Important! Always check with your vet before taking up any of these sports with your dog.
Get fit with your dog
It seems that these days you cannot open a magazine or switch on the TV without seeing somebody flashing their abs or talking about their HIIT routine. However there are fun ways to get fit for dog lovers – by taking up a sport with your dog. It’s National Fitness day on 26th September – no better time to start than right now!
Two popular sports you may have heard of are canicross and bikejoring.
Canicross and Bikejoring
Canicross is simply cross country running with dogs. Your dog is in a harness attached to you and you run in a team. Your dog runs ahead of you and you give specific directions through voice commands.
Any breed of dog can take part as long as he is fit and healthy and not too young (12 – 18 months is a good guide). Working breeds are particularly suited.
You need the right equipment. That’s a comfortable harness for your dog, a bungee line/lead and a waist/hip belt for you, the runner. You also need the right clothing: trail shoes for running off road, lightweight, breathable running gear and a waterproof jacket.
You can do canicross in local woodlands or on forestry trails. It is wise to mix up the types of terrain when training; hard ground is as important as soft ground but avoid
too many miles on tarmac which can stress both human and dogs’ joints and pads. Listen to how your dog sounds as he runs. Watch out for wheezing, check to see how he moves and whether the harness is fitting correctly.
Bikejoring is similar to canicross but in this case you are on a bicycle and your dog is attached to a towline and he runs ahead of you. Again, it is vital to get the right equipment and to learn the main commands: directions and a “stop” or” steady”. You can also try scootering with your dog, an activity very similar to bikejoring.
Other sports ideas
On a slightly different track, if you’ll excuse the pun, you could also enter triathlon events with your dog. These comprise canicross, bikejoring and swimming with your dog.
All of these sports have organized events across the UK. Some of them get booked up really quickly, such as the Checkendon Challenge in Oxfordshire. Go online to see if there are any events in your area.
Or if all of that sounds just too much then look no further than just a lovely walk. One of the greatest pleasures for your dog is lots of different smells and places to explore and for you it’s a great way of keeping fit.
And above all, have fun!
DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained here it is for educational purposes only. The writer of this article and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.