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!