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  • Gerry Moss

Canicross & Reactive Dogs

What is Canicross???


Basically it's cross country running with your dog. The dog and handler both wear a harness and an elasticated bungee lead joins the two. It's a team sport and both the dog and handler should be putting in 50/50 effort...It's not about the dog dragging you up those hills!

There are a few things your dog needs to learn in order for you both to enjoy the sport safely... Left and right, as they are running in front of you and you'll need to be able to tell them which way to head! A start to run cue and more importantly a STOP essential for when you take a trip or fall, most people will also have a slow down cue for use on descents.


Having owned a reactive dog...canicross can be a great way to get out and about with your dog, let them have a run whilst they remain safe and on lead...


I was always told that group running or running near another dog with my reactive dog was a very bad idea. The act of running increases adrenaline which means the dog is more likely to 'react' to it's trigger of another dog. In practise I've found the opposite to be true and have successfully included canicrossing into behaviour programs with dog reactive dogs. This obviously needs to be included as part of a full behaviour program and the dogs need to know what they are doing in terms of canicross prior to being put around other dogs, with the managment and integration done in careful stages.


Here's what one of our customers said about their dog reactive dog, who would usually struggle to walk past a dog on the other side of the road...


"He has always been nervous and sensitive to sound, but as he got older his dog reactivity kicked in. If on the lead he lunges and barks at other dogs. Crossing unknown dogs on paths is a nightmare and I will regularly be found jumping into hedges to avoid a confrontation, or I will find a new route... It was like I was with another dog when I tried canicross! Bruce didn’t react at all running alongside Ole having the time of his life!!"





Within 25 minutes the dogs had got to the point they could run next to each other and even stop to have a brief hello and sniff.


If you'd like help with your reactive dog or starting your Canicross journey, drop us a message...one of the best things about Canicrossing is that it's not about how fast or far you can go, it's about enjoying being out with your dog!




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