When I started the Couch to 5k program in January I really started to look in to Canicross with more interest. For anyone who doesn’t know, Canicross is a sport where you run with your dog attached to you. It’s a recognised sport and there are Canicross competitions held across the nation. The dog is encouraged to pull the handler which makes them overall quicker.
I’ve always ran with Guinness but as I’m quite slow I only encourage him to pull me on the odd hill or final sprint to finish off and as Zebby is only young I’ve encouraged him to run alongside me at a trot rather than pulling. There’s nothing to say that your dog has to pull you in Canicross but it obviously gives you an advantage.
I’ve been running with a basic waist belt for years but from reading in to Canicross I stumbled across a brilliant blog called K9 Trail Time and specifically their post about canicross belts. This is where I discovered a life changing piece of advice… running belts are supposed to sit on your hips, not your waist!
I have quite a high waist and it just felt natural for my belt to sit there, but when I moved it down to my hips the next day it was so much better! When the dog isn’t pulling it doesn’t make a huge difference but when the dog does pull the belt being on your hips is a life changer as it means the dog is pulling you in a more forward position instead of downwards.
As I was now running at least 3 times I week I decided to invest in a proper canicross belt. After reading lots of different articles and reviews I went for the Neewa Canicross belt.
I chose this belt at it seems fairly lightweight, has a small pocket which is always useful for poo bags and treats, has leg loops which help keep the belt in place and it was reasonably affordable at £35.
Now it’s important to note that I don’t have anything to compare this belt to, but for me it’s been brilliant. It’s a bit strange when you first step in to the leg loops and put it on but you soon get used to it and I think it’s really comfortably. It’s really adjustable and sits naturally on your hips.
The point of pulling is low down which feels really balanced and a much smoother experience, plus the ring that you attach the dogs lead to moves side to side slightly which in theory reduces some of the twisting if your dog gets distracted and pulls off to the side. Of course if your working cocker spaniel spots a pigeon off to one side then there’s not much you can do to stop yourself being yanked off course (speaking from personal experience)!
I can fit some poo bags, treats and my car key in the zip pocket at the back and when it’s full it doesn’t dig in to my back at all unlike my other belt.
I do find it twists around a little bit if your dog pulls to one side at all so I have to shuffle it while running at times, however I would think this is more of training issue rather than a product issue as the dogs shouldn’t be pulling you off sideways.
Depending on where and which dog I am running I normally just attach a standard dog lead to it or I have bought the 3 Peaks Hands Free Running Belt Dog Lead from Pets at Home and I use the lead only, as it’s a high vis, bungee and has a useful grab handle.
The lead is a little long if your dog runs beside you like Guinness does but for Zebby who tends to be a little further ahead it’s great and the bungee provides a much more comfortable experience when your dog does pull. Although the belt part is a waste as I’ll never use it, this option worked out much cheaper than all of the other bungee running leads I could find.
I’ve been using this belt for an average of 3 runs a week for 4 months now and it’s been brilliant! I’m so glad I made the change from my thick, clunky, rubbish waist belt to this. If you are running regularly with your dog, whether they pull or not, I’d suggest you look at getting a proper canicross belt. Nothing beats hands-free running.