Weight Pulling

Dogs have pulled things for humans throughout history: sleds, carts, and many types of cargo. In today’s sport version, dogs wear a padded harness that attaches to a so-called trace (two side straps), which connects to either a sled, wheeled cart, or rail carts. Competitions mostly attracts bully breeds—Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Boxers—but the sport is open to all breeds and all sizes. (Dogs are separated into classes based on their body weight.) Most people practice with sleds or carts at home, because few have their own wheel or rail systems. Basic training and good manners are a great start for any dog whose guardian is interested in this sport. Being both people and dog-friendly is a must, but other than that, any dog can learn to love pulling weight.

The key thing to success—a happy dog that’s having fun—is to carefully and gradually condition the pooch for the job. That includes desensitizing your dog to the harness and other equipment with treats, fun, and praise, and it means slowly building from no weight to light weight and so on. And always remember that the dog didn’t pick the sport. If she’s having a bad day, let her off the hook. Weight should be tons of fun, pun intended.