If you recall children’s movies such as Balto and Snow Dogs, then you’ll remember iconic scenes where the hero dog bravely leads a team of sled dogs back home. Cani-cross is a sport of cross-country jogging where one or more dogs are harnessed and run in a team. They are safely secured to their handler by a sturdy belt and mushing cues are often utilized.
Cani-cross is the perfect way to meet your pet’s physical and mental exercise requirements because it’s not just jogging along with your pooch—you’re also giving them voice cues and directing them where to go. That means they’re not mindlessly jogging by your side, but out in front actively engaged and working their brains.
Another benefit of cani-cross is that it deepens the bond between pet and owner. If you also participate in other canine sports, this can come in handy. It also helps to teach your pet impulse control, which is important in many other canine sports and in the mundane world too.
To begin, Canifit points out that it is important to teach your pooch the following mushing cues:
“Go Gee”- Go right
“Go Haw” – Go left
“Forward” – Keep moving forward
“On by” – Ignore, keep going
“Hike on” – Use more pulling power to carry forward
“Let’s go” – Speeding up or starting to go
“Steady” – Slow the pace
“Stand/line out” – Stand still facing forward
Once your dog knows their new mushing cues, it’s a good idea to pick up a harness designed specifically for cani-cross. It should fit comfortably and should not restrict your pet’s breathing.
Next is a bungee line and a walking or cani-cross belt. While it might seem easier to use a standard lead, a bungee line is better because it acts as a shock absorber and will protect both you and your pooch from any sudden jarring.
On your first cani-cross run, it’s best to stick to a trail that you know. Once you and your dog gain more confidence, then you can try out new trails. It’s also not a bad idea to restrict cani-cross to only two or three days a week, especially if you live in the city. After all, you don’t want to overdo it and accidentally cause a joint injury in either you or your pet.
Another item to purchase is a portable water bottle or a collapsible water bottle for your dog so that way the two of you can take breaks and stay hydrated.
If you’ve been itching to get out more and want to help your pet stay in shape, cani-cross is a great way to enjoy the beautiful spring weather.
About the Author:
Amanda Ferris is an accomplished writer who has written for sites such as TheThings, IndieReader, Fashion&Style, and New York Family. For the past five years, she has volunteered for Bay Ridge, Brooklyn’s very own Love Wanted Pet Adoptions. She currently owns a laid-back 12-year old Bichon Frise named Esme, and a 3-year-old fearful mystery mutt named Zoe whose noise phobia and anxiety sparked her foray into the world of positive reinforcement dog training.