A Walk in the Park...

Canicross - A beginners' journey

24th April 2023

Have you ever seen someone out running with their dog and wondered how on earth they make that look so easy? Not to mention all the other questions that follow, like... 

Do you need to be fit to start? Do you have to get all the gear upfront?  Can all breeds partake in running?  Is there a local club nearby?  Is it a social sport? 

In this episode of ‘A Walk in the Park’, Patricia and Skye are joined by Ginetta George and Gail Walker, Founders of DogFit International, to uncover all the mysteries behind this wonderful sport of Canicross and provide plenty of hints and tips on how to get out there and have fun, meet new people, and build a really special bond with your dog in the great outdoors. 

In a world where we are all constantly on the go, being able to learn from trusted experts about the animals we’ve made part of our family and life isn’t always easy.   So grab a dog lead, make a cuppa, or just relax to a ‘Walk in the Park’ as Ginetta and Gail take us on a fascinating Canicross journey that's accessible to all. 

[Please note: this is an automated transcription, and as such Animal Friends takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription contained within.]

Patricia Gardiner: So welcome to Walk In The Park with Animal Friends. I'm Patricia and Sky is actually hiding behind the sofa because she's a bit tired now, but I'm sure she'll come out later to talk to you guys, well not talk to you, but we can go through some of the kit. But we've got Gail and Ginetta from dog fit. So welcome today. And thank you for for coming to talk. To us about CaniCross. So I've heard so much recently about CaniCross. It's up and coming. People are really excited about that. So we wanted to get you on the podcast to come and talk to us about it. Tell our listeners what is CaniCross?

Gail: Well, first first, you know thanks ever so much for having us on. It's great to be here, isn't it?

Ginetta: Yeah.

Gail: And it's great to represent the. Sport of CaniCross. Cause we're obviously very, very passionate about it and we've set up dog fit around seven years ago now.

Ginetta: Eight, I think.

Gail: Is it eight years already? Eight years. So you know when you we say it's like a growing sport, I mean. We've been heavily involved in it for a number of years, but I think it's just becoming more mainstream and more people are finding out about it. So what is CaniCross? Yeah. So basically, CaniCross is hands-free trail running with your dog. So, there's three pieces of equipment; your dog wears a specially designed running harness, especially for the sport.

Patricia Gardiner: OK.

Gail: So we can talk about that a bit later. The person would wear a belt, and then there's a bungee line that attaches you to your dog, and the idea is the dog runs out in front and you can run hands-free. So what's nice about that is that rather than running with your dog attached to a lead and you're getting yanked by the shoulder, and it's not very comfortable for you or the dog - you're able to still keep a nice running form, your dog's able to run comfortably out in front, and the bungee is absorbing any shock. But with CaniCross it's very much a social sport, isn't it? And yeah, we would say whilst people often do and can run on their own with their dog - we really encourage people to run in groups and you know, social groups or competitively, and that's really when you see the dogs come to life because they get so excited, don't they?

Patricia Gardiner: So good community spirit around them?

Ginetta: Absolutely. I mean it's a huge sort of growing social sport. And as Gail said, you can run on your own and a lot of us do that. You know, we run with the dogs. It means that you can run with your dog anywhere, so you literally could with the right kit on, you know your dogs running out in front of your your running hands free, you're in balance. With the kit. You could run through a flock of sheep. It'd be absolutely fine. Your dog is is on the lead the whole time. I mean the sport originally came, you know, from the dog sledding community and it was a way that they kept their dogs fit in the summer because obviously these dogs are highly trained. They're pulling in harness in the winter months and it was a way of them starting to keep the dogs fit. And then the sport, that's kind of really taking off from there. It's very big in, I'd say every country is kind of out there doing it and it's good for every single dog and every single person. I think that's one of the things that, you know, in the eight years that we've been going and we're very much about encouraging people into the sport, you don't have to be a runner. You really don't. I mean, I came, you know, I hated running. Yeah. And I only started doing. It because I was looking something to do with my dog. So you know anyone that feels ohh I can't do it because I'm not a runner - you literally start slowly with your dog. And you know, we run in big groups. The dogs love running as a pack. Yeah, it's fabulous. We love it.

Patricia Gardiner: So you touched on there about the types of dogs. So are there any restrictions, you know, does it have to be a particular breed? Can any breed get involved? How does age impact?

Gail: There's obviously a number of factors. I mean generally speaking, no. You know CaniCross doesn't discriminate, the same with people, but we'd say there's obviously certain breeds or certain age dogs, just like people where you might have to, you know, go on the side of caution. You might not be able to run with them or you might need to do shorter distances. Some might be more impacted by the temperature. We always say if you're not sure, always get guidance from your vet and the same with people. Get guidance from your GP, but in theory if it's a social gathering and you're going for a little trot with some friends, you know. We know people, they've got Dachshunds and Boston Terriers, for example, also right through to the Ridgebacks and you know the larger dogs. So really it suits all dogs, but there are obviously certain dogs that thrive better in those conditions, and they're the ones that people at the top end of the sport will run with. But we say, if your dog is fit and healthy and able to get involved, then do so and you can always Canitrek, which is hands free walking. So you don't have to run straight away. So it's a really nice way to take your dog out for a walk without, you know, having to have them on a lead and they're not being, you know, pulling on the neck. So yes, we'd say it's for everybody within reason.

Ginetta: Yeah, I think we we've run with probably every single breed, cross breeds you know every single breed, as you know, as Gail said - at the top end of the sport, you know there are dogs that have been bred specifically for, you know, international competition. You've got your euro hounds and you know Pointer crosses that that are kind of bred for the endurance and the speed. But you know, you'd be surprised. Some of the little terriers are real pocket rockets! Yeah, you know they won't pull you. They're not gonna make you run any faster. My God. They've got the energy and, you know, one of the most fantastic things about the sport is that you, but most you know, while you're running with your dog, you're concentrating on how much your dog is enjoying it. Not really worrying so much about the fact it's a little bit harder maybe. You're running, but just seeing the dogs enjoy it, so you know some of those little Terriers, real pocket rockets, you know, high energy dogs. It's a fantastic thing as well because, unlike just free running off the lead, because they're working with you in harness, you're running together. The dogs absolutely know this. It's more tiring for them for a start, so because they are actually concentrating on what you're doing as well, they're also if you are running in a pack, they're running with the other dogs. You know when you get back from a CaniCross run, the dogs are just sparko! They're literally… you can just tell they're contented. They've had a great time. And yeah, and all breeds. And sometimes the larger breed are the ones maybe that don't pull as much, you know. Some of the and then you'll get breeds that you know maybe don't pull out in front, kind of chop by your side, but when they're all running as a group, they all, obviously do pull forward.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, and cause I always think I've seen Skye in a Pointer to meet up, shall we say a nice running in a pack. They're just so quick. How do you manage that? So I would expect Skye going “I can keep up with that top dog up there!” and off she goes and I'm being dragged along behind. How do you manage that in that kind of community situation?

Gail: Well, you know it's interesting. So that's a very common question because we often get asked that and it's a very good question. But realistically, you're not just gonna get, you know, pulled for miles and you'll be screaming trying to keep up with your dog. You manage it and you train your dog just as much, you train yourself to get used to it, and you build up gradually. But there's a few answers to that question, but really important part is about using commands for cues, so and that's where the fun begins. Really, because you can manage right by using commands, you can help dictate the direction and the pace and how you want your dog to run. So for example, I've taught my dog how to run downhill by running along next to me or slightly behind.

Patricia Gardiner: OK.

Gail: So I've trained him on the command “Back!”. Well, some people say with me, for example rather than, you know, you're just gonna get pulled down the hill at 100mph. But yeah, so using commands is really important. Also some dogs will just run in line with the other dogs, especially running in a group, you don't tend to find one that just runs off on its own - they'll tend to stick together. And then the beauty of the actual equipment as well. So I mentioned earlier that there's a bungee line. Yeah, you're attached. That's attaches to your belt and the dog’s harness, so when the dog is going a little bit too fast, you can sort of like lean back a bit in your in your actual belt or you can grab, if you really have to, you could grab the line.

Patricia Gardiner: OK.

Gail: You're not saying you should, but say you really suddenly have to stop the dog so you can manage the pace by controlling it.

Patricia Gardiner: So like a pressure...

Gail: But understandably, there are some dogs that will… are stronger than others. And and it's not always as easy, but you often find your have a dog that suits you and works with you. You know, but yes, I think generally speaking there's so much you can do to manage that pace. So it shouldn't be daunting for anyone. And we always say if you're not sure, you build up gradually and you start with hands-free walking and you might introduce a short run, stop and walk, yeah. And use the cue, the command to tell the dog to ease back.

Ginetta: One of the things that we offer at Dog Fit is we have classes all around the UK with Dog Fit instructors. So anyone completely new for example yourself with Skye that thought, hey, I'd quite like to try this. You know, it's quite good going along and with someone that's which got experience to help you with the kit. Also, you know that very even if it's a one-to-one session, which most of it you would spend it in walk, it really isn't about you know you join as a group you will meet and then everybody you know gets the dog kitted out and all go for a run. It really isn't like that, you know?

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. It's probably what I built up in my head - being dragged along behind! Carnage!

Ginetta: And you would! Because she's a big dog, and she's a pointer. I can already tell that she would be. She's ready. She would be ready to. I just know that she'd love it. However, you've got to feel confident. She's obviously gonna be, you know, put the harness on and in a typical class situation or one-to-one session, it would be very much about walking, giving you the confidence, first of all, to let go of the lead and hands-free - the dog kind of understanding what's going on, and then from there, you would build up slowly. We always do say that you are in control of the speed, which sometimes if you've got a big dog or you're not very big, you might think “How am I being in control of the speed?”. But as we've mentioned, you know, with the kit, you can sit back and the dog starts to understand that actually you're giving it a command through the, you know, the body action.

Yeah, that, you know, this is the time to kind of come at my pace and you know, dogs that go off too much, you just go back to walk and you know, the command that I use with my dog and I've run with two pointers is, you know, “With me!”. And they know that when I say “With me!”, that means we're dropping back a gear. Obviously they've been trained for years and like any job training, it's about being consistent with the commands. And the dog, you know, and rewarding the dog verbally when it's doing the right thing. So for example, in a lesson you might get a dog that doesn't pull at all. So you know the dogs are completely confused. What I meant to do. But the minute you know you, there's things that you can do to encourage the dog to pull out in front as soon as the dog is doing that. You verbally reward the dog. So the dog goes “Ohh I can understand what you want me to do now and this is really fun!”. And you know the dog can feel and you know when you're running and the dogs all going. You're saying? “Yeah, that's great. Good girl! Good girl! On on!”. I mean, that's the command that I use if I'm going uphill and I want my dog to pull me up the hill!

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Ginetta: I’ll be like “On! On!” you know, and the dogs know it, you know, cause they've heard it's the same as giving command like “Sit!”, you know and as long as they know exactly what you're asking for them so. You're “On! On!” and they'll pull you.

Patricia Gardiner: So how do you get over some of those challenges? So I saw a video around an older gent with his dog. He'd always taught him to be right by his side. They weren't to be out front, they would heel. Yeah. So when they started to do something like this, it was a real challenge because the dog was like “But this is not right. You've always told me that I need to be right beside you. But now you're telling me to go out front?” How do you get over that?

Gail: Well, one thing we would say to our customers is that if you keep the CaniCross equipment for CaniCross, then the dog associates it with going out for a run.

Patricia Gardiner: OK. Yeah.

Gail: And you build up that whole, you know, I get the kit out and the dogs are like “Oh yeah? We're gonna go out.” They're gonna go “We normally drive somewhere and meet friends!” and you know - because it's obviously this is all off-road running so we don't have road-running at all. No tarmac. Very minimal. So you're going off to a car park, you know, all the other dogs are there. So they associate that with “We’re going out for a run with our friends!” Yeah, and I think it's very different from when you're putting them on their lead and collar or their walking harness and they're in a different environment - you're walking them on lead and wherever. But I think as long as you keep the two separate… Unfortunately for me, my dogs have always pulled anyway regardless, so it hasn’t been an issue!.

Patricia Gardiner: Oh yeah, I hate it - Skye's a puller!

Gail: Yeah, but if you have got very well trained, yeah. Like mine, then that's the advice we give.

Ginetta: Yeah. No, absolutely. I mean, the dogs understand it as being a unit. You know, we've worked with a lot of gun dogs as well. You know, they're highly trained to walk to heel and not pull. And you know be super responsive, but actually you know they know it's a different uniform that they've got on. Yeah. And, you know, yeah, they they know. And and if you are running with a group of people, you know as soon. As you arrive in the car park, they're. Super excited. I think in the in the sounds of people that we've introduced to the sport, we've never come across any dogs humours that don't like it once they've tried it, sometimes the hardest thing thing for people to do is have the confidence. To go. OK, I'm just gonna try this. And yeah, a few, you know, can be tricked. You just literally walked hands free as to as a starting point and then putting a little jog and then, you know, you can build things on from there.

Patricia Gardiner: It's a bit like couch to. 5K that they. Yeah, and you can. Just build it up slowly. You don't. Have to go. Full out and expect it to be an experienced runner as soon as you. Get out.

Gail: Yeah. And the other thing is, well, if the dog is used to walking by someones their own area. There are ways to encourage a dog to pull, you know, so it's one thing to say, oh, here's the Canicross kit? Let's go. But sometimes they're like I don't understand. This to back to your question and there are ways that there are someone's. Eager to yeah, sky. Sky ones to go to candy crafts.

Patricia Gardiner: Thank you, baby. So there are.

Gail: Things you can do to encourage them to pull, yeah. And one one is, you know, running with the group. But we've got loads of advice on our YouTube channel. We've done a video all about that because there's lots of different trip, you know, Ways and Means.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, it. And you've talked a lot about the equipment. So how important is that equipment and make sure that it's fits correctly and and what are the kind of things that? You need to think about.

Ginetta: Yeah. I mean the key thing is that the the dog is running in a harness, but it's not any harness. So you know, it's one that is specifically designed for CaniCross. So it will give full range of movement. Through through the front shoulders for the. Dog it's not restricting them in any way, so you know, we casually get inquiries and people are saying I need a harness to stop my dog pulling and it's like, well, this is not the right kit for you. Because our our kit is already, yeah. So and there are different harnesses for different dogs, so it's not a case of 1 particular style brand. It's good for every dog. You know you have to look at the dogs breed. You know how the dog will pull, whether it looks like it will be a strong dog, a dog that maybe won't pour. So just to make sure that we've fitted with the correct harness and when we have a, a, a free consultation guide on our website which will help advise people on the right harness for. So we always put the dogs first, so the dog is obviously super comfortable with the belt that the human wears. We have a couple of different styles, but it the pool from that harness is from the hips. So when we when we call it a waist belt, it doesn't sit, it doesn't pull from the waist at all because. You've got to protect your back. So it's pulling from where your core is. So your core strength there it there is a belt that goes around the waist, but that's just an additional belt stop it slipping down and keep it in place.

Patricia Gardiner: OK.

Ginetta: They're also leg straps, which some people go. Ohh, I don't want leg straps, but actually the leg straps keep the belt in the right position.

Gail: OK. And they're really comfortable. Really comfortable. Yeah, yeah.

Ginetta: I mean, we've we've run marathons with the belt. Yeah, it's not a case of, you know? Ohh. They're gonna rub and I don't want leg straps. So it's important that the belt sits in. The right place for. Human and then obviously you've got the bungee line, which again on our own bungee line that we manufacture ourselves in the UK we we have additional grab handles. So you can pull the dog in if you.

Gail: Saying crossing the road, for example.

Patricia Gardiner: Rather than like a rope burn situation.

Ginetta: Yeah, yeah. You don't wanna vote. I mean the 1st the 1st. I mean, when we started dog fit, you know, there wasn't a lot of places that you could go for really good advice or. Hit it was all you know, being imported. But you know we've developed our our own range of kit and to things that we felt weren't right and we could be improved on. So you know it's important that the dog has the right harness that fits. And also a harness that's not too big on the dog because you don't want it to rub. Yeah, the dog. That's a that's a key point and and obviously the humans to be comfortable and you know you've got your kit and it's for the price of a a pair of cost of a pair of trainers. You've got kit that last you for years it's it's such a.

Gail: Yeah, yeah. And the dog harness is, like you say, is really key.

Ginetta: A great sport.

Gail: Thing and all our customers, they wanna get that right for their dogs. They're they're more than happy to sort of seek out the right bias. But like Jeanette said, it's not just bang on a harness like a walking harness. It's gotta be right for that dog. But it's based on their their size, their strength, how they run. Mm-hmm. You know, so it's not. And so there there's and the maybe and the type of breed as well. So we have. Got a a quite. A big range of harnesses, so we always say to people don't just rush out and buy the what you'd think looks good on the Internet. Yeah, you know, get advice from us. Like we say, we've got a free harness consultation form. So we don't have to be daunted. Like that. And we always say it's quite hard. That's why we set up the form because dogs can't tell you what they what's comfortable and what's like. It's easy for the person to pick a belt. That works for. Them. Yeah, because you can have one with more pockets or, you know, a lighter weight belt. But with the dog, you've gotta get it, right? Yeah. Because they're running in it. They've gotta have that, that something that supports their. Body strength. And the way they run, but they have that that that won't restrict their airwaves or their motion, you know their shoulders and we take a lot of time and effort into getting that right. For the dog.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, absolutely. Because you don't wanna do it. You firstly you spend all this money and then the kids coming. Into your dog. Right. So if somebody is looking to come into the sport? To have some fun, do they have to buy the kit all up front or could you? Do A1. To one session and then try some harnesses out. Do you also do that kind? Of fitting and and. Help guide people. Yeah, I.

Gail: Mean we all do fit. Trainers are all across the country, some overseas as well, and they are experts in fitting and recommending the right equipment, right? What they will tend to do is if somebody came along for an introductory session, a taster, our trainers will have like a kit bag. With some essential items and it might not be the the harness, they'll end up recommending for the customers dog. But it's good enough to give them a.

Patricia Gardiner: And and to understand the fit and then say actually this isn't the right fit exactly product.

Gail: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, and having when they meet the dog, you know, and they assess how they run, they will be able to recommend to their customer which is the best harness to purchase. Yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: Axes. Yeah, yeah. OK. They're not just assessing how you run as a person. Also then looking at the dog predominantly to then find out how they run and.

Ginetta: Yeah, yeah.

Gail: What they're still are trainers. They're they, they're. Fitness professionals, or they've done some sort of training or they've got qualifications and some are also dog trainers as well. So they they offer quite a lot. It's not just sort of the average person down the road who offers can across less lessons.

Ginetta: OK. Yeah.

Gail: You know, they've got a lot of expertise and knowledge, like personal trainers for example, as well as.

Ginetta: Dog trainer and I I think that if somebody isn't near a trainer. And we have gotten all throughout the UK, you know, you know, we always help advise people. We've got that knowledge of many years of fitting. Dogs, you know, understanding, chatting to people or, you know, sending kit, advising and and getting them started. So and it's such a rewarding thing, you know, it's just nothing nicer. Than when you. Get you know an e-mail through from someone going. Oh my gosh, I've just discovered this sport, which is just like now. It's amazing. You know, it's like I'm having having fun and, you know, and it's not about, you know, suddenly you you're encouraging people to go from and run marathons with a dog. It's not about that at all. It doesn't matter if someone you know runs 1K or two. K they've gone. Out they've had a really nice time. The dogs have a really nice time.

Ginetta: You know we.

Ginetta: Work a lot with as well. With rescue dogs. It's a it's a great sport for people that can't let their dogs off the Lees. Or maybe you know the dogs are anxious, or they're, you know, we've had people wear. They're almost embarrassed to come to a class because they're worried the dogs can embarrass them. And it's a bit anxious or it's barky or, you know, all of those things. But actually. With the help and. Kind of support of an instructor as well. Or in a class or even a social situation. You'd be surprised those dogs can be transformational.

Patricia Gardiner: They're just getting to the zone at that point and everything else just melts. Away wrist.

Gail: In the rescue dog side I've got got experienced myself in that area because my dogs are rescue and I've also volunteered at risk Centre where I got in touch and said I'd really love to run some of your dogs and so I with my husband and I and A friend, we would take out, we bring the kit. Now we take some of the younger, more energetic ones out. The run and we, we were told from the sort of the the manager that it was really helping their rehoming prospects because they would come back and they would come, they would not come. Yes, and and it's wonderful to. See when you've. Got like, say, two strong staffers that you've got to have on a double? Lead and you're. Walking them and they you can see they really want to go to be able to actually use the CaniCross. And do a 5K run with them. Yeah. I mean, it's amazing to do. And my own dogs are rescue dogs. And I found that the difference I've won. My dogs, you know, can be reacting with other dogs, and I would take him out on a run and he's friendly with all the other dogs, so he's not even interested because he's in the zone, as you said, and just focus on it.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. Despairs.

Gail: And it's really. Helped him as well. So and this. Is why we. Really do talk of it because we it's just stories like that I think. Yeah. And just been able to because we've experienced it ourselves. And we absolutely love it. And the bond you have with your dog, we just thought more people need to know about this and not to be worried. We want people to know it's inclusive and you can just go out and have fun and get fit with your dog and just have the best. Time. Nice.

Patricia Gardiner: One of our other. Guests fee from Birmingham Dogs home we were talking to her about at the moment. They've got a lot of larger dogs in. So since their boom and then their cost of living crisis, et cetera, they've had a lot of big dogs that have been surrendered and I. For those, I mean that would be phenomenal to be able to give that a go and and people not to be scared to give these things a try.

Gail: Definitely yes.

Patricia Gardiner: I know you know, Sky is a big girl, so I. Was like Ohh will. She pull me, but actually you're right. I mean, the buns that we have. She does listen to me and I think it would just strengthen that to to then continue to work it, yeah. Two, if I was then starting out, if I go right, I'm going to bite the.

Patricia Gardiner: Bullet which? Yeah, I'm pretty much there doing it. Just I'm not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. But you've just said you. Don't have to be a runner. No, but I'd walk for miles and miles and miles with sky anyway. Yeah. What's the kind of starting distance? Am I really looking at in that?

Ginetta: Right.

Patricia Gardiner: You took me through. Like yeah, first class would be OK, so been. For a fitting. And we've had a chat.

Ginetta: So in a in a sort of beginner. So we call it beginner to 5K. Yeah, it's not necessarily mean insinuating people have been lying on the couch.

Patricia Gardiner: Oh, mines, definitely.

Ginetta: And just go.

Patricia Gardiner: To 5K, yeah.

Ginetta: So and we, we do have an online self-paced course that people can do if they can't get to a class. But so we do say people should be able to walk. Risky for 30 minutes. Yep, before they start, tick so.

Gail: Which most people.

Ginetta: Are doing anyway. If they've got a dog, they're out walking the dog anyway. So in that first class, after they've checked that the kit is fitting and everyone's happy, you know it. It might be a group class, so it might be just a one to one session. But there would be another dog there. You typically go and start off walking and you know stopping and starting to give those commands to the dog, so it makes you feel confident to let go of the lead because everybody wants to kind of hold on to the lead because it feels like a safety thing. But once you've worked out, actually you're you're a lot stronger. In stopping your door by leaning. Back and you know, so that would start and in that first kind of week one of the catch of 5K as is common in a catch of 5K course you you might you know jog for one minute and then back to walk for one minute, then jog for one. Minute back to walk. For one minute and literally before you know it, that half an. Hour session or? It's like it's gone. You're not. You're not running 5K. You know, it's not like we're trying to get to 5K, but the you would be having a structured session there would be.

Patricia Gardiner: It's gone.

Ginetta: Kind of a warm up where you'd be walking. You'd then do the and The Walking, jogging and then you'd do a cool down a bit and you would do some stretching as well for, you know, for you at the end and and then, you know, week two and then you would probably go and practise that in the week again, exactly what you've been done there. And then next week you come back, you'll be juggling for a little bit longer. And, but you know, week two the dog is is going on. I remember what this is. And it was it was great. And and you're building up. A little bit more and then. You know the course is normally over 8. Weeks, but by the end of the eight weeks, you should be able to run nonstop with your dog for half an hour.

Patricia Gardiner: OK.

Ginetta: And and the beauty is, I mean whether or not you complete 5K, you know it depends on the the speed that you're running. But typically it is about a 5K distance, but because you're probably concentrating on your dog, you're not realising that, hey, you know, I'm having to. Kind of work with this as well and I'm I'm maybe a little bit out of breath, but you will actually go. With the dog and the really nice thing is and what I discovered cause I came from being. A non runner, yeah, true. You know, in my 50s and non run, I'd never been in the sport thinking I hate running. I'm just doing this cause the IT seems like a nice thing to do with the dog, but actually there and obviously I've gone on now, I've run marathons and and all sorts, but there is a point.

Patricia Gardiner: There's hope for me.

Ginetta: Yet I never say never. I literally never say anyone that says it's not. I can't run. I'd be like.

Ginetta: Give give us a.

Ginetta: Lesson we'll we'll literally the change of thinking on this, but there is a moment, especially if you are.

Gail: On your own.

Ginetta: I mean, I've done events with my dog, done Coastal Trail series events and there's just the two of you and you're out there in this beautiful countryside. Right. And the dog is just you and your dog. Yeah. Exercising. Having a nice time. And the endorphins are kind of kicking in, and that's a great moment. And your dog feels that too. So the whole, I mean, we've got, you know, an infographic on the, you know, benefits of of canny course. And one of them is, you know, those, you know, the the bonds that you build. Between the two of you and I. Swear the dog will. Look at you and go. Hey, we're. Having a really great time.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. Yeah. It's one of my most favourite times of the day. When we go out for our walk together cause it is just us. Yeah. And we just have that quality time together and and just enjoy it. But. You were talking there about the the kind of warm down. Is there anything specific? Obviously, I know for humans there's structures and stuff that we. Need to do for warm up or. Warm down. Is there anything that? You need to do for the dogs to warm them up or warm them down.

Gail: Down where I tried to get my dog to do lunges but. He wasn't having. Him. So no. No, basically what we say is just don't Chuck your dog straight in the car. Yeah, you've done a run. You know, if you're doing it the correct way, yeah. What you really should be doing is after they've done a run and it depends on the temperatures. Well, it doesn't hurt to just to have low enough time to have a a walk. You know for 5 minutes before you get, you know, get to the back, to the car, or just hang out the car.

Patricia Gardiner: Just all. Yeah. And gentle looking down.

Gail: It's not uncommon to see groups of CaniCrossers. Hanging out in. A car park with their flocks of coffee, coffee and tea. And homemade cakes. You know, normally have someone in the group who. Bakes and that's. So if that's not gonna entice you, I don't know what will. But yeah, so.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. So you're just after you run you go, right? There's a reward. At the end, like that's my kind of.

Gail: Let's just undo everything.

Patricia Gardiner: Run. There's a reward.

Gail: At the end, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Ginetta: I mean, obviously there is. A whole thing about feeding your dogs as well. You have to be. Mindful like with sport like. For for humans, you know you wouldn't we we advise you don't feed your dog one to two hours beforehand and afterwards as well. So you kind of just time things with how long you're running for. Obviously we're talking longer distances, not just out for.

Gail: A very yeah, sure. I mean, some dogs are different ones that are like the deep chested, yes.

Patricia Gardiner: Light sky skies as each other. So I have to be really careful and slow, so yeah.

Gail: Yeah, exactly. Yes. Yeah, exactly. And so it's all different. I mean, some people are used to, I tend to feed my dogs after a run anyway. Unless I was, I have like. Gentlemen, certainly about doing marathons. I have done marathons for my dogs and that's a bit different. I would give them some food a couple of hours before and yeah, maybe not. Meal and add a bit of water just so it's more. It's easier to digest and then take some healthy sort of doggy snacks on the run. Just I it's almost a bit like people really cause you couldn't do a marathon without sort of taking some.

Patricia Gardiner: So I seem like in marathons like Jelly babies or or the gel packs. What's? The equivalent, then for a dog doing that.

Ginetta: Little little bits of chicken or so currently.

Patricia Gardiner: Kind of things.

Gail: Yeah. Any snacks you can get so you know the little sausages or something? But just I think it's about small amounts, not a massive amount in one go, and it's a good incentive for them as well. And water is obviously.

Ginetta: Yeah, but the hydration is that it's the the key thing for the.

Gail: The most essential thing. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I when I've done long distances, I'll carry my a hydration pack and my dog is happy to sort of drink out of that. We carry a. Little you know. Disposable collapsible capsules. Yeah, not suppose. And you pick routes if you're doing your social runs, you pick routes where you know. If it's a little bit warmer routes where there are water stops, natural water stops, the dogs can cool down and take on water.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. So you just hit a? A key question there. Can CaniCross be done in any weather?

Ginetta: Well, it typically the sport is biggest in the winter months when it's cooler and you'll find that the dogs will obviously run better. It's the it's more comfortable for them when the weather starts to warm up, you would be running earlier. You'd definitely be making sure that you're running kind of with water and and it's about. Knowing your dog as well, so obviously the flat face breeds. You wouldn't be running. Through the the summer months at all. And you know, I also it's how fit your dog is. And you know, if you've run consistently can of course consistently through the winter, your dog will be fitter and to be able to run through the summer.

Patricia Gardiner: Of course, yeah.

Ginetta: But you know it's about the humidity. It's not so much about whether it's hot and sunny, it's about the humidity. And I think people. Just like sometimes you see people walking with dogs on pavements. It's like you've got, you've got to understand your dog and, you know, running more shadier areas. Run with this water, but a lot of people will stop definitely through the kind of the height of the summer. Which is one of the things that we recommend. And even if we are doing, if there are classes running, if it gets too hot, we wouldn't run a class and they would be quite early. In the morning. Mm-hmm. So it is that, you know, that is one of the things to make sure that. The the dog is really hydrated well.

Patricia Gardiner: So you don't. Switch in the summer from running to, I don't know, free swimming with the dogs somewhere.

Ginetta: Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah.

Gail: It is still an option, but yeah, generally speaking, in this country there's not too many weeks where you're not able to go out.

Gail: Yeah, yeah, it's true. But I would I definitely genetically saying about going out early just early morning might meet up with friends, you know, and run at six. 7:00 in the morning cause it's cause you got the daylight and it before it hot. It heats up cause actually it's cooler then than it.

Ginetta: Is late evening cause.

Patricia Gardiner: Yes, yeah, yeah. Cause it just tracks. All the heat by that point, isn't it?

Gail: Exactly. And like we're saying, you have to put the welfare of the dog first and. You wouldn't walk your dog in the height of the. This the the heat and let alone run them, and I think it's about using common sense and being sensible and. Knowing your.

Patricia Gardiner: Dog, right? Yeah, no one knows.

Ginetta: Exactly, yes. Yeah, it's better than you. Yeah. I said I think one important thing to. Mention, which we kind of haven't covered is. If you if someone listening to this is a is a runner already and thinks you know I can run marathon distances and you know my dog, he goes for a free run and and OK, that's it. We're gonna get the. Kit. And I'm gonna go and run a marathon with him. That is an absolute no.

Gail: No, it is.

Ginetta: For a dog running in CaniCross quit it's it's completely different for it. To it free run. So we even take people that are experienced runners that the dogs have never came across, and they might even do, you know, the end part of a couch to 5K. With the dog. Because running in the kit for the dog is a whole new thing. And it's tarring in a different way. It's obviously the dog is taking a strain through the harness cause it's actually. Putting the owner or running with you, I mean obviously you're trying to run with the dog, although the the owner is the one dictating the speed, but it is very much about the the dog kind of building up to it. And when we've run these longer distances. Is we've literally gone like you would a human. You'd go week by week, you know, on your kind of training schedule, and you'd make sure your dog is out, you know, ticking off those weekly sessions to build up to it. So even if you if somebody thinks their dogs quite fit and they can run, really it's good to take those first. Steps and it's.

Gail: Mentally draining as well, so that's extra. Hiring for them. Yeah, OK.

Patricia Gardiner: But that's one of the key things, right? They need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise to to make sure that they're happy. Yeah, so. All going well, you know things. Can happen. What are the what are? Some of the injuries that you've seen either for people or dogs during a a session or after a session, if they haven't warmed down or just not really seeing it.

Ginetta: I've been very lucky.

Gail: I haven't actually, I'm not to say that I haven't actually come across. Touch wood, I mean people. I mean, as a person, I'm not, you know, it's not. On unknown site might stumble on going off road, but that yeah, that's normal. I've not tend to do it.

Patricia Gardiner: With the talk.

Gail: Is nobody on my own because the dog actually makes me focus more on where I'm running. It's weird to say that I can get if I'm running on my own on the trails.

Ginetta: It's very easy to sort.

Gail: Of you know, yes, you get a bit distracted. Yeah, but when you're over the door, you'll like Genetta said. It's so lovely watching the dogs. Fun and you're actually looking at what your dog's doing. You're. I think I'm more in tune with what with my surroundings. OK, that's not say it doesn't ever happen. I'm sure people do stumble and. But you know what dogs are like. They just think what's going on. Why have we stopped?

Ginetta: And I thought I've fallen.

Ginetta: Over CaniCrossing, you know, it's like inevitably if you. Running those amounts of times you there will be a time, even if you're running without the dog, you might stumble over something you don't see.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. So yeah.

Ginetta: So yeah, my dogs going. What you doing down there then? Because we're still attached to. Obviously. Yeah. I think with the dogs really so touch, we've never really seen anything because you're always really care for. About what they're doing, the dogs are, you know, even if you're running in a a big pack of dogs, everybody's got their dog on the lead at the same time. So everyone's running, you know, it's not a case of a big free for all the dogs are. Jumping and jumping all over each other and and so it's. It's quite controlled from that point of view. It's not a freefall and and you know, even people somebody's got a reactive anxious door the that person would be everyone in the group would know that that you know that particular dog maybe doesn't like. Dogs anywhere near him but and he likes to run at the back. So you make sure that that you engineer it so that that is how it how it works. So I mean we've had you know we we do chosen events where we obviously we. And meet people. And we had someone coming on the stand one time. She was a veterinary nurse and had a she was in tears because she had actually her dog was so reactive that she could never do anything with any other dogs and had actually gone to one of her her trainers and done some one to one sessions and she was now able to run.

Gail: With a group.

Ginetta: Or by it. Within her own distance away, but for her it was just like the most amazing thing, because she was able. To join in something. Yeah, and. And we do get dogs that will run in a muzzle, you know, if somebody is worried about their dogs, you know, it's got to be the right. Sort of muscles. So the dog can have enough space to breathe and obviously drink and everything. Us, but that's fine as well, you know.

Gail: Yeah. It's about marrying your dog, right?

Patricia Gardiner: And and it's one of the things I really want to dispel. As part of this podcast series about the use of muzzles. Because you know, some people are using muscles because they like to eat stuff on the way round. It's not always from being reactive or being a big dog or whatever it might be. But you know, as you say, as long as it's right for that dog in the situation and it's not doing them. Farm. Then you know, if everybody feels more comfortable doing that, it's just, yeah, it would be. Crazy not to.

Gail: Is that OK? We'd rather someone came along with their dog and with a muzzle than didn't go out and. Come and do. It at all. Yeah. And where what's great about our the dog fit trainers is we always ask customers always fill in a a form to tell. The trainer a bit about themselves and their dog. And the dog fit trainer will make sure that environment is right for everybody. They're very individual centric. You know in the sense that they will make sure everyone's catered for, whether it's your, the slow one at the back who's you know.

Gail: To make sure you.

Patricia Gardiner: Would you be me, not Skye?

Gail: Don't feel it makes what everyone feels.

Patricia Gardiner: But it'd be me. Yeah, but.

Gail: Like is having a good time, but equally if the. Dog is anxious or reactive. Netta mentioned earlier, they might run at the back. They might wear a muscle. I know lots of people that run their dogs in muzzles. I've seen people race their dogs in muscles. I think it's about getting the right as long as it's. The right fit. They can breathe OK and they can drink. Yeah, bit. Yeah. Some people use a muscle just for the start of the run when they're when the dogs all hyped up and bit some, you know, some get very excited. Yeah. And then once they settle down, they don't need to worry about it. The beauty of CaniCross is that you have the bungee. Line, which might typically be about two metres, so as long as everyone respects that distance. It's, you know, you're it's social distancing. Like perfect, it's in that. Yeah. So yeah, yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: Ohh no, I love that. See, we've talked about the benefits of building that bond. What are the other benefits for? For you, when you're running as an example. You're building the bond, but you know mental health. I know exercise and mental.

Gail: 100% yeah, yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: Health go hand in hand.

Ginetta: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, you've got to walk your dog anyway, so you might as well. You don't need to go to the gym. Just you can you can go take the dog for a. Run, but obviously you. Know that fact that you're doing something outside, you get the endorphins that are after. That's, you know, obviously general all round fitness you know it's like you, you're doing that little bit of exertion. So obviously, you're you're gonna get fitter and with together with that comes you know better. Sleeping better eat. You know, all of those things you're all working up to something with your dog without. Consciously having to feel that you're making sacrifices, I think.

Patricia Gardiner: Why go to the gym if you?

Gail: You've got strong.

Patricia Gardiner: Can run your dog, right? Yeah.

Gail: Exactly. And you might even get, you know, a a 5K PB if your dog pulls. Well, so that's another bonus, isn't it?

Patricia Gardiner: How much does that? Actually, so I'm really quite interested. In this bit, because Sky Sky. Will be a stronger. Yeah. How much would she actually? Help me do you?

Ginetta: Think. Yeah. Well, she. I mean the thing. With the dog pulling you.

Ginetta: She would pull.

Ginetta: When you when you take a stride. OK, so with the dog pulling you, your stride is gonna be that little bit longer where you're in the air a little bit longer. So you will will run faster and. And that that tension on the lead as well, you can feel down the lead will encourage you to actually keep going. I mean, I've, you know, I've. Done quite long distances and you feel like you're flagging and. The dogs going. Come on, come.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. Come on. Mom. You. Yeah.

Ginetta: On you and it's like having your own personal trainer. Yeah, with you. That's going, yeah. We can do this. Come on. We can do this. And literally, it's like having your friend there going. Come on, come on. Just that little bit more. Yeah. So, yeah, you'll definitely run faster, 5K.

Gail: But yeah, and and genetics, right, sometimes it they might not be pulling extra hard, but it's psychologically you get a boost. You know, like like we said, like we call them our personal trainer. And there's a reason for that because you've got somebody with you that's motivating.

Ginetta: It's on your side, so we can do this together. And yeah, it's amazing.

Gail: You. Yeah, yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: So my ask you playing what is your best CaniCross story? It could be the funniest. It could be the most inspiring could be the most dreadful.

Patricia Gardiner: Ohh, but you know that was one thing that happened and I'm still going and it's still happening and I love it.

Gail: I don't know my my my best personal stories are actually how I first discovered CaniCross, I think because.

Ginetta: OK.

Gail: And my first ever run because until you do it, you don't realise just how transformative it. I don't know. It's it's just the the buzz I got from it. So I was out walking. And with my husband, with a couple of our dogs, and I've got a a ridgeback Doberman cross called Red. She's an old deer now, but Sir, but she was in her prime when I was first interested in any cross and we bumped into a group that we're doing some kind of kind of. Cross a load of officials, mostly. Because they were. Training for an event that was happening the weekend after. And they were running for their local charity. They. So I was like, I'd heard about Kelly Clarkson. And Jenny mentioned earlier. There's not a lot of information around, especially back then going back a few years now and. I ran up to them, so I really want to do this with my dog and they said join us next week and we'll give you. A quick training run. So I brought red my ride back, cross along and. I always remember. When I she just took to it straight away. Yeah. And I was running with everybody else in a group, and the only way I could sort of compare it to I felt like I was. In the monks, the dogs in a. Pack right? No, I thought. My God.

Patricia Gardiner: How lovely.

Gail: Because at the time I've never experienced that before. And I thought actually I am. Obviously there are other people and all their dogs, but they were probably about eight or nine of us. Can't remember now, but to me it was quite a big thing because I think I'm actually running in amongst the dogs and this is what it feels like to be another dog in the pack. Yeah, and. I remember running, you know, getting home and saying to my husband, Oh my God, that was amazing. And I was ordering kit on on the, you know, on the phone trying to get it.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, straight away. Done.

Gail: And it arrived and then I entered a race. That same race. They were all training for the following week with my bridge back cross. She pulled like a train and then I handed her over to my husband and said. Right. She's yours now. I'm gonna run with my staff.

Patricia Gardiner: She was straight in the deep end.

Gail: She yeah, she was like a machine. And, you know, she loved it well, and that was the thing as well. Seeing her just. Having the best fun of her life, so I always think I'll just go back to my favourite stories, my own personal experience, how I discovered it and then never looked. Back since and.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, and how long ago was that?

Gail: Ohh gosh. Maybe early. When did when? When did we first? Must be about 2013 or 12 or something?

Ginetta: Yeah. So we've been 11 years, yeah.

Gail: I can't remember now it's going back quite. A while but. I remember at the time I couldn't really find that much information about Kenny course, so I started writing books about it and then just and then organically. Grew a local. Group in my area. There and got people met up with people. Some of the people, the people I met that first time for that run and we just started meeting up as a group, but socially. And then everyone tells their friends and yeah. Then it's everyone.

Patricia Gardiner: And it grew from there from there.

Gail: Comes and goes the group, but it just grew.

Patricia Gardiner: Yes. Yeah. Well, you can see the passion with you guys about this. I mean, it's just wonderful. Yeah, so.

Gail: What's your? Yeah, think of it.

Ginetta: Thing. Well, I well, I guess I guess for me and the thing that I was thinking about and I do tell people is that I would completely say I was not a runner at all. Yeah, I was a horse. Rider so I obviously.

Gail: OK.

Ginetta: Already did something with an animal that competed. And literally came to CaniCross because my dog was a failed gun dog. So she's a pointer and I was looking for something to do and struggling to find how you did it. And I think I just said, oh, I've seen this sport called Kenny Cross and then suddenly my husband for my birthday bought me this kit. And it's like, oh gosh, you better do something about this struggled and eventually. Made contact with GAIL and said can I just come and see you? Just cheque that the kit fits. Yeah, not a runner. I can. I'll go away after that. Just could you just cheque that? It's my dog. And then I'll go and learn to run and then I'll come back because I think you have to be a runner to CaniCross. And I'm not a runner. And yeah, and then then met with girl and her husband. And I've been, like, 11 years ago. And and thought, Oh my gosh, I can do this and it's like and from then obviously just. Carried on, but I think the thing about for people that don't run, that's listen to this. There's always the 1st 10 minutes when you start. Running that you. Don't think I can't run and people give up. After 10 minutes because it's about. The oxygen going around your body and your body is settling down and working out that you're doing a bit of exertion when you're doing it with the dog. You are so concentrated on what your dog is doing. Yeah, and that you forget about that. And actually, if you take. Things slowly. I mean I've. Now gone on long marathons and there's no way I would have. Done that without the dog. And without starting CaniCross and and I think that the jury that we experience, as GAIL said, you know, we're as a business. We're very much about encouraging anyone to do it. It's really you don't have to be a runner. You don't have to have a dog that's designed for the job and and it doesn't matter at what level you do it. That yeah, that.

Gail: And what distance, you know? Yeah, just get outside.

Ginetta: Is enormous, self facing in that and.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, as long as you're giving it a go.

Ginetta: Yeah, it's like and people that come. Up and go. Oh my God. I just you know. When my sister, you know, it's in her late 50s, never a runner. Then the London Marathon off to Kennicott getting a dog and CaniCrossing. And and all the rest of it. So it's lovely when you hear those. Stories. Yeah, so.

Patricia Gardiner: So people listening at this and they go, do you know what you've inspired me to? Go and get a go. How do they?

Patricia Gardiner: How do they go about doing that?

Ginetta: So the dog fit co.uk is our website, so obviously that will lead you to information about. Bits harness consultations. You know we we've we've, we've got a team at the end of the line that are there to help as well as GAIL and I. We've got a YouTube channel with, you know, lots of video on it, from beginner Q&A's. There's information to hear there. We do have a podcast called Talk CaniCross. Where we've covered different things. Yeah, so we we can put you in touch with your local dog fit trainer. So yeah, who will then offer? Classes one to one classes. We have an online beginner to 5K course. If someone can't get to a. Yeah. So there are so many ways that they can get involved.

Gail: Yeah. And I can't say enough good things about our trainers, though, because they are amazing and they're as passionate as us and that and we only, you know, work with people who have that same ethos. And they are brilliant. So if anyone you know, if you do. If they can find a train in their local area, cause we've got a map on our website and then we put them in touch genetic. Said. But definitely you and you don't have to commit, you just go for a taster session, see how it goes. You know the trainer will loan it up the kit and if you don't like it, fine. But I pretty much guarantee you will and the dog certainly will. But yeah, yeah, I'll just say just give it a go and yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: When you give it a go. People just get hooked. Today, they're just like this is amazing.

Ginetta: And the social side as.

Ginetta: Much, yeah.

Gail: Well, I think, yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: I've never thought about. It about the whole running as part of a dog pack.

Patricia Gardiner: I mean, it's just must be so free.

Gail: Yeah, it totally is.

Ginetta: You know when. You're when you're running with, you know, a group. Of people and it's it's a bit like. A running club, you know and.

Ginetta: There's no well better.

Patricia Gardiner: I've never seen part of a running club set.

Ginetta: Apparently it's working, running.

Ginetta: But but everybody who running with loves their dogs, you know? Yeah. So and you you, you know, you might be running at the front with somebody and then you'll be at the back and people you know. And the dogs might stop and every everyone the dogs come first so it's make. Ensure you know that everyone is having a great.

Gail: Time, but this is the thing. Often you see the social side, you don't appreciate until you've gone out and started doing it. And people who are new think how do you talk and you're running and talk at the same time.

Ginetta: But you generally.

Gail: You end up running a pace. You can and if you can't, we always stop. And have breaks. And that's what's nice about you got excuse.

Ginetta: Gotta catch up, yeah.

Gail: Haven't you know my dog needs a drink? Yeah, you know, get your breath back. So, like when you're on your own, you can't really do that, can you? And but yeah, I mean, it's lovely. And that's when you normally. Chat and and you. And you've all got something in common already, haven't you? You've got your dogs and so straight away.

Patricia Gardiner: And it's lovely to hear about that community. I did some motor swimming. And that had a. Huge community. As part of it as well. Just the dog was very upset watching me swim around and go in. I can't get. In there with. You why can I not go with you loves swimming. But yeah, if there was actually, I think we're gonna go through some harnesses. And have a. Quick look at one that might fit sky just to to have a look at some of the kit and and what does it. I know there's different versions. Yeah. Should we? Go through that and then.

Ginetta: Yeah. OK. Well we as I said there, there is obviously different harnesses for different dogs, so we've actually walk school.

Patricia Gardiner: This is where they say never little dogs or kids.

Ginetta: The thing about the the Candy Crush harness is obviously they come in a range of sizes, yes. So you know, if you can imagine from your tiny terrier, right. Right up. And there are there is different styles. I mean in a lot of cases I mean we manufacture our own range of dog fit, yeah, kits in the UK.

Patricia Gardiner: She is. It was important for us.

Ginetta: To do that. And you know, this is this is our our, our kind of basic harness that will you know a lot of dogs can start off with.

Patricia Gardiner: Say it.

Ginetta: You know, their head is through here. Obviously the legs are through here and then it clips up around the middle, finishes half bridles.

Patricia Gardiner: So that just gives them complete free movement, but a nice support.

Ginetta: Yeah. So and then that and then you you click on your bungee line here. So and like a normal walking harness that you might see where the clip point is maybe half a little fact, this is a little bit further back. So and the harness is a design that the pool comes right down through under the chest.

Gail: Yes. Yeah.

Ginetta: And back through. So it's comfortable in the dogs and it's.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah. And they litmus and habit as well, yeah, yeah.

Ginetta: Adjustable. Yeah, yeah.

Gail: But lightweight so they can run in it. But also if it got wet they run jump in the water, it's. Fine as well so.

Patricia Gardiner: Ohh fab. Yeah, any bit of water sky, straighten it.

Ginetta: Absolutely. And we. And there are different styles of harness, so this is another one and and typically and one of the reasons about this one along is is for a a hound shaped door like sky. So your vine vine maronas your viziers your jump pointers. You know this is a good style because I can sort of tell. She'll probably be a really. Puller this is, you know, with a, with a stronger pulling dogs. You want a bit more of a technical harness and and again this one you know her head would go through here the arms here her legs here you know there's no you know some walking harnesses you might see something goes across the dog's front legs that would be an absolute no no yeah for CaniCross. And because that would be, that's more of an anti pull harness and you don't want that. Yeah. With this one it's a long harness. So it would travel away the down the dog's back, probably keep her slightly straighter when she's running. And you, you clip on the line there. So this is a just a different style.

Ginetta: OK.

Patricia Gardiner: How do you put her in that one?

Ginetta: So you would. You'll bunch up like that. You get her her head in here and put her legs through. So another consideration when we're helping advise people, you know, if you've got a dog that is maybe anxious about people, you know, touching its front legs, this might not be the best style because it there is a bit more fluffing and you know, that kind of thing. So it really is.

Patricia Gardiner: And then populate. You don't end up wrestling now.

Ginetta: Understanding what the dog's about. To show that one.

Patricia Gardiner: Are you looking for that?

Ginetta: Yeah. So and this is so this is our dog fit. Can you cross belt the human? And we colour we we have the harnesses in a range of colours cause people like. Their own particular colour? Just pull this out of the bag so it's so so you can. Right. So this is the the human belt. Yeah. And this big wide pocket.

Gail: Yeah, and matchy matchy, sorry.

Patricia Gardiner: What's that slide?

Ginetta: Here is the bit that actually sits on your bum. So that's the bit that.

Patricia Gardiner: You're being right, then yeah, OK.

Ginetta: So nice support. Yeah. So support and then so this pit at the top is the bit sit. Around your waist, then.

Gail: And that's just holding it up. That part, yeah.

Ginetta: Then this. You've got the leg straps here. So your legs would go through here? Yeah, it's a bit difficult to see there. The other one, the other side and and then there's a, the part that comes out in front attaches to the dog, has a ring on it here.

Gail: The other ones, the other ones already.

Ginetta: OK, so basically that's you here and then you the the bungee line would attach here and then that the other end would attach to. The dog so. You know that really keeps the two of you kind of. In balance, yeah. I mean with all our kids, we always I don't think. Here we give. One of our beginner guides as well, which just kind of talks about the history of the sport and. Commands and where you can go next. So it's a nice bit of reading with. Your coffee. Love it. What do you think? Skype. Yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: Ready. She's like, I'm ready to go. Yeah.

Ginetta: And this is the bungee line so you can see it's got that elastic bit which which which helps with any sort of jolting. Yeah. And one bit gets clipped onto the dogs harness. We have got a little grab handle here that if you were crossing. The road or something? You could pull it off. Close and then the other end clips onto your belt.

Ginetta: And that's it. You're.

Gail: Good to go. That's.

Patricia Gardiner: It that's really 3 bits of cake, yes.

Gail: I mean, if you go on our YouTube channel. And our website, you'll let people can see what it looks like in reality.

Gail: Yeah, it's really cool actually.

Ginetta: Yeah, we do a range of colours, but I just. Bought a matching number.

Patricia Gardiner: And I. We we, I have to, I have to. Put sky in a lot of. Pink anyway, because mistake her for a boy all the time because she's big. Time, don't they, baby? You're just a big girl on it.

Gail: She's beautiful. How's it?

Patricia Gardiner: Going so just one last question because it's been absolutely fascinating having you guys here today. If there was one piece of advice that you could leave our listeners with about CaniCross. What would it be?

Ginetta: Oh well, it was funny because we always asked this question. So I guess as well and that they would all say just just do it. Just absolutely. Just do it. Just give it a try and and yeah, it it is like do not be anxious that you're not a runner. Your dog can't do it. You know, just that one. So give it a chance and then you will see. Actually, it's just this amazing world out there.

Patricia Gardiner: Skype agreeing with you? Yeah. Then mummy, I.

Ginetta: I think Skype

Ginetta: Need to feed? It'd be really good. Yeah, definitely, yeah.

Patricia Gardiner: I'm just worried I'd let her down.

Ginetta: The other way. No, but you're a team. That's The thing is, a team with your dog? Yeah. So it's, there's that great moment that you'll get that goes, hey, we're doing. Yes, you know. Yeah. So give it a.

Patricia Gardiner: Go. What about you? Any other advice?

Gail: I was, I would say similar, but I would have said, you know, don't don't be put off because you can hands free walk, yeah. And I always think. Just get the right if you get the right kit and your own kit as well you know. Well, think you're running. Off road, so trail shoes. Yes, I.

Patricia Gardiner: Just, I mean I.

Gail: I'm saying all the.

Patricia Gardiner: Gear just generally no idea.

Gail: Yeah, but I always think. Get off to a good start and you'll you'll find you know because you want people to have, really. Good you want. To have a good experience for your first time so you know trail shoes for you. And getting the right kind. Of cross equipment for you know, for the dog and yourself and but yeah. And don't put pressure on yourself. Like Janita said, it's you're going. To have fun and you're going to have. One with your dog and it doesn't matter whether you. Just walk for half a mile. Yeah, but it. Will just take off from there.

Patricia Gardiner: Yeah, yeah. Lovely. I thank you so much for coming in today. I've learnt loads. I am gonna sign up, I think. Yeah, as as I said beforehand, I I did look in January as my new exercise for the year. My my new hobby and and just in just like literally 24 hours before I got the e-mail back.

Gail: Good, good.

Patricia Gardiner: I just signed up to aerial hoop. So, but Skype telling me we.

Ginetta: And someone doesn't.

Patricia Gardiner: Have to go and.

Ginetta: Fire. Yeah. Fire saying we get the errors.

Patricia Gardiner: Find something that we can do together. Yeah. At least the aerial hoop, his upper body and core strength. This will give me the card. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. But thank you again. It's been fantastic to meet you guys. Thank you.

Gail: Complement each other then yes. It's been our pleasure. Thanks. Thank you.


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