This time of year as the weather is getting cooler, it seems appropriate to mention the ‘J’ word – Jacket. I know I am now back in my lightweight running jacket as the temperatures have dropped and sometimes we need to consider the same for our dogs. Any time you go running with your dog you will be assessing the weather and if you have a hairy dog breed, you will just be relieved that you don’t have to worry so much about them overheating as winter approaches. But if you have a breed with very little hair then you might have the opposite problem and need to be aware of how quickly your dog can get cold, particularly when it’s wet. At K9 Trail Time we stock a number of different jackets for dogs, ranging from a cool coat to help your dog cope with the heat, to the winter coats, which they can wear during or after exercise. We also stock life jackets which are very useful for keeping your dog safe if you do any swimming. Anything we don’t have in stock we can usually order to be delivered within about a week. So although not essential for every dog, we felt it important enough to make ‘Jacket’ our ‘J’ in the A-Z of Canicross.
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.
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 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 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.
For more information on sizing or to buy please visit our website here:
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.
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.
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.
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.