If you’re thinking of entering your first race, whether it be canicross, bikejor or scooter, there are a few things you should consider before you enter for the safety and happiness of you and your dog.
The first thing to consider – is your dog ready for the noise and stress of a race? If you have been training on your own or in very small groups, you need to think about how your dog will react when surround by lots of very excited dogs and their owners. Dogs can behave very differently when in a race environment and if you’re not sure how your dog might react, it may well be worth you attending a race with your dog as a spectator to begin with, to get a feel for how your dog will behave.
Have you done enough training? You might have run a few miles, a few times at home with your canine companion but you need to make sure your dog has done at least a dozen runs at the distance you are racing, to ensure you are both fit enough to race. There is more stress involved in racing and you will inevitably pick up a faster pace than during training at home.
Do you have the right equipment? Certain races have rules regarding equipment from the specification of the belt for canicross to the length of the line. There are few restrictions on the type of harness you run your dog in, as every dog is an individual and the emphasis is on the dogs’ comfort and safety, but something that does not restrict movement in any way is a must.
Once you have decided you and your dog are ready, have done some training and have the right equipment to meet the race organisers’ rules, then you are ready to enter your first race. I have listed some more useful tips for racing below, but the main thing is to ensure the experience is fun for both you and your dog and soon enough you will be hooked!
Feed your dog well before or after the race to avoid bloat
Take water for yourself and your dog for after the race
A change of clothes (and trainers) is often handy as you may well get muddy!
Towels to dry off any potential mud and water from both you and your dog are a must in these sports
If you want to be really prepared, take safety pins for numbers to pin on shirts and cable ties for bike and scooter numbers (although most organisers will have spares of these)
Good luck and enjoy your first race 🙂
For more information on canicross, bikejor and scooter equipment see our website: www.k9trailtime.com