Cani-VTT: a canine sport accessible to all?

Practicing a sport with your dog is an excellent way to exercise him, to improve his education and to develop a real complicity with your partner. Among the many existing dog sports, the cani-VTT or bike joëring is one of the most accessible. 

Which dogs can practice cani-vtt? What equipment should you bring? We answer all your questions.

If you like biking and your dog likes to run, then the cani-vtt is perhaps made for you. This sport activity seems easy to practice, however it is advisable to take some precautions to ensure the safety of your dog, and yours!

What is Cani-VTT?

Cani-VTT, also called "bike joering", consists in riding a bike with your dog or dogs. Usually, it is a mountain bike, but a more basic bike can also be used. The choice of bike depends on the paths you want to take during your training.

Like many other sports, such as canicross, bike joering was invented to allow sled dogs to continue training even without snow. The dog has to make the greatest effort, since it is a traction sport, but the master also has to pedal. The cani vtt is therefore a real team sport.

Which dogs can practice Cani-VTT?

It is important to know that canivtt, like all traction sports, is an intense physical activity and is therefore not suitable for all dogs. To practice this sport, your four-legged friend must be in good health and must have completed its growth (between 12 and 18 months depending on the breed of dog). 

Small dogs (companion dogs) and very large dogs cannot practice this type of dog sport. For small dogs, agility is more suitable. The cani-VTT is particularly adapted to all breeds of dogs called working dogs: shepherd dogs (Australian Shepherd), sled dogs (Husky) and hunting dogs (Epagneul Breton). But this criterion is not enough, it is also necessary that your dog likes to run, wants to pull and has a minimum of endurance. This is not the case for all dogs.

Before starting, ask your veterinarian to know if your dog can practice cani vtt.

What equipment do I need to practice cani-vtt?

The choice of the equipment is very important to practice the cani-vtt in full safety. 

For your dog, you must provide a specific harness such as a traction harness. The practice of traction canine sport with a walking harness or a collar is strongly discouraged. You could inflict injuries to your furry friend. 

The use of ointment to reinforce the pads or dog boots can also be helpful.

For you, wearing gloves and a helmet is highly recommended because falls can happen, and in general the cani vtt is practiced at high speed!

It is also necessary to provide a leash with shock absorber (it is called a line of line) which will limit the jolts and make the session more comfortable for you, but also for your canine companion. 

A fixed bar connected to the bike can also be useful because it prevents the dog from hitting the bike or making you change direction very suddenly.

Also include water, snacks and treats, and a first aid kit in case of a boo-boo.

How to start cani-vtt ?

As we mentioned above, you should absolutely wait until your puppy is fully grown to start caniveling sessions.

But that doesn't mean that you can't do anything before! Indeed, to practice cani vtt, your dog must already know at least 4 basic commands: front/stop/right/left. You can then start to teach him these commands by using positive reinforcement.

It is also necessary to familiarize your dog with the equipment (harness, boots) and with the bike. For example, you can take your dog for a walk with a person on a bike next to him, so that he gets used to the bike and is not tempted to chase him.

Finally, you should increase the duration and intensity of the training gradually. 

The advantages of the cani-VTT 

Practicing cani VTT with your dog is a very good idea, for several reasons.

First of all, it will allow your doggy to go all out , thus avoiding the appearance of behavioral problems linked to boredom and lack of stimulation.

The second reason is that it is a good source of motivation for you to do sports! 

Cani VTT also helps you reinforce your dog's obedience and education. 

Finally, it allows you to have an even more complicit relationship with your furry friend because you share pleasant moments together!

Additional tips

Mountain biking is very demanding on your dog's joints. Remember to start the session with a warm-up to avoid injury. You can also give your dog a mobility supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin to prevent joint pain.

Feed your dog a special diet for sporting dogs if you practice often and at a high pace.

To avoid stomach twisting, also known as stomach flipping, be sure not to feed your dog right before the session, and don't make him drink too much water during exercise.

 Stomach torsion can be fatal in a few hours.

Finally, it is important to stop the session before your dog gets too tired. So, if you see that he starts to slow down, or that he starts sniffing around, it's time to stop or at least to take a break!

More and more canine centers propose initiations to cani vtt. Don't hesitate to sign up to start in good conditions and be advised!

You now know everything about cani vtt, a sport accessible to many people, but which is not adapted to all breeds of dogs.

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