This weekend marks the fifth edition of the Woof Run at the Château de la Bertichères, in Chaumont-en-Vexin (Oise), a race imagined by Lucas Bérullier, founder of My Pet Agency, an agency specializing in animal influencers. This one-of-a-kind event brings together dog owners who discover or try their hand at sporting activities that can be practiced as a duo with their animal.
6,200 people and at least 4,000 dogs have already responded on Saturday, wandering around in a joyous cacophony of barking and with only 3 cases of bites cited. Two key activities during this weekend bring dog enthusiasts from all over France as well as real athletes.
“This is my first journey with her”
This Sunday, for example, is the cani-cross event. This is a 6 km timed run for which the dogs are equipped with a traction harness, connected to a harness via a leash or a long elastic. The objective is for the dog to run in front, its power enabling the jogger to gain 2 to 4 km/h at cruising speed. Cani-cross requires some training: the animal must be used to carrying the equipment and have a real appetite for the race.
Another test, more accessible for all dog morphotypes or temperaments: the obstacle course. It’s a 5 to 7 km course punctuated by streams, bales of straw to climb and nets to crawl under… for the handler-dog duo, with the guarantee of more or less exhausted hindsight but for sure, a little wet!
Stéphanie, who came with the Beaumont-le-Roger canine club (Eure), is the mistress of Tiki, a 2-year-old Shiba Inu: “This is my first course with her. It was quite surprising because I thought I could go around the rivers but I had to cross them, my feet in the slush and the dog in my arms because she is a little resistant to water. But it was really, really nice.”
The opportunity to see each other “in real life”
And it is a trend that we find throughout this canine and festive weekend: the passion for dogs goes beyond the family framework and is shared. There is the community of great athletes, driven by a taste for effort, the members of canine clubs who claim the more local side and who have traveled together, the breed groups (we were able to see the parade of Dachshunds or again the Cockers reunited for a nice group photo). These communities are born on social networks, which allows them to stay in touch throughout the year, and the Woof Run is an opportunity to finally meet in a chair, in hair and bone.
During the Woof Run, other activities can be discovered: agility of course, but also more original practices such as cani-scooting, cani-mountain biking, cani-paddle, doga (yoga with your dog ) or dog-dancing. Coming straight from the USA, the woof-jump consists, from a dock, of jumping your dog into the water in order to retrieve a toy.
Activities for all tastes
But does the dog really like it when you take it on board in this kind of activity? The first interest of these duo activities is to spend time together and strengthen the bond that unites us to our animal. Elodie, who came with Wendy, her 4-year-old Dalmatian dog, testifies to this. They tried the obstacle course for the first time with an additional difficulty: Wendy is deaf from birth (a relatively common hereditary condition within this race). “It was great, I had a real bonding moment with her. She was very attentive to all my actions, she had confidence in me to follow me through perhaps frightening obstacles at first and I’m sure she had fun,” says Elodie.
On the other hand, the various possible activities make it possible to adapt to the real needs of each dog. Some love to run and are cut out for (huskies, greyhounds, pointers or even Dalmatians): cani-cross or cani-MTB will fill them, but will be reserved for dogs over 15 months old, once their growth is complete. .
Others, like Golden Retrievers or Cocker Spaniels, swim in every puddle they come across and will love water activities. As for working dogs, such as Border Collies or Australian Shepherds, they will thrive in obedience and concentration exercises. In the end, it may be up to you to adapt to a new activity depending on the dog that shares your life.