Why can’t my dog wear a collar instead of a harness to Pawdic Walk or Canicross in?

We prefer to keep your dog safe, positively motivated and eliminate unnecessary health risks that can be caused by wearing a traditional collar.
Firstly, we are not canine anatomy specialists or medical experts. These are questions that we have raised for own dogs, when we have had concerns and we are sharing our findings. We are also practising what we preach from learned experiences that we do not want to repeat.
This blog is highlighting a few concerns that we have about exercising your dog in just a regular collar and lead. One obvious one is that the dog is pulling you along, sometimes without listening to the “heel” command or reducing their speed whatever you say or do. This can cause choking and often that constant tugging can make things worse.
Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you tug them to stop, they just don’t respond? That often when they have their leads attached to their collars they pull a lot?
The pulling is caused by an opposition reflex, also known as thigmotaxis, that is, an equal and opposite response to pressure.
We have all experienced this as humans. Someone leans against us and we automatically lean into them with equal or greater pressure to maintain equilibrium.
The tightening of the lead actually causes the dog to strain against the collar. You pull one way, they pull the other way. Contrary to popular belief, putting your dog in a harness will not cause him/her to pull more.
Many people think that a harness will cause a dog to pull like a sled dog. This is not the case. A proper fitting two point attach harness, like the Ezydog harness or the Zero DC Harness, will actually decrease pulling and give you more control, even without changing anything else. It sounds counter intuitive, but it’s true.
The difference from ordinary walking your dog to exercising in the form of canicross is that you want your dog out in front, not by your side. That is the essence of canicross. Canicross developed from the origins of skijoring, where people ski with their dog pulling out in front of them.
There is also evidence to suggest that constant pulling at the neck will cause spinal issues. You can discuss that further with your vet or professional canine expert.
You can buy all your Pawdic walking, or canitrekking, and canicross kit from our partners store, Dogfit. All the kit is trialled by our team of instructors before we endorse it by adding it to the online store. You can order safely online and it is delivered super quick. They have a wonderful refund service so you are buying with peace of mind.
We also offer taster sessions for you to try the kit before you buy and learn how to run, power walk and Nordic walk safely with your dog. Just speak to Janine, or email her at janine@3jfitness.co.uk