Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weight Pull

We apparently don't have enough sports to be involved with. A friend recently mentioned to us that they were starting weight pull training, and I said me and Koira were totally in for that. We have now done two practices, using weights and a crate dolly. Koira seems to really enjoy the practices, but has been getting a bit frustrated during training.

We started out borrowing my friend's weight pull harness, which fit Koira surprisingly well. But, I had to make our own in case we both compete in the same class, so that we don't have to switch the harness back and forth between dogs. My first attempt at a weight pull harness came in at $25 for materials and only about 40 minutes for assembly. I think it fits really well, and I am very happy with it.

On the way to meet up for practice last night, I had an idea about how to really train a good head position for weight pull. Basically, you want the dog to keep their head low and forward for the best pulling power, and you want to teach that position from the beginning.  I tried the first time by tossing treats ahead of Koira, and by treating her low or on the ground when she pulled nicely. It got a decent head position but was not very consistent and relied heavily on me getting the treats in the right position. On the drive over there last night, though, it occurred to me, maybe it would be the perfect time to pull out the touch stick again?

Touch sticks are amazing, by the way.

Using a touch stick/target stick helped keep Koira's head nicely low, in good position, consistently. I do use a clicker when I use the touch stick (about the only thing I consistently use a clicker for), but you could certainly use a marker word instead. Koira is well trained with the touch stick to bump her nose to the very tip of the stick. The tip of the stick part is very important, as you don't want the dog targeting halfway up the stick or right next to your hand or something. Using the touch stick was way, way easier for training position and pulling. And, I am pretty sure I can fade the stick out pretty easily to a hand touch (once her head position is trained better), because I am allowed to use my hand as a target for her even in competition.

In any case, I don't have a ton to say about weight pull, since we are just now getting involved with it. So far, we are having a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to trying it out in competition. No pictures yet since we are practicing at night pretty much, making it hard to get decent pictures. If you do weight pull with your dog, and have any starting tips, we would love to hear them!

8 comments:

Ximena said...

So cool that you have access to all these sports. So far, Montana is all about P+ obedience.

I know for a long time you've wanted a sport that one dog would compete in without the other (of course I can't remember which). I assumed it'd be dock diving because Pallo's like Elli about jumping into water (resistant, shall we say). Will you get Pallo into Pulling, too? I know Corgis have titled in it before, right?

Patty said...

Very cool! Looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing about your progress. I think Sophie and I may look into Lure coursing (like you said we don't have enough sports to be involved in already lol)

Pauley James said...

I had no idea that weight pulling even existed for dogs. I think in her younger years our Annie would have been great at this. You all have so many different things to get involved with where you live.

Tori said...

cant wait to see some pics of this new sport!

Sophie said...

I'm very jealous you have the opportunity to do these sports! I'm looking forward to seeing weight pull pictures :)

Hawkeye BrownDog said...

Hi Y'all,

I know people who use dogs to pull sleds to haul stuff and use a harness. Never knew there were competitions for pulling for dogs. I live in such rural areas it's over an hour drive just to a training class for obedience or agility.

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Life with Wrigs said...

I mentioned this to Wrigs and he gave me an "Are you kidding me?!" look. Have fun!

Susan and Wrigs

Jen said...

Stumbling upon this somewhat late. My cavalier, who does flyball, and my dog who looks like a little golden (who will hopefully compete on day in flyball) are doing weight pull. The cavalier didn't start out thrilled with it, but he's coming along and pulling a few pounds. He's always been a tiny little thing. Between flyball and weight pull, he's now probably the most muscular cavalier out there. I think it's really helped his speed too. I'd love to get him competing just because I'm pretty sure he'd be the only cavalier to do it.
My other dog is getting quite good at it. I haven't entered her in competition yet, just in novice classes. I wasn't even going to try her in it at first. I initially had the cavalier signed up for another session of the class, and switched it to her last minute. I'm glad I did. She's had some setbacks, she got afraid of the camera at a novice pull and refused to work for a few weeks, but I can't wait to see her competing.