Product Feature – The Neewa Running Harness

The Neewa Running Harness is one of our more recent additions to the range of shorter harnesses at K9 Trail Time and I have to admit when I got in some samples, I wasn’t sure about the high padded neck at the front of the harness. The neck sits much higher up than any of the other sport harnesses we sell and I always advise people to avoid anything that sits too near the throat.

The neck on the Neewa Running Harness is unusually high but this doesn't cause any issues

The neck on the Neewa Running Harness is unusually high but this doesn’t cause any issues

However, when I actually used this harness on my dogs, I realised that the neck is very cleverly designed to fold slightly when the harness is on the dog and being pulled into. As a result the neck bends away from the throat and causes no issues whatsoever.

The Neewa Running Harness is also fully adjustable on the neck as well as the chest and the only harness I will sell that is adjustable in this way. I have always felt adjustment in the neck has a potential for weakness in the harness, but I feel the strength of this harness is in no way compromised by the adjustment and having it means it is the perfect harness for a growing dog to get used to having a harness on. It’s also very useful if you have more than one dog the harness needs to fit, I have used a size Medium on my 20kg collie but also on my mum’s very differently shaped 12 kg cross breed.

The range of dogs the Neewa Running Harness can fit in each size is quite broad due to the adjustable neck & chest

The range of dogs the Neewa Running Harness can fit in each size is quite broad due to the adjustable neck & chest

The harness is padded in all the areas it needs to be and my only constructive comment would be that if there were a bit of padding under the d-ring to attach your bungee to, then this harness would be the perfect shoulder harness. I would recommend this harness for anyone whose dog is perhaps unsure about pulling into a harness yet, as it can be secured so it doesn’t move about on the dog’s back if your dog isn’t pulling out in front. I would also suggest this harness for dogs who are growing and this will be their first running harness. I don’t suggest you start running puppies in them but you can start training your voice commands and get them used to the feel of pulling into a harness on walks.

The Neewa Running Harness is a very practical shoulder harness for most activities

The Neewa Running Harness is a very practical shoulder harness for most activities

The Neewa Running Harness is also useful for people who let their dogs off lead on runs and can even double up as a car harness (although it has not been crash tested). It can be used for all the dog sports and even just as a walking harness, so it is truly multi-purpose too. It comes in a range of sizes and colours which means there is something for everyone’s taste and colour scheme and a size to suit most dog breeds.

The Neewa Running Harness comes in 5 colour options

The Neewa Running Harness comes in 5 colour options

For more information on sizing or to buy please visit our website here:


K9 Trail Time A-Z of Canicross – I is for Instinct

When you are doing anything with dogs, it pays to use your own intuition and instinct even if you are new to something. I often find that people have had a certain piece of equipment suggested to them or have been told to do something in a way which doesn’t make sense to them, but because they are a ‘novice’ they have gone along with what the more experienced person has said. I would always encourage someone to do or use what feels right for their situation or dog and that is why I’m not a huge fan of just telling people what I think they should buy in terms of canicross kit. I will always try and give people as many options as possible and allow them to make a choice for themselves based on their personal knowledge of their dog and their own comfort. People tend not to value their intuition as much as they should and dismiss their own feelings based on what the majority may be doing. I even wrote a blog about it a few years ago:

It is also worth remembering that your dog will have their own instincts and this should also guide you in everything you do within the dog sports. If you rely on each other to work out what training, routines, equipment and experiences will benefit you both the best, then you can’t go far wrong.

So for that reason I have chosen ‘instinct’ as the ‘I’ in the K9 Trail Time A-Z of canicross.

Learning to trust your instinct when it comes to what's best for your dog can allow you to have the most fun when it comes to the dog sports

Learning to trust your instincts when it comes to what’s best for you and your dog will make sure you both have the best experiences when it comes to the dog sports

Canicross for beginners – A reading list

We’ve been writing and publishing blogs for a number of years now, covering loads of topics but it is often hard to find the ones that are most suitable for what might help you in beginning your canicross journey.

It's sometimes hard to know where to start when beginning to train for canicross

It’s sometimes hard to know where to start when beginning to train for canicross

So we have put together a list of the top ten blogs from our database to help get you started:

Number 1: To give you a brief introduction

Number 2: An idea of where to start

Number 3: How to choose a harness

Number 4: How to tell if your harness fits

Number 5: How to choose a belt

Number 6: How to choose a line

Number 7: When to start running your dog

Number 8: What to think about before racing

Number 9: How to start a canicross group for those social runs

Number 10: your 10 Commandments (just for fun!)

We have so much information available on our blog for you to browse through, this just scratches the surface but hopefully covers the very basics you might want to research before you get canicrossing with your dog.

Happy trails!


K9 Trail Time A-Z of Canicross – H is for Harness

Your dogs’ harness is probably the most important bit of kit you can buy for canicross and is also probably the bit of kit you will have multiples of too! Getting the right harness for your dog can be very tricky as your dog will potentially change shape the more you train and become a more confident runner, which can mean the best type of harness for your dog will change. I spend hours of my time with people in person, on the phone and via e-mail or messages, helping them to get the best harness for their dog because I think it’s really important in this sport that your dog is comfortable. For canicross your dogs’ harness must be snug on the neck so it doesn’t slip around and potentially cause rubbing, it must allow freedom of movement through the front legs and not cause any restriction or pressure points along the body. The purpose of the harness is to capture your dogs’ energy and send it through the bungee lead and the waist belt to propel you forward. Your dog is meant to be pulling so the harness you choose must be suitable for this. There are so many different shapes and styles to choose from now that making a decision can be confusing, but K9 Trail Time is dedicated to helping you get the right harness for your dog, so I have written many, many blogs about choosing a harness and am always happy to help. The harness for canicross should be your number one item on your canicross shopping list and for that reason, I have chosen harness as my word for ‘H’ in this A-Z of Canicross.

Harnesses come in so many shapes and styles now, it's worth getting help to choose the right one for your dog

Harnesses come in so many shapes and styles now, it’s worth getting help to choose the right one for your dog


K9 Trail Time A-Z of Canicross – G is for Groups

I am always being asked how to get started in canicross and how to teach your dog to run out front of you when canicrossing and my answer always involves recommending people find themselves a group to go along to. The local canicross groups that have been set up in areas all over the UK and abroad are by far the best introduction to the sport of canicross you can get. Some of the bigger and more established groups now have kit bags with spare harnesses, waist belts and lines so you can try before you buy too. You and your dog will be welcomed along to a group run and treated as a friend from day one and if your dog is a little nervous or needs space then you can be assured that the canicross group will be understanding of this and be able to help you get your dog comfortable with a group run. By joining in with social runs most dogs will automatically learn to pull out in front too, as dogs seem to pick up canicross very quickly when they are in a group situation. I myself have run with dozens of different groups all over the UK and it’s great to be able to join up with others if you’re on holiday with your dog because you get to see parts of the country you might not otherwise know about. So because of how important the groups are for training, socialisation and for fun in canicross, I have chosen groups as my word associated with ‘G’ in the A-Z of Canicross.

Groups are so important for training and socialisation in canicross

Groups are so important for training and socialisation in canicross

Heatstroke in dogs (a temperature monitoring study in sport dogs)

We recently spoke to Dr Anne Carter and Emily Hall MRCVS who have been conducting a temperature monitoring study for Nottingham Trent University with dogs who have been at some of the races we attend hosted by the Canicross Midlands club.

The aim of the study is to try and discover what factors affect dogs core temperatures and potentially put them at risk of heatstroke or hyperthermia. The study is still in it’s early stages and results have yet to be published, as both Anne and Emily feel there is much more research to be done in this area and that they have only begun to scratch the surface of what needs to be looked into to give dog owners and in particular, owners of dogs who compete in sports,  a useful guide to help them prevent their dog from suffering hyperthermia.

Dr Anne Carter put together these notes for us here at K9 Trail Time that we could share with our followers but there will be more to follow due to the full study not having been completed yet. We have added additional notes not within the speech marks, which summarise the points as we see them.

Prior to the study it was noted…

“Dark coated, male dogs appear to be at higher risk of hyperthermia. This corresponds with findings from literature that suggest higher risk groups include: brachycephalic breeds, those with respiratory disorders, overweight dogs, and poorly conditioned dogs.”

So this suggests that dogs who are unfit and unused to exercising in higher temperatures will be more at risk than those who have been sensibly and gradually acclimatised to working in warmer temperatures. We have always advocated training through the summer months for this reason but distances need to be kept shorter and measures taken to ensure your dog never over works in the heat.

Training runs in warmer months should be kept short to avoid over heating

Training runs in warmer months should be kept short to avoid over heating

The study so far has taken the previous notes into account but developed them…

“Normal core temperature in the literature appears to be 38.3-39.2⁰C – We found a normal core temperature range of 37.4 – 39.1⁰C.”

“‘Knowing your dog’ is key. Some dogs appeared to be naturally hotter at both resting and post exercise temperature. Therefore, their normal range may be different to another dog. This doesn’t appear to be breed specific.”

Which is indicative of the individuality of the dogs measured in the study so far and would imply that it is very useful to understand your own dogs’ regular resting core temperature, so you can be aware of anything abnormal specific to your dog.

“Hyperthermia in canine patients is defined as a core body temperature above 39.2oC. Canine heat stroke is therefore associated with a core body temperature above 40oC

Both these temperatures were exceeded in (some) dogs after a 5km run, but dogs quickly returned to normal range.”

This would indicate that dogs very quickly reach internal body temperatures which would be considered abnormal and dangerous to dogs, however the fact the dogs return to normal very quickly and that there has been very little study done on this so far, seems to suggest that this is probably perfectly normal and as long as we are aware of our dogs’ limits, is not harming the dog in any way. This type of raise in body temperature is probably occurring in any daily activity we do with our dogs but we would not necessarily be aware of it because we wouldn’t be monitoring their core temperature so closely unless we were concerned.

Allowing your dog to cool off when they require it by planning run routes with water is a great way to know your dog will be happy

Allowing your dog to cool off when they require it by planning routes with water is a great way to know your dog will be happy

“If heatstroke occurs, active cooling should be undertaken using lukewarm (not cold water), air con in the car, mist spray of fans. Cooling coats so far, have not been shown to be effective. Veterinary care should be sought immediately to improve survival chances (delays over 90 minutes increased fatality rates significantly in the literature).”

We discussed in great detail the things associated with heat stroke and the main signs of over heating are as follows: restlessness, seeking out cool areas/shade, looking to lie down, excessive panting, excess salivation and thick sticky saliva. Also look for glazed eyes, red or very pale pink (rather than healthy pink) gums, stiffness in movement which can lead to staggering and any anxiety or agitation. If your dogs displays any of these signs then it must be taken straight to a vet as any delay may cost your dog it’s life.

The main issue with heatstroke in dogs is shock, so even if you get your dog to a vet (ideally within 90 minutes of the dogs first showing signs of heatstroke) there are no guarantees that they will be able to undo the damage done to the internal organs by shock.

The things you can do to help your dog if it has been affected by the heat is to cool the underside of their body with cool but not cold water (shock damage can be increased by using ice water), ensure air flow over the dogs’ body i.e. with a fan or breeze in a car and don’t put anything over them which can trap the air in the dogs’ coat, so no wet towels, blankets or coats.

Remember that dogs lose heat through their paws, so boots can restrict a dogs’ ability to cool efficiently, therefore only use boots in cooler weather and never to protect your dogs feet from hot pavements, if it’s too hot for paws on pavements, it’s too hot full stop.

Boots s - Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

Boots should only be used when it’s cold enough for them not to interfere with a dogs ability to cool itself – Photo courtesy of Fay Frost Photography

Dr Anne Carter and Emily Hall MRCVS will be continuing their studies throughout this dog sport season so if you would like to take part they will be at some (not all) of the Canicross Midlands race series and some training runs, asking for volunteers. They have also provided this link on body temperature in racing greyhounds for anyone who is interested in a published study. It’s open access so free to all.

We will be following the progress of this study and hope it will help to raise awareness of heatstroke for all dog owners not just those taking part in the dog sports.

Happy trails and if in doubt – don’t run!

K9 Trail Time A-Z of Canicross – F is for Fun

I couldn’t write an A-Z of canicross without emphasising that the main reason for running with your dog should be the fun you will have doing it. I often hear people saying ‘I’m not fast enough’ or ‘I’m not fit enough’ to run with their dog, when the aim should be to get fitter with your dog and maybe get faster as a result (two more ‘F” words for you!). Even racing is generally about the fun you can have whilst taking part in an organised event and most people just enjoy being able to canicross on new trails with a bunch of other like-minded folk. There is also the social aspect for both dogs and humans that gathering canicrossers together can bring, and as I’ve mentioned previously, it’s a safe environment for dogs who might not be so great at being social, to be around other dogs and people from a distance. There is nothing quite like running with your furry pace maker for enjoyment and even when it’s a wet, muddy and miserable day, we always end up having fun canicrossing. So my word associated with the letter ‘F’ has to be fun!

Canicross is the only sport I have actually found even more fun when it's wet and muddy outside

Canicross is the only sport I have actually found even more fun when it’s wet and muddy outside