Does Canicross Encourage Pulling?

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Does Canicross Encourage Pulling
Caption: A husky is leading the runner on a trail run

So what does canicross have to do with pulling? A lot. For starters, canicross is cross-country running with dogs, which requires your pup to pull you in a way similar to sledding. So, for this reason, we should expect that it encourages pulling. But is that really the case?

That’s the question a lot of people have been asking. As canicross gains more and more popularity, many dog owners wonder if their four-legged friends might be encouraged to pull too much by this sport.

But is there any truth to these fears? Let’s look at some common myths about canicross and see how they stack up against the facts!

Myth #1: Since canicross is a form of running where dogs pull their owners while on a leash, doesn’t this mean that canicross reinforces pulling behavior?

The truth is: No. As long as you teach your dog correctly, canicross won’t reinforce pulling behavior. Let alone the standard harness for walking or running, and have your canine put on a special harness designed for pulling while you train them to run ahead of you. This will help them learn to distinguish which harness is meant for pulling.

Myth #2: The fact that canicross is a competitive sport. Doesn’t this mean that dogs are being encouraged to pull hard and run fast to win races?

The truth is: There’s no denying that you would want them to pull and run as fast as possible in the competition. But remember, canicross dogs build up their endurance over time, which means all dogs involved, even those who may be faster initially, may end up running at a more steady pace for longer distances.

And remember that you are the one who’s in charge and controls your dog’s speed. In fact, the only one who can control the dog’s movement during a canicross race is the handler. For instance, when you feel that your dog is getting too fast, all you have to do is use your voice and give them an “Easy/ Steady” verbal command to ask them to slow down. Think of it like horseback riding. A good rider never lets go of the reins and controls the horse’s speed.

Myth #3: Canicross races make dogs more likely to pull, especially those excited about the sport!

The truth is: Not really! Many dogs who try out cross-country dog joring sports like canicross do not end up becoming more likely to pull. There are several reasons for this, but the most crucial one is that any dog who participates in canicross races has undergone the necessary training. Most importantly, they have learned basic obedience skills, meaning they only pull when told.


So there you have it, the three myths about canicross and the facts.

So, does canicross encourage dogs to pull? Sure it does! But only when you are canicrossing with your dog due to the nature of the sport. Remember that you are the owner at the end of the day. You tell your dog when to pull and when not to.

Canicross is a safe sport for dogs and their owners alike as long as they are trained correctly. If you’re thinking of trying out canicross instead of regular running with your dog, then here’s some help: Guide to Canicross for Beginners.

Good luck!