You might’ve gone running with your dog or taken them out with you on a hike – but did you know that dog sports is officially a thing too?

In fact, fun dog sports events like canicross and bikejoering are growing increasingly popular around the world – and they’re the perfect fit for both high-energy dog breeds and high-energy dog parents alike.

But how do these kind of sports work in the first place? And more importantly: how do you keep an active dog safe while you’re out free running or biking together – where you might not always be able to keep them on lead?

To help you see this in action, we interviewed Jérôme Lafourte, a seasoned runner and canicross competitor from Belgium. Including his best tips and tricks on how to keep your dog safe while out getting sporty together – and how a dedicated dog GPS tracker can be a lifesaver.

My name is Jérôme Lafourte and I’m from Belgium. As a young boy, I started doing a lot of different sports and since then, I have always been very active.

Jerome Lafourte and his dog sports companion

I also have 3 dogs with whom I’ve always been active – and now with whom I’m competing internationally at dog sports!

I’m really interested in canicross, skijoring, and bikejoring. Have you heard about those?

Dog sports: canicross & bikejoering

For those who might not know what it is: Canicross is the sport of cross country running with dogs. It’s dog powered, so the dogs are harnessed and attached to the human. In Canicross, you run as a team.

canicross tips from the champions: customer review

Read more: The Best Canicross Tips From Champions

Now on the other hand, bikejoering is riding a bike with dogs pulling you. Here’s me pictured with one of my running buddies!

Dog sports champion Jerome Lafourte bikejoring with his dog

(Instead of a bike you can also use a dog scooter.)

So nothing special and not much equipment needed: one leash, one harness, and let’s go!

💡This is why most of my training is “pull training” – or running with a harness with my dog. Else, I also do a ton of free running. (Also with my dogs!)

Free running is the base of my training and also the base of how I train my dogs.

One day, I was looking through the internet and I discovered the Tractive GPS Dog Tracker. It sounded interesting – especially since my dogs are running alongside me while training, and I want to ensure I can keep them safe.

A dog running with a ball in their mouth wearing a Tractive GPS tracker

💡In November 2016 I decided to buy a Tractive device to try it out. My opinion about it? GREAT!

How a typical dog sports training day looks like

My dogs live outdoors during the day (and indoors during nighttime.) So when I’m training them, I make sure to train only one dog at a time. This gives me better control over their movements.

For example, I never go free running with all 3 of my dogs all at once.

💡Rather, it’s better to train them one by one – so you can better intervene in case they get too excited. (And don’t listen to your commands.)

I also go free running around once or twice per week – in the early mornings and usually in a quiet spot, like the nearby forest. (With my bike and dogs in tow.)

Once I’ve set up my equipment – I strap a Tractive GPS to my dog’s collar. Only after, I begin my free running session.

Why the Tractive GPS is a must-have for sporty dog parents

Now while free running or generally training with your dog outdoors, you need to:

  • Know where they are at any given moment (so you can prevent them from wandering off away from safety)
  • Find a way to locate your dog even if it’s dark outdoors (like if you’re training in the evening or early morning)
  • Figure out how to analyze your training results (i.e., how fast your dog was running, how active they’ve been – and whether they need more exercise.)
brown dog wearing gps dog tracking collar green nature background

💡And if you’ve invested in a Tractive device, you’re covered from all sides when it comes to your dog’s safety.

Because with one, you can now:

Follow your dog no matter where they’ve run off

Your Tractive GPS comes with real-time tracking over an unlimited range. So when my dog has their device on their collar, it means I can follow their movements – as they move throughout training – from my mobile app.

Another handy feature is its Virtual Fence – where you can set up a “safe zone” and get an escape alert the minute your dog tries running past it.

Tractive GPS app feature screenshot LIVE Tracking

Most importantly, with Tractive’s LIVE tracking, I can figure out how close – or how far – they are from me, and whether I need to intervene if they’ve wandered off too far.

⚠️ Because once you lose sight of your dog, there’s no telling if they might run into a car, another dog or person, or even a wild animal. The stress and panic of losing them is never worth it.

Read more: The story of Kathy the Beagle, kidnapped during training – but rescued thanks to her Tractive GPS

LIVE Track Your Dog

Locate your dog when it’s dark outdoors

I usually go out for my free running or training in the early mornings – when it might still be dark. Which can make it difficult to locate your dog if they’ve:

  • Got dark fur
  • Have wandered off into the woods when it’s already gotten dark
A man training his dogs against a sunset

💡 Which is where Tractive’s LED light comes in handy. I just hit the “Light” option and I can locate my dog with the lamp on their tracker. So I always know where to look to find them – no matter how dark it is.

Figure out how much exercise your dog’s gotten

Besides keeping your dog safe while out training, your Tractive device can also help you figure out how effective your training was in the first place.

After training, I like to analyze the distance we both covered, how many active minutes my dog got, and how fast we were both going. I usually register my sports activities to Strava, which also helps me analyze how my dog’s doing, performance-wise.

💡With Tractive’s Activity Tracking, you can set goals for your dog’s daily exercise – and figure out what’s a normal level of activity for them.

tractive gps activity monitoring for dogs app screen

Besides, if you notice a drop in your dog’s active minutes, you can pick up on it faster (because it might indicate they’re injured or sick.)

So you can take action quicker and get them to a vet before they get worse. Saving you time, money, and energy in the long run.

Discover Activity Tracking

Hike, swim, run, bike with your dog – 100% stress-free

Now as a sporty dog parent, you want equipment that’s built for the outdoors. So you can go on as many rough and tumble adventures with your dog as possible – where they might get muddy, dive into lakes or ponds, or even end up play-fighting with other dogs.

💡Which is where the Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition is a great fit. If you do any kind of running, hiking or biking with your dog, this device is perfect.

  • It’s firstly bite-proof – with fiberglass-reinforced casing.
  • It’s got a 30-day battery life.
  • It’s IPX7 certified, which means it’s 100% waterproof.

Perfect for the next time you’re out adventuring with your dog – and want to hike, swim, run, or bike with them, 100% stress-free.

Tractive DOG XL Adventure edition

Always know where your dog is

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

Shop Dog Trackers

Read more: The Best Small Waterproof GPS Tracker For Dogs & Cats

How to get started with your Tractive GPS

Gotten your hands on your very own Tractive GPS tracker? Here’s how to get started – and get training with your buddy right away!

golden retriever dog in water wearing gps tracker with red ball / tractive app
  • Start by taking your tracker out of the box and charging it.
  • When the battery is full, you can put it on the harness or the collar of your dog.
  • Turn on the tracker by holding down the small button for 3 seconds – you will quickly see a green light. When the light is green, the GPS is on and you are ready to go.
  • If the light is red, wait and try again. You turn it off by holding down the small button for 3 seconds. Then, you will see a red light.

You can follow your dog directly on your phone with the Tractive GPS app. The app is compatible with most Apple and Android phones.

💡You can even track your daily walks with your Tractive app and the fun Walk feature! Log in your daily adventures, stay accountable to your dog’s exercise – and share your location with friends and loved ones so you can stay safe.

Peace of mind, right at your fingertips

Now with your very own Tractive device set up, you’ll never have to ask yourself:

  • Where is my dog when I’m not around?
  • How many kilometers did my dog run during the day?
  • Did he/she leave the safe zone (i.e., past the virtual fence)?

💡With its built-in SIM card, your Tractive device connects to mobile networks across 175 countries. Which means you’ll never need to stress about your tracker working – even while on vacation.

Shiba Inu dog facing camera closeup with white GPS dog tracker from Tractive

Here’s how you can use Tractive and Strava for dog sports

Wrapping up: Tractive is a great training partner for you and your dog.

It’s got everything from location tracking to staying on top of your dog’s health and wellbeing – plus it’s specifically built for dogs and dog parents, just like you.

A man hugging his dog who's wearing a Tractive GPS collar

Because the pain and stress of losing your dog is never worth it – but the relief and joy of knowing where to find them always is.

So what are you waiting for? Have fun and let’s Tractive!

Discover Tractive GPS

Jerome Lafourte and his dog sports companion

Jerome and his furry friends have been a part of the Tractive community since March 2017 and they are fully satisfied of the benefits of Tractive GPS.

The tracker gives Jerome piece of mind for training worry-free with his furry friend and supports them both in their sports adventures!

If you want to follow them, check out their profiles here: Indra Nelson Jango for Facebook and Jerome Lafourte for Instagram.