It’s been three months since I started canicross with Ruten.
The first two weeks, I needed him to get used to the harness and to walking in front of me. He didn’t quite understand why I asked him to take the lead, as he always is comfortable staying behind him or by my knee. I never taught him to heel but my knee, my leg has always been his comfort place – when he was a pup, he would always hide behind me and so it carried onto his adult days.
After the first two weeks, I got him used to pulling and oh boy was it a wild ride. Suddenly, he was allowed to pull and it opened a new horizon to him. He associated his harness to pulling in two days sharp. Then we would step up from a regular walk to a jog, then to a flatout run and he loves it.
He still checks often behind him, ears in my direction, his eyes on me when there’s not enough pressure on the bungee cord, but he always, always welcomes me with a grin on his face and tongue rolling out. There’s a spark in there; and my face is just as lit and I’m grinning just as wide.
This weekend was our first canicross clinic. I felt like I needed the knowledge to step up our partnership and make sure that the information I gathered online was right and applied correctly.
On Saturday, we discussed how to keep the dog safe and healthy, how to adjust the equipment we use (harness, bungee cord and canicross belt), running injuries and prevention of these injuries. We discussed what food to give our dogs, what to expect of their intake (stupid shepherds and their inability to keep a decent weight because of HOW much they spend running around like stupid bastards), appeasing signals (licking lips, avoidance, back turned, etc.)
During yesterday’s practice part, Ruten was dubbed the ‘little machine that can’. The person holding the clinic would grin at our pair and comment at how happy we looked all the time.
It’s now Sunday, and I grin at these comments, these realizations because it’s easy to lose track of the progress and Ruten, as the elitist prick he is regarding other dogs, is my true partner in crime, and we just found out the sport that will allow us to conquer all the mountains we set foot on.