It’s not uncommon for owners to worry about the ability to canicross if they have a reactive or nervous dog. I always reassure them that if done correctly, and at the dog’s pace, it really is achievable. I’ve seen many a success story and have actually been one of those success stories myself!
Having a nervous, anxious rescue dog myself, I’ve seen first-hand what training in canicross can do for their confidence and to increase their trust and bond with you and in turn other humans and dogs. Understanding that they have a “job to do” and will be working with you as a team, can be one of the ways that they learn positive associations within the sport.
Introducing the kit can be the first obstacle, some dogs are sensitive to having something put over their head, again, looking at it from a dog’s perspective, we, as owners need to ensure we build up positive associations with the harness. Gradually introducing it to them, allowing them to sniff it and treat them, can be the first steps to getting them used to it.
Tilly wasn’t harness phobic but was nervous around other people and dog reactive so we had to introduce group running gradually. As with many reactive dogs, we as humans can definitely make the journey a lot smoother for them and as a certified canicross trainer, I can help take you through ideas and solutions to enable your dog to associate their canicross kit with good things happening.
Another question can pop up when looking at running with a reactive dog is, “can I run them wearing a muzzle?” The good news is that you can canicross with a dog wearing the correct type of muzzle. I wholeheartedly support owners with rescue dogs / reactive dogs to take up the sport. It can be a real revelation and a perfect opportunity for you to work alongside your dog to grow their confidence and increase their trust in you. It can also sometimes be the only opportunity for your dog to still enjoy a good run and burn off some energy.
Many people with dogs that can’t be let off the lead, tell me that canicross has transformed their lives and that of their dogs – the dogs are both happier and more stimulated, which in turn makes for happier and more positive owners! A real win-win situation.
My 1-2-1 Canicross Taster Sessions enable me to work closely with the owner and their dog which is invaluable to start your canicross adventures safely and with confidence.
Do check out my website for all the sessions I offer and say hello!