Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Weight Pull Practice

We've been practicing weight pull once or twice a week with a friend. Since we are using a cart, the friend is a necessary safety measure, as we need someone on the brake so the cart doesn't run over the dog.

I have been using a touch stick method to get Koira to pull. An important part of training is that she learn proper body position, which basically means she needs to learn to pull with her head down. While not so important with light weights, it will get very important when she is asked to pull more weight down the line. To keep her head low and forward, I've been using a touch stick (also commonly called a target stick) out in front of her and close to the ground. I then treat her down low as well, or toss treats on the ground in front of her.

This past week, I strapped the GoPro onto the end of the touch stick. The battery was borderline dead, so I didn't get very long videos, but I think it is enough for you to see the basics of what we are doing. Basically, I hook Koira's harness up to the cart, walk her out so the bar of the harness is not on her hocks, and then have her wait. Then, I go out next to her, put the target end of the touch stick out in front of her a ways, down low near the ground, and tell her to touch. She sticks her nose down toward the stick, throws her shoulders into the pulling, and walks toward the stick, head low, pulling the weighted cart (for reference, she has just over 100 lbs on the cart in these videos). I reward her when her head position is good, when she has pulled  a decent distance, when she gets a good start on the cart, etc.

Sorry at the videos being a bit tilted. I basically just taped the GoPro onto the touch stick with scotch tape, and it ended up being a bit crooked.

Anybody have weight pull questions? Anybody do weight pull and have tips for me?


  1. I've got a Cardigan friend who does weight pull and it amazes me how much weight they can move!

  2. WOW very cool! Remember when you were doing a collar give away? Do you make these or order them from some place?


  3. I made the collars. I also made Koira's weight pull harness that she is wearing in the video. I find it fun to spend time making fun stuff for my dogs.

  4. It is so refreshing to see another person using food rewards and positive reinforcement for weight pull! I trained two of my dogs to WP using a very similar method (one went on to be the first English Springer Spaniel with a UWPCH). After UKC made their big WP program changes, most of the clubs in my area fizzled out, but there is one pull coming up in a few months that I hope to make it to. Best of luck with Koira!