By Tamara McRill
Dog scootering could be the perfect canine sport for those of us who are envious of the athletic coolness of mushing, but just aren’t down with playing outdoors in frigid temps.
Not being the most graceful individual on the planet, I was a little leery of flying behind my chocolate Labrador, Wuppy, on some sort of tiny Razor scooter. Besides that, not many people over the age of nine look too hip on one of those contraptions. Turns out that’s not the type of scooter used at all! What is used is a more sturdy, unmotorized scooter with mountain bike-like tires, brakes and sometimes front shocks.
Now that’s the kind of quasi-retro conveyance I can dig. It’s also the one I’m the least likely to go careening off of, potentially injuring both myself and my precious dog.
The sport of dog scootering does use some of the same equipment as dog sledding, namely the harness. A gangline attaches the harness to the scooter. You can even use more than one dog, which is actually recommended if your pooch weighs less than 30 pounds.
You can teach your dog the same commands used in mushing, but I probably won’t. I have the utmost confidence in my dog’s ability to learn those, but not so much in myself. If I’m about to slam into a building or ongoing traffic, I know it’s going to be English directions tumbling out of my mouth. Of course we’ll have all common commands, like “whoa” and “leave it” down first.
By Suzanne Alicie
I know that our lovely editor Julia only assigned this title to me because I’m known to want to try the things I write about. Well, surprise! I’m not giving Canicross a shot… although for an athletic person and a well behaved dog it could be a fun activity. My dog Bear has ‘ADD of the nose’ and just a normal walk around the block means me racing along behind her frantically as she runs back and forth following scents. Harness or not, I definitely won’t be trying Canicross with her!
Canicross is the sport of harnessing your dog and running or walking cross country. It’s similar to the sport of Skijoring which I’ve thoroughly explored here before. How is Canicross different, you may wonder, from simply taking a walk? Consider the actual idea of cross country walking or running – it’s a test of your endurance and stamina, strength and coordination to be able to travel long distances. Now think about heading up a large hill while you’re walking or running cross country. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a partner harnessed in front of you to give you a little bit of a pull?
Harnessing your dog for Canicross is much like harnessing him to a sled for pulling power. When you run or walk cross country with your dog you have a partner, a bit of extra strength. It also strengthens your bond with your dog to learn to work together as a team to get where you are going. Canicross does require that your dog learns to keep tension on the line while traveling at a speed that is comfortable for you. Your dog needs to be accustomed to a halter and to having some weight on the harness in order to learn the restraint and pace of Canicross.