I have decided to write a post about equipment as there are a lot of posts on facebook where people are asking for what is the best!
I am not an expert but I have learnt a lot in last few months being involved in the sport. So here’s my experience and only my opinion (you don’t need to agree).
Let’s start with canicross. As of yourself, you will need something comfy for running:
- Trainers with good grip. (You can read about my recommendations in another post).
- Running leggings or shorts. Odlo or Subsport are great for it.
- Running top, vest or long sleeve top. Odlo is my choice again.
- Nice running socks. I didn’t realise that good socks can change the way you run too. I run in long compression socks.
It is an easy choice for people as there are a lot of different running companies that sell the right gear, but when it comes to dogs gear that’s another story. When I started my adventures with canicross, I couldn’t find much or I found information that now I know they were misleading. A lot of companies are trying to say their equipment is right for running with dogs, but I have learnt that a lot of them are purely business and money orientated and know nothing about canicross, and not talking here about faster pace sports like bikejor or scooter.
I struggled to understand and find something that will be good for Roger. He has an unusual shape. So I made him run in his walking harness (what a stupid idea that was, note on that my own gear wasn’t good either). I have decided to buy my first equipment back in Poland. DC Grizzly belt for myself, manmat bungee line and Roger had his walking harness. We were very slow but we enjoyed the runs (as per photo above).
Eventually, I have learnt that it is very important to have the right equipment:
- A dog can get injured, if harness is incorrect for pulling.
- Dogs should be able to use their shoulders without any restrictions.
- The harness shouldn’t be too high on their throats.
- Bungee line has a different length for different sports.
So my first equipment was a wrong choice. My belt hurt my lower back. Now I use this belt for hiking and it is just perfect. My bungee lead was too long (bikejor line) and it was harder to work together as a team. Also, Roger harness made restrictions on his running style and choked him.
I still struggled to find the right equipment. I thought I went in the right directions and ordered a customised harness for Roger. Well, once again wrong decision. I was close to giving up when I decided to go and ask for recommendations from folks who do the sport for years. They know the sport and they know what is right for the sport and why.
My old equipment ended up in a bag. Roger got his brand new harness from Dragratten. How surprised I was on our next run, his pull was stronger. I noticed that more often when he saw his harness he got super excited. Note from me: his harness was tight, it wasn’t loose, it worked really well with his running style.
I have changed my belt for the lightweight and it was sitting on my hips too. Amazing, no more pain in my lower back. Bungee line was a bit shorter and the whole experience of canicross has changed. We started to progress with our times and I could see it helped as to become stronger.
My younger dog got her pro harness straight away. She will probably grow up from it soon, but it is defo worth the money as she learns in the right equipment from the start. She was 10 months when she got her first proper sled dog harness.
Why use a collar?
I decided to keep Roger as he pulls a lot during a walk in a harness, but it is a different one than his running. Laferra walks on the collar, which helps before races that I can keep her on the collar when she is trying to be mental. Also during training, it is handy with her to have the collar to cool her down or walk her to start point. When I am nearly starting running I clip her on harness so she knows she needs to pull.
Bikejor and scooter equipment
Ok with caniross you can make mistakes and learn from it, but when it comes to faster speed sports you better with the right equipment. So what do you need here:
- MTB bike or scooter.
- Helmet and gloves.
- Bikejor/Scooter bungee lead (longer than canicross).
- Dog harness.
- Arm antenna to keep the lead away from wheels.
People ask why do you have arm antenna on your bike. Ok on the photo above you can see lead is a bit slack as Roger slowed down due to big stones and hill. Arm kept the line away from wheels so I didn’t have an accident. I tried bikejor and scootering without the arm and instead of having fun I was thinking about line and brakes all the time.
Once again a lot of money if you think, but again it changed the way we train and how much we enjoy all this. I use same arm antenna for my scooter.
Equipment is very important
I have learnt: it is all worth the money! The dogs love it more and you can really push your team at training and races.
There are a lot of companies who say they are great for canicross, but think twice. In last couple months, I have managed to stay injury free and my dogs got excited when they see harnesses.
Think twice about your dog health! Use the right equipment, ask experienced folks for advises! It changed my experience and I hope you will find the right path to the right equipment yourself!
I am not an expert but been to may races in UK, I watched and observed, I have learnt out of my own mistakes!.Be happy, enjoy your running with furry friends.
Good shop with equipment: https://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/