DO YOU HAVE A TRIAL MEMBERSHIP?
Anyone can join us for a trial group run as long as they are properly outfitted with correct gear. We have some loaner gear available, so if you'd like to give it a try, just send us an email! We strongly recommend getting in touch BEFORE you purchase gear - especially if you are new to these sports.
WHY DO YOU WANT THE DOG IN FRONT?
Harness dog sports are all about working together with your dog - creating a bond that allows you to achieve your goals as a team. The human "drives" or directs and the dog pulls. The line between you and your dog is your connection point and your communication line. Every time you lose tension, you lose communication. Sort of like when you're listening to someone explain something on the phone and then the call drops all of a sudden - now you're distracted by everything else around you and you're no longer engaged with the person you were talking to. Having your dog run in front of you improves your communication and ability to work together, but it's also safer because it allows you to observe how your dog moves and react more effectively to external issues. Plus, pulling keeps your dog mentally as well as physically engaged throughout his run.
ARE HARNESS DOG SPORTS NEW? HOW ARE THEY REGULATED?
Harness dog sports are actually practiced all over the world, though they are still growing in Canada! We have a small, but vibrant community in the maritimes and are steadily growing.
The Moncton Dog Runners are actually part of something much bigger! We are an affiliated club with the Maritime Association of Harness Dog Sports (MAHDS) and adhere to the MAHDS Code of Conduct. MAHDS is the regional governing body for the maritime provinces and it falls under the Canadian Association of Harness Dog Sports (CAHDS) which is the national body for harness dog sports in Canada. You can find more information on these organizations below!
I'M NOT REALLY A RUNNER. CAN I JUST DO OTHER SPORTS?
For sure! You definitely don't have to be a runner! Our Club practices all kinds of different harness dog sports (check out our home page for a list of different small team sports we participate in)! We recommend if you're new to harness dog sports, you start with an intro lesson on foot because it is easier and safer for both you and your dog. Once your dog is comfortable pulling and you're working together as a team, you can start introducing your dog to other gear (bike, skis, sled, etc.)!
I'M NOT REALLY IN SHAPE/MY DOG ISN'T REALLY IN SHAPE - CAN WE STILL PARTICIPATE?
Yes! Harness dog sports create a great bond between human and dog and that often translates into an incredible form of motivation and confidence. You don't need to be a "serious athlete" to join us - you just have to want to work together with your dog! Harness dog sports aren't all about the dog pulling - their human counterpart helps in each discipline, but we are here to support you and help you get started. Send us a message and we'll help you come up with a plan to make sure your entry into harness dog sports is a fun and rewarding experience for you both!
HOW DO GROUP RUNS WORK?
We meet for weekly group canicross (& bikejoring when possible) sessions almost every weekends! We typically meet at one of our local parks and while we start as a group, everyone is encouraged to go at their team's own pace. More information on times & dates can be found in our FaceBook Group for Members. If you are new and would like to join us, just send us a message or email! We typically have short and long distance options, so there is really something for every practice level. During the winter months, we also meet on groomed trails where we have obtained permission to practice snow sports with our dogs. Snow sport areas are only accessible to MDR members in good standing.
THIS ALL SOUNDS REALLY COOL, BUT I'M NOT SURE MY DOG WILL BE INTO IT. CAN WE TRY IT OUT BEFORE WE BUY GEAR AND SIGN UP FOR THE CLUB?
Of course! New teams are asked to do a short intro session with a current club member to go over trail etiquette and fundamentals before joining the group (usually half an hour before a scheduled a group run). This is to ensure the safety of all of our club members - both human and canine - and to encourage respectful use of public trails. You do not need a membership for your first group run, but will need to obtain one to continue participating in group activities.
We have a small amount of loaner gear available (sizing is limited). If you'd like to give it a try, please don't hesitate to get in touch!