deers, rabbits, people looking at him running, other dogs, water stop and chasing the birds. I have never felt so free… all my negative energy was gone within 30min I spent with Chance… I cant wait for next one.

Chance 3