Taking it up a gear – What to expect from an intermediate canicross class

All you need to know for our upcoming intermediate canicross class this June.

We love our regular canicross classes,  but sometimes its nice to go off the beaten track and do something a bit different that challenges us and our dogs.

Our intermediate level class will be an adventure through the wilds of Ballyboley forest, discovering trails that have only been walked by deer and badgers.  This is a huge forest, and every time I go here I discover new trails, and find a renewed sense of calm as myself and the dogs weave over and under the many natural obstacles this forest throws at us.

Our class will last no more than 2 hours and will be a mixture of running and hiking. The terrain is very varied and uneven, with lots of boggy sections, rocky paths and oodles of ditches to cross and fallen trees to navigate. It’s a canicross and agility session combined, and will help you to bond with your dog as you must work as a team to get through the forest.

Here are a few things to bear in mind,  and what to expect on the day.

  • Wear high viz – deep in the forest its easy to lose sight of each other
  • Carry your mobile phone with the leaders number saved.
  • Wear long trousers or leggings to prevent getting your legs scratched.
  • The terrain is rough to say the least! Take it at your own pace and walk when you need to.
  • Control the pace of your dog and be mindful where you place your feet to avoid the dreaded rolled ankle!
  • Stop before any obstacles and think of the safest way to cross/get around them.
  • Be clear and early with your commands for your dog – There will be lots of directional work and changes of pace.
  • Be careful of eye level pointy branches – both for you and your dog.
  • Be aware of boggy sections – nothing to worry about, just very wet feet and you might sink in to your shin (small dogs might need carried).
  • Carry water with you for yourself; there are many streams from which your dog can grab a drink.
  • Work as a team – Make sure we stick together and keep an eye out for the person behind you. 
  • Only bring one dog- doing this with two is a pain, we have tried!
  • Lastly, enjoy! You are in safe hands with folk who know the forest inside out! This is a place our dogs love and we know yours will too!

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Dog Trails NI specialises in Canicross Sports across Northern Ireland.  We are passionate about you and your dogs fitness and happiness, specialising in various applications of progressive fitness.

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