Have you heard of canicross? The sport involves cross-country running with your dog, where an elastic cord is attached from the dog’s harness to the runner’s waist. This increasingly popular sport allows both the runner and the dog to enjoy the great outdoors, while perfecting their communication and training. Here are 5 great reasons to train your dog while out for a run.
1. Learning to love the leash
Canicross running requires your dog to stay close by your side, allowing him to get used to being on a leash. If your dog has a tendency to stop often when out on your regular walks, he will soon learn that he must follow you without distractions. Over time, he will become more focused on the trail and keep up with your pace.
2. Building trust
Running with your dog is a playful way to reinforce your communication. Having to constantly be aware of your movements and intentions will help build trust and confidence between you and your pet. These moments of activity will also strengthen the bond between you, since this combines two things your dog loves: running around and spending time with you. Your friendship will be stronger, and the communication between you will be clearer and more conducive to training.
3. It’s good for your dog’s health
Inasmuch as physical activity has benefits for your health, it is good for your dog’s health too. Running helps build lean muscle, improves endurance, and promotes heart health. Exercise is also good to relieve tension and stress, especially when your pet spends the rest of the day at home alone while you are at work. However, there are a few precautions to consider before setting off on these long jaunts. If your dog is young, or unaccustomed to physical activity, start with short 10 minute bursts, slowly increasing the length and intensity of activity over time. This vigilance is just as important with young dogs since their bodies have not fully matured, and strenuous activity may have negative effects on their growth.
4. Keep him safe
Running with your dog will also allow you to teach your dog how to react to certain situations, like meeting new people or dealing with traffic on the street. As he follows your pace, your dog will have less time to react to stimuli from his environment. He may be less likely to want to jump up on people, or to react to unknown or worrisome objects he may come across. By desensitizing him to new stimuli, you are contributing to his greater sense of security around new situations.
5. Channel his energy
« As soon as we start off on our walks, he gets super excited that he starts jumping all over me and he drags me all over the place, making it impossible for me to keep up! » If this sounds familiar, your dog may need to learn a better way to channel his abundant energy. With a bit of training, you will finally get to enjoy your outings as your dog learns to slow down, control his impulses and funnel that excess energy.
Running with your dog is without a doubt an activity that can combine the enjoyable and the useful. Why not give it a try?