''After discovering canicross just two years ago I fell in love with running with the dogs but given I've never been a runner, I've never been sporty so at nearly 40 I was ok with being the slow one at the back, the one who could not keep up very well but just went for the fun.
In April I did a racing weekend at Catton Hall and I would say that was my lowest point. I felt so frustrted as I was just never getting any better. I approached Cristina, I knew she was a coach and after more discussions she agreed to help me. There have been tears. She's dealt with my lows and highs but I have stuck with my program she has tailor-made for me. The results over the last 2 weeks in my age group have been amazing and shocking all rolled into one. Two years ago I did only tridog over both days and was absolutely exhausted for the week after. This time I did tridog and canicross both days whilst having an awful cold. My recovery was so much faster and I didn't feel like I was dying.
This past weekend I ran my fastest mile ever. I did have my young dog by my side but we are still working with him with regards to focus and Cristina is a wealth of avice and guidance with me on this.
I can't thank Cristina enough and would highly recommend her to anyone looking to make improvements to their running.''
GET TO KNOW
RUN WITH K9S
I started Run With K9s to offer dog owners the option to be active and learn something new with their dog in a friendly and safe environment. When I wanted to start canicross with my dogs all I could see online was dogs that already knew what they were supposed to do and lots of people having fun running with their dogs. What I couldn't find was information about how to start as my dogs weren't pulling. I could not find anyone in my area that I could join and learn from. So I started researching, watching videos, learning about dog training and dog behaviour, joining all the groups in the world on Facebook just to understand how people do this, how they start, how they train their dogs. I read numerous books on how dogs learn and eventually started training with my dogs and even joined some classes for a while but quit as they weren't right for us. The journey has not been easy or quick as it takes time, a lot of repetitions and consistency for a dog to learn a new behaviour, but our journey has certainly strengthened our bond and this is exactly what I want to show to others that want to be active with their dog.
Canicross is about enrolling in a new adventure that would strengthen the bond between human and dog, getting you fit and able to enjoy the thrills of running with your k9 friend on local trails. Canicross is mentally stimulating for dogs and it can make a huge positive impact on your dog’s behaviour, whether it is just mental stimulation they need, exercise or focus on a job to overcome reactivity.
We have classes that focus on distance and technical skills over the weekend and you can, with practice, progress from 0 skills and fitness level to being able to comfortably run 5k and more. Dogs need consistency and a minimum of frequency of sessions to learn a new behaivour/s that's why it is best to start practicing on your own and use the classes to learn new skills and proof behaviours. There is the option of 1:2:1's for those whose life pattern makes it impossible to get to group classes or whose dog might be overwhelmed in a group setting. I made sure this is an accessible option that wouldn't cost the earth.
A BIT ABOUT US
CRISTINA, ZOE & JESS
Training with my best friends is FUN!
I am a mother of two kids and now three dogs, wife and competitive runner – having started running in 2018 from a very low fitness level when my baby girl turned 1. I started running and I ran and ran and trained and improved my fitness until recently I managed to finish a 5k race in 20 minutes and 31 seconds – this was my goal for 2022. Besides being a Certfied Canicross Coach I am licenced in Leadership and Running Fitness and Athletics Coaching Assistant by UKA, trained in Canine and Human First Aid, and experienced competitive runner, having designed my own training plans for 5k, 10k, XC races and sprint duathlon races - I even qualified to represent Team GB at World and European Championships in 2022. I like reading books about running and dog training and I design my own training plans to suit my fitness level, my age, gender and available time. Now my dogs come into the picture: Zoe (Border Collie) and Jess (Belgian Malinois), two working dogs that need a job, and our latest addition - Nyx, the Scandinavian Hound from a wonderful breeder in Wales. I call it a job but in reality it's just play for dogs - a game they want to play over and over again with me :) . So what else could I train them for if not more running :) This is how it all began. I started learning more about the sport and how to train dogs to do anything so that I can apply to canicross training with my dogs. It took time and patience to shape their behaviour into what you can see now and it still is a work in progress, but I can say for sure they love canicrossing with me, my son and my husband, especially my ball obsessed Zoe who is loving it as much as chasing the ball now. Training them and with them has strengthened our bond and we are pretty good at racing now although we race just for the fun of it. Canicross has given my dogs a purpose and something to focus on whilst their confidence has grown. It is so simple yet so effective and with amazing results in all dogs. My goal is to just race with my dogs and have fun and in the future to be able to tackle technical races like the TDM in France, endurance races like the ones TrailDog UK and CaniX organise and maybe represent my country or GB in international events. AND I AM HERE TO HELP ANYONE THAT WANTS TO LEARN AND IMPROVE ;)