I have decided to write this post on the day that I started the harness training with my boy. In fact I hope maybe this will help someone as I personally really struggled how what and where to start.
There are a lot of “experts” out there on social media and also bloggers who writes same things, but who is the best? who’s school and practise is the best? I don’t know and it is hard to say. I will just share what I have done with Laferra as a puppy and what I did different or same with Masi.
Lucky Roger was natural from start. Laferra on the other hand was very shy, so her socialising with canicross took longer and I was being patient.
Shy Puppy School
Laferra from being 5 months old, was introduced with harness, so when she ran free she had one on, so she got used. She never pulls on lead during walk so this was a next step. When she tuned 10 months old I started power walking her so she got used to being ahead. She learnt directions and tight line. I always knew after free running she is fit so month later we started canicrossing and she became natural. The racing season started…. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I discovered during couple races, that Laferra doesnt like noisy people behind, other dogs behind or a tag name bouncing of a collar on dogs during racing. The result of this dislike was that she kept looking behind which distracted her from full running. We took a step that we asked our friends to help and run with us making noise, overtaking us, let us overtake… few weeks and we were actually off to IFSS World Championship. She faced all those three things and didnt have a problem at all. We are in preparation for our 3rd season, and Laferra matured a lot. She is very strong, confident but still sensitive to little thing. I am always there for her and not forcing her to anything if I see she just doesnt enjoy it. So one day we can go on scooter and she doesnt enjoy it, we just stop. I scoot and she runs free as that what she loves. She decideds! However when it comes to canicross every training she gives me more and more. All the hard work pays off and I am looking forward to more races with my princess.
From the beginning Masi was also wearing running harness just even in a garden (4month old). All that rubbing of NSD free motion harness was not his favourite. After few days he got used to it and I just kept him in walking harness on our walks so he always had some rubbing. I only put him on lead for 100-200m when we got to woods he was off lead. All under control and just by himself. We continue these for couple months.
At 6months old I started letting him off with Laferra, I knew this would be a faster pace as he might chase her. Once again all under control. He started to pull very strong when attached to me. Line was tight and he just goes and goes.
I have added a little bit more of walking in harness on lead for the boy too. At 7 months old we started his canicross training. An easy 200m to start to see how he is liking it. Oh gosh he is natural and just goes. He wasnt impressed for me stopping at all! It wasnt the easiest 200m in his life due to fact that there were two barking dogs nearby. But I was proud of him he took it as a pro. I was very scared about this moment.
So once a week we started doing short distance with Masi. And only during his 3rd time, just little as 300m … man … he jumps on me and barks… How quick he grasped that canicross is amazing fun. I love that dog. So we cant run as counting down makes him even more hyper and no line out at all. Oh gosh! I better work on that now. That day I discover we defo need to work on “on by” as on 300m we passed 2 dog walkers… Masi literally dragged me towards them. Nothing happened and we continue running as I manage to catch the line, but “on by” is a must.
Here are some rules for canicrossing my boy:
- only short distance, and slowly increasing it (starting from really just 200m)
- no counting down (makes him super hyper)
- to start a quick go may be enough
- make it fun and positive experience
- train with others overtaking and no lunging (on by)
- keep having fun
- decrease so much free running so we control all the “running”
- potentially do canicross twice a week with a boy for short distance
To be continued ….