Thursday, February 27, 2020

Can('t Get My Po)i(nt A)cross

Every once in a while, I see some sport or activity and think "huh, that could be fun!" Usually I then forget about it, but on rare occasions I follow through.

This time it was canicross. In case you don't have time to listen to some awesome Canadian accents in the link, canicross is like dog sledding, except instead of a sled you have a person running behind. The only rule (that I'm aware of anyhow) is that the dog always needs to be in front.

Put yourself and your dog in a harness and then connect the two with a bungee cord -- what could possibly go wrong?

Anyhow, my new gear showed up and after I spent about an hour figuring out the human harness, I took the big dog out for a run.

Here are my initial thoughts:

  • The human harness comes with a cup holder. "This could be my sport!" I thought. 
  • On further examination, the cup holder was just a water bottle holder. That was less exciting.
  • There's a bright orange "quick release" tab on the connection to the leash. That's not disturbing at all.
Bright orange fabric strip with grey letters "RELEASE"
I wasn't kidding.
  • Either canicross makes people instantly thin, or only thin people take it up. I'm not skinny, but I run three times a week and I just barely fit in the harness.
  • The big dog is at a perfect weight and of course fits very nicely into his harness.
Svelte Alaskan Husky mix wearing a sled dog harness, standing in weeds
(Ignore the weeds and the fact that the big dog is blowing his coat -- he's a handsome hunk.)
  • Perhaps I should limit my own kibble and I, too, would fit nicely into my harness.
  • I've spent a lot of time -- a lot of time -- working on getting the big dog to run nicely right next to me without pulling, no matter what exciting thing is going on around us. We practice this three times a week. He's very good at this.
  • Trying to convince your well-trained dog that he should run in front of you and pull on the leash is a lot harder than it sounds. Like, really, really hard.
Lovely Alaskan Husky mix running next to the camera, not out in front
Velcro dog only gets side views taken while running

So... I'm not really sure how to convince the big dog to run in front of me, and apparently he's too much of a gentleman to pull on the leash. Maybe this isn't our sport. Or maybe we just need to find another person to help in training. I must know someone who'd be willing to go for a training run at 6am, right?