We are delighted to welcome Natalie Stocken, owner of Pampawed Pooches Dog Parlour and an Authorised Paw Naturel Stockist, as our guest blogger this month.
Hi I am Natalie and this is my 3 year old Springer Spaniel Gunner. At the weekend we take part in a sport called Canicross. This sport is fast growing and increasingly popular, being a fun and easy way for both you and your dog to get out, exercise and get fit.
There are several clubs and groups you can join to give Canicross a try. We run with a club called Fit together Canicross, you can find a link to their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/FitTogetherCanicross/
Fit Together Canicross, or FTC for short is a fantastic group to be a part of. They offer classes in a wide range of locations across Kent where trained and dedicated Instructors teach humans and dogs how to take part. These run throughout the week depending on the location and all year round. Although Canicross is considered a winter sport as dogs and excessive heat do not mix well, classes are monitored during the summer to ensure our dogs safety comes first.
Myself and Gunner first discovered FTC when our commitments changed meaning I could no longer find time to attend the gym as well as walk Gunner. An event popped up on Facebook for a taster class for us to join and find out more.
This was at a local location near to us, so we went along and took part and had so much fun. We then joined up to the six week ‘K9-2-5K’ course that followed which is designed to teach you and your dog all you need to know about Canicross and how to correctly take part. Not only did we have fun we made friends with loads of new people and dogs of all shapes and sizes, who wanted to enjoy getting fit together! It’s now been over two years and we are still running every weekend. We have taken part in our first ever races where Gunner has earned himself medals. We have even become instructors ourselves and now teach at our very own location down at Minnis Bay beside a gorgeous sea view.
There are 3 main pieces of Kit you need to get started...
A waist belt for you, these come in different designs and sizes. The most important thing is it needs to be comfortable and fit well as it will support you with a dog attached.
A bungee lead, which takes the impact of your dog pulling and prevents any injuries to your lower back, or your dogs torso.
A Harness for your dog. These are designed to support your dog running and take the pressure in the correct places. Other normal dog harnesses are designed to stop your dog pulling and eventually cause damage to your dog if used in this sport. We feel this is the most important piece of kit to get correctly fitted, as an incorrectly fitting harness can cause discomfort and even pain, which will give a negative experience for your dog.
You can find all pieces of kit on the K9 Sports website, owned by Jenny Brown who actively takes part in Canicross and supports all of us with any kit we may need. https://www.k9sport.co.uk You do not need to be fit to join in or have any running experience. I hated running but having your best friend attached to you and seeing how much fun they are having makes you forget you are working out. We now run 5k runs each weekend and have entered our first 10k race end of this month! Eeek! See that’s the best part about our club FTC, we teach you how to get fit and reach goals like myself and Gunner have achieved. Two years ago I would have laughed it off if someone told me I’d be running 5k races or running 5k at all. New taster classes and courses are coming soon so don’t forget to check out the Facebook page for more info. Or click on the link below to find out more about my next taster class at Minnis Bay.
As you can imagine with all this fun comes a very muddy dog at the end. Especially during the wetter months. Having Paw Naturel to hand when we get home from a run is a life saver. It easily washes off all the mud and brings Gunner up lovely and clean and smelling amazing again. The best part is that it’s not harsh or drying on his coat and skin so it doesn’t matter if baths are a weekly or in some cases with Gunner a couple of times a week. Our favourite shampoo is the Sugar Candy or for a real fresh scent we use Peppermint. One 200ml bottle has lasted us ages!! Way more than the 14 washes indicated on the bottle.
I’d be lying if I said this sport was not addictive, because it is!! If you take part in this sport you will become addicted and a Canicross obsessed dog lover! Who ever knew getting fit could be so much fun, but with your best fur-friend by your side everything is possible.