New Brunswick

Want to try canicross? Fundy National Park hosts harness dog sports demo

If you're a dog owner and you're looking for something different to do with your pet, Fundy National Park might be the place for you Sunday.

Canicross, skijoring, bikejoring and kick sled will be showcased Sunday

A canicross fun run will be part of the Dog Day of Winter event at Fundy National Park on Sunday. (Facebook/Moncton Dog Runners)

If you're a dog owner and you're looking for something different to do with your pet, Fundy National Park might be the place for you Sunday.

The park is hosting the Dog Day of Winter event featuring harness dog sports.

Micha Fardy, executive director of the non-profit Friends of Fundy, said for those who know nothing about the team sport between man or woman and their canine friend, it's a great way to learn about canicross and other harness dog events. 

The park is partnering with the Moncton Dog Runners Club to put the event on. 

Harnessed to dog

Canicross sees dogs wearing a specialized harness designed for pulling that's attached to a human, who is wearing a specialized belt with a bungee line. 

"The dog runs in front of the human and pulls and helps you out so you're able to take advantage of the extra propulsion that the dog provides," Fardy said.

In addition to canicross, Fardy said there is skijoring, bikejoring and kick sled. Each one involves the dog being harnessed to a person as they ski, bike or sled. 

Kick sled is one of the harness dog sports that will be demonstrated at the Dog Day of Winter event at Fundy National Park. (Moncton Dog Runners/Facebook)

Fardy said there's a mix of dogs trained to enjoy the sports with their owners, but they have to be pullers.

"Our friends at Moncton Dog Runners describe it best. Basically the dog you have is the dog that is best," she said.

For those wanting to try the sport, Fardy said dog owners are encouraged to do an intro lesson to learn about the gear and how to properly use it. 

"The commands between the human and the dog are really important because lots of times it's finding ways to encourage our dog to respond to both the gear and the command."

Fardy said from there it's getting out and practicing how to work together and build a relationship with the dog.

Sport growing

He said the harness sports have been growing in popularity and can be competitive. Sunday's events will include a canicross fun run so people can see it firsthand. 

The Friends of Fundy have organized the first ever Harness Dog Sports event at Fundy Park. Micha Fardy is executive director of the group. 9:16

"The rest of our day is try some trails. For folks who've never done it, they can try on a harness and check out the equipment and see how their dog responds to that. So really, an intro piece built into the event as well."

Fardy said people who do have canicross experience can try the skijoring, bikejoring and kick sled. "There have been some trails that have been groomed for that." 

She said it's also a good way to help teach people about proper dog trail etiquette in national parks. 

The event is being held at the Chignecto Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information about the event can be found on the Fundy Guild Inc. Facebook page. 

With files from Steven Webb