Ever wondered just how strong your dog is? Stu Castle’s new puppy Axel, a 175-pound, 21-month-old Cane Corso mastiff loves to pull. However, no matter how eager he was to get underway, Stu felt proper training was key to Axel’s success.
“The first requirement is a properly-fitted harness,” he said.
“Once they are use to the harness, we attach a lightweight noise element to their harness behind them.”
This is all preparatory for the actual weight pull. Once the dog is comfortable with the noise and effort, they start adding weight beginning with about 25 – 50 per cent of the dogs weight.
“In general the dog could be pulling within a month,” Stu said.
Stu is a member of the Cariboo K-9 Pulling Association which is hosting a Fathers Day Fun Pull June 18 in the Fireside Heating parking lot. They encourage anyone interested in finding out if their dog likes to pull to come by where experienced trainers will help provide a pulling experience for any size of dog.
“It’s all about how much the dog can pull over their body weight,” he said.
Not all dogs, even those which seem designed for pulling, want to pull. Some breeds though which have a pre-disposition to pulling are pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers and of course some breeds of mastiffs.
Stu discovered Axel’s love of pulling after attending Willow Eyford’s behavioural training program. He was looking for activities to burn off excess energy and Willow suggested he try pulling. Axel was a natural. Stu told of hooking Axel up to a Volkswagen Beetle and watching Axel trot down the street with the car in tow – no problem.
“Depending on the dog, any animals with a will to pull will pull,” Stu said.
“But with any training it takes patience, encouragement and lots of praise, however some dogs take longer than others. If training isn’t fun and rewarding they’ll lose interest and all will be lost.”
He added positive encouragements, treats and playtime afterwards as a reward are also important elements in successful pulling training.
For the large breeds, the Cariboo K-9 Pulling Association, holds regular practices and exercises, they start with a 350-pound trailer and add cinder blocks, tires and other weighed objects to challenge the dogs.
“We’re looking to see where the animals can’t pull, then we return to the dog’s last successful pull to end on a positive note for the dog.”
Another Pulling Association member Jared Vachon is pleased with his 115-pound Presa Canario mastiff and how much he enjoys pulling.
“During the fun pull there will only be one dog on the field at a time,” Jared said.
“And scoring is based on how many times their body weight they pull.”
The rules for the pull include no animal abuse, no bitches in heat, no injured dogs, no overly aggressive dogs and finally all handlers must maintain control of their animal at all times.
“This is a fun event and people will be on hand to work with less experienced dogs and handlers to have the best experience possible,” Jared said.
The Pulling Association is looking to educate the community on this fun dog sport and they would love to see more people join the club. There will be club members on hand to sign up new members. The entry fee is $20/dog and the event begins at 1 p.m.
To find out more about Cariboo K-9 Pulling Association visit the website www.ck9p.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Facebook page Cariboo K-9 Pullers or phone Stu Castle at 250-983-6325.