Canine hiking or cani-hiking: how to practice it?


A leisure activity suitable for everyone, canine hiking is ideal for sharing time with your four-legged friend. It allows this pair to break away from a sedentary lifestyle while having fun. Let's find out how to practice cani-rando, if it requires special equipment, what precautions to take, and also see if all canine breeds can take part. Of course, we will not fail to discuss the benefits of dog walking for dogs and their owners.

Canine hiking or cani

How does a dog hike take place?

To practice this hobby, the owner wears a wide belt around his waist connected to the harness with which the dog is harnessed, by an elastic lanyard with shock absorber. By leaning back while giving the order to slow down, the master regulates the pace of her animal on hers.

Different from the traditional walk, the cani-rando takes place over a minimum of 10 kilometers . Certainly, many people consider that they practice this hobby even if they do not travel such a distance. They are then "small cani-hikers", and this is not pejorative! Spending time with your dog outdoors, without constraint, is in any case totally meritorious because it is beneficial to both the dog and the owner. If you go in a group, you can adapt the route to the smallest dogs and the duration of the walk is to be shortened if necessary.

Over time, and therefore a little training, the pair can gain experience. It is then easier to lengthen the hike both in terms of distance and duration, and to opt for a higher level of difficulty. From flat you can then go to uneven, for example. The most addicted who have acquired a great expertise in the field of cani-rando leave for several days with their dog, in the mountains where they brave the uneven. But here we are squarely in the sporting challenge! The best advice we can give is to always respect the physical capacities of both participants, humans and animals, by setting sustainable goals.. Thus, cani-hiking remains a pleasure.

If you want to discover this activity, you can absolutely contact a team driver or dog handler who is also sometimes called a musher who organizes canine hikes and accompanies his customers throughout the course. .

What should you take for a dog hike?

You must always take precautions before going on a cani-hike, the first being to learn about the weather . No need to venture out if you have to experience a storm in the middle of nature (plain, mountain ...) or a windstorm. We therefore only leave when the weather conditions are favorable for a dog walk. In this case, you should prepare a backpack . We slide there:
  • A first aid kit with bandages, disinfectant, tick puller, protections for the dog's paws ...
  • The route of the hike.
  • A map of the area or a hiking GPS with fully charged battery.
  • Water for the owner and water for the dog.
  • A little snack if the hike has to drag on.
  • A powerful headlamp so you don't get lost at nightfall.
  • An essential cell phone to call for help of course. If it is equipped with a high quality camera, this is a must.
  • Specific bags to collect your dog's droppings… yes, even in the wilderness! Question of respect for other potential hikers.

You can get your dog used to carrying a small hiking bag , the weight of which must be less than 30% of that of the animal. To do this, you harness your animal with a saddle bag that you can buy in a store specializing in pet equipment, or even in some sports stores. This is a harness with side pockets that costs between 50 and 120 €. Thus, the dog is perfectly equipped to go on a cani-hike.

Obviously, if the adventure is to last for several days , you have to plan a bivouac . The hiking bag - worn by the dog's master - then changes in volume since it also contains a sleeping bag, tent, rain gear and enough food for humans and their animals. But whatever the duration of the hike, it is strongly recommended to choose a route which is accessible to dogs.
Cani-rando: for what type of master?

Here is a hobby that fully deserves the enthusiasm it arouses because it is suitable for everyone, whether you are a real athlete or have never practiced any sport. Unlike cani-cross , canine hiking is nothing like a race and there is no cani-hiking competition. It is an activity that each teacher practices at his own pace , according to his physical capacities. We can also appreciate that it is aimed at both children and adults , as long as they are able to walk for about 120 minutes. Everyone is then free to make the course a little harder and / or to lengthen it.

Be careful, however, the teacher should not only organize his course according to his own abilities. He must obviously take into account those of his dog. This hobby is shared at all levels just like the pleasure we derive from it.

Cani-rando: for which type of dog?

Even if canine hiking is more of a hobby than an intensive sport, we must not think that just any dog, whatever its breed, can take part in it. It is better to avoid cani-rando with one of the following dogs:

  • A growing puppy , even if it belongs to a large breed,
  • Dogs with breathing difficulties and those who are particularly exposed to this risk, which is the case of brachycephalic dogs namely: Lhasa Apso, Pug, English Bulldog, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boston Terrier, Shar pei.
  • The small breed dogs such as the Chihuahua example, it is obvious because do not forget that the animal gets its master ...

You should also be careful if you own a giant dog breed because it is more sensitive than others to joint problems . In this case, dog walking can be kept in the program of activities provided that the length of the course is reduced and that the pair walks slowly.

Cani-hiking is not recommended for non-socialized dogs either because during a hike, there is a good chance that you will meet other cani-hikers. This can then go very badly. Likewise, some masters take advantage of being in the middle of nature to free their little companion from their harness for a few moments. It is risky if the dog does not obey the reminder . You must therefore anticipate and start by educating / training your animal before practicing this hobby.

Ideal for strengthening the bond between man and dog , canine hiking allows you to exercise physically at your convenience, to stimulate your animal, to teach him to walk at the rhythm of his master. This hobby also allows you to discover nature in all its splendor , to do yourself good mentally, to develop the dog's sense of smell, to strengthen his breath and his muscles. Finally, it is a perfect activity to educate or improve the education of his little companion and strengthen his socialization.