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What is Cani-Cross?

Cani-Cross combines two components. “Canine” and “Cross Country Running”. Thus, its Running with your Dog! Cani-Cross was originally created as a training exercise in Europe as a way to keep their sled dogs fit for winter. Over the years it has turned into a sport in itself and is catching on like wildfire. Being big in Quebec and Ontario, it has finally hit Manitoba!

At Grassroots Canine, Cani-Cross runs all summer from June to September. This class is designed to be a continuous class and not a Drop in Class. The class is 1hour long, which allots for stretching, warm up, training exercises, run/walk, and cool down. Teammates will essentially train to eventually be able to run the “Muddy Mutt” Race, a 5km Fun Race.

There are so many benefits to running with your dog. Cani-Cross involves tuning into the dogs natural desire to pull making the owner more motivated to push themselves further. As the dog pulls, it lengthens the Runners stride. Owners tend to be so focused on their dogs’, they haven’t realized they have worked as physically hard as they have.

Who can participate?

Cani-cross is for all shapes and sizes, human and dog alike. Anyone can participate! Dogs should be over 12 months to ensure he/she has developed properly and so as to avoid long term damage. For the dogs at risk for Arthritis, dogs should wait until 18 months before participating. Dogs who are in season may participate, however it is the owners responsibility o ensure that adequate precautions are taken an they acknowledge full liability.


Shalin Hustad: Registered Nurse and Dog trainer, Certification in K9 Fit Club (Dog Fitness)

Zoe Surgeoner: Ex- Veterinary Technician and Marathon Coach.

The Right Gear

  1. Runner should wear a belt with a tether attached to their dog. This allows the dog owner to run properly with their hands free. The goal is that the dogs are moving ahead of owner and pulling. Having said that holding a leash is fine too. NO FLEXI LINES ALLOWED. Click HERE for a link to this type of equipment.
  2. Dog should wear a harness. By doing this, the dog will differentiate when the dog should be encouraged to pull (Ie. Cani-Cross) and when they should be encouraged to walk beside owner (Ie. On leash on a stroll through the park). NO CHOKE OR PINCH COLLARS ALLOWED. Click HERE for the Collar Debate.
  3. Dog owners should be wear light colored clothing, and dress appropriately to the weather.
  4. Runners should wear shoes that are not dangerous for dogs. No metal spikes on shoes allowed.
  5. Any aggressive dogs must wear a basket type muzzle. This allows the dog to participate safely and still drink water and take treats. First class will talk about proper hydration.
  6. Bring Poop bags for your dog. You must always clean up after your dog. No exceptions.
  7. Owners are responsible for water for their dog and themselves.
  8. You will want to have a City of Winnipeg License for your Dog.


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