• paws4sports

How The Right Kit For You And Your Dog Could Transform Your Running

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

As a DogFit Certified Canicross Trainer, I think its fantastic that dog & owners teams are inspired to to run with their dogs! I'm really passionate about promoting safe and comfortable hands-free running with your dog through the use of Canicross specific kit.

A Canicross kit is made with safety, control and comfort in mind. The equipment is made to not only allow for efficient running for both you and your dog, but also to minimise any risk of injury. A full Canicross kit is made up of 3 pieces of equipment, specifically made for Canicross running. - A waist belt, bungee line & sporting harness. 

If you don't know, you wont know!

Sadly, many high street retailers sell 'dog running' equipment which has been designed/sold with little or no knowledge on the requirements needed to make safe and suitable running equipment for both you and your dog. Even some 'dog friendly' running events are unaware of safety issues and concerns surrounding running with dogs in the wrong kit and therefore often send out the wrong message to others looking to run with their dogs. A common 'kit list' which we tend to come across when chatting to our customers just starting out on their journey is that they are running with their dog using a one strap waist belt and adjoining bungee line which fastens around your waist, sometimes teamed up with a harness, others, just clipping the dog onto the collar. However, what people aren't aware of when buying and wearing this, is that wearing the wrong kit during running with your dog can actually cause long term injury to both you and your dog as well as feel like you have no control! Here's the difference when it comes to the real deal...

Waist Belt

The Canicross waist belt is for the human to wear during Canicross for hands-free running. These technical Canicross waist belts are designed to allow the pull to come through your core    ( the strongest part of your body ) giving ultimate control and taking any strain away from your back, minimising injury and discomfort to the back and allowing maximum comfort.

The 'dog running' waist belts mentioned at the start of this blog which are readily available from many high street stores, use a one strap belt system which sits around the waist. As you can imagine, with the waist belt sitting in the arch of your back, the dog is then pulling your back forwards at a weak point, resulting in not only an uncomfortable and uncontrolled run, but also puts you at risk of long term back injuries! To put this in perspective,  if you picked up a thin stick and pulled hard in the middle, it wouldn't take much to snap it in half!... This is essentially the motion which is happening to your back wearing this waist belt whilst your dog is pulling you!

Bungee Line

A bungee line is what attaches you to your dog. As you can imagine, some dogs really go for it whilst out on the trails, others, the sheer weight behind them means you need a line you can be 100% confident in. The bungee line is important as it absorbs any shock for you and your dog whilst running, making for a smooth and comfortable run as well as acting as another safety feature to minimise any impact on both you and your dogs back/joints. You are able to buy bungee lines from normal stockists and retailers, however, we recommend to use only tried and tested Canicross specific lines as the last thing you want is a line breaking on the trail, or even worse...A clasp hitting you square in the face at force because it wasn't strong enough to withhold the pull of your dog!

Dog Harness

It's super important that your dog has a properly fitted sporting harness. A Canicross harness should sit comfortably and not obstruct their airways, restrict movement, or rub whilst running. There are different styles depending on their size, power and running style. Just like a bad pair of shoes can ruin even the nicest of adventures for us humans, an inappropriate or badly fitting Canicross harness has the same effect for our dogs. - Wearing an incorrect harness long term for running can cause your dog not only discomfort, but can actually cause injury and/or postural problems.

Here is a really great link as to why some normal harness styles wouldn't be suitable for Canicross and the negative impact they can have on freedom of movement. -

We hope this blog has given you some food for thought surrounding wearing the correct kit whilst running with your dog and why it's so important. If you need guidance on choosing the correct kit for you and your dog, I'm here to help. You can book an introduction session either in-person or online with me.

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