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 association and official representative of the Canadian Association of Harness Dog Sports (CAHDS) in the maritimes. CAHDS is the national association for harness dog sports in Canada. You can find more information on these organizations at the links below!
I'M NOT REALLY A RUNNER...
You definitely don't have to be a runner to enjoy harness dog sports! 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)! There are also lots of non-competitive options like cani-hiking and snowshoeing which are fun and appropriate ways to enjoy some time together with your dog! We recommend if you're new to harness dog sports, you start with an intro lesson on foot. Typically this is easier and safer for both you and your dog and you can take most courses at a walk or a run - it's your choice! Once your dog is comfortable pulling and you're working together as a team, you can start introducing your dog to other gear if you prefer wheeled or other sports like bikejor, skijor, kicksled, or scooter)!
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! 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 both you and your dog!
HOW DO GROUP RUNS WORK?
We meet for weekly group activities almost every weekend! We typically meet at one of our local parks and while we start as a group, everyone is encouraged to go at their 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'll get you out for a trial run! We typically have short and long distance options, as well as different pace groups, so there is really something for everyone. During the winter months, we also meet on groomed trails where we have obtained permission to practice snow sports with our dogs.
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 often start with a trial run. This gives you the opportunity to try out the gear and meet some of the group before you dive in! We can provide loaner gear during the run and our members are often kind enough to loan out a gentle, experienced dog for those who'd like this option! We do ask those who haven't run with us before to come a little early so we can give you a quick run-down of our trail ettiquette (passing, basic commands, public trail use, etc.). 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.