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It has come to my attention that dog pulling was discussed on Austin's 101.5 KROX Jason and Deb show on Dec. 19, 2008.  There was some misinformation discussed.  Though I did not listen to the segment, I wrote Deb an email.  Dog sports require proper training.  Please do not hook up your dog to objects without prior training.



I was informed on the radio that there was discussion about weight pulling and having dogs pull people around on skateboards.  I would highly discourage allowing dogs to pull you on a skateboard unless the dog was properly trained and the correct equipment was used.  While, I don't have to discuss why obedience is critical for any activity, using a regular collar (any type) can seriously injure your dog.  You can pull your dog's neck muscle or cause a misaligned vertebrate.  A freight/weight siwash style harness is constructed so that there is NO weight on the dog's back.  The weight and pull power all come from the dog's lower neck and chest.  This is why when dogs pull, then naturally hunch down low.  This is also why if your dog's collar rests on the base of the neck of your dog, you have little control of your dog.  If you keep the collar high right below the chin, you'll have total control.  This is how handlers on televised dog shows are able to easily handle 250 lb mastiffs on tiny collars and leads. 

Also, weight pull is a sport that grew out of historical functions of pulling breeds.  Modern day competitions test the amount of weight the dog can pull over 16 feet.  The advantages of the sport is that it is an activity that any dog can participate in and earn a title.  Dogs should have basic obedience before beginning this sport, and many dogs do have to be trained to do this.  This sport encourages handler and dog bonding and teamwork.  This is one of the few sports besides agility that allows mixed breed dogs to participate. 

Drafting/Carting is another pulling activitiy that is based on handler control and ability to manuerver a cart.  The emphasis of drafting is not about the amount of weight a dog can pull.  Drafting requires intensive training and a strong foundation in obedience prior to draft training.  Drafting is not an activity that any dog can learn quickly.  It takes a minimun of several months to train a dog to a beginner level.  You can learn more about these activities by visiting my website ( or by visiting 

As a trainer, handler, and judge, I have many mantras.  Fit dogs are healthy dogs.  Tired dogs are well-behaved dogs.  Most behavioral problems I see in dogs can be prevented with exercise.  Many health problems can be prevented with exercise.  Dog sports can provide many advantages such as physical activity, obedience training, handling skills, and mental stimulation.  They bring people and their dogs together. 

Thanks for your time.

 Weight Pull Crash Course - How to get started

Working Dog PDF


International Weight Pull Association

Lucky (Kretchmar) the tree climbing weight pulling puppy.  So I tried to have Mouse go up the tree.  For Mouse, not so much.


Justin Kretchmar and Lucky after a pull.


Basil and 2800 lbs


Eiger (Capelli) putting his heart into it


To pull or not to pull?

Mouse getting riled up!

Look at those ears go!

Basil giving it a go.

Taking a nap?

Holly giving it all she's got.  And it is quite a bit.

Mouse pulling at the Strong Dog Pull Competition

Hey!  Even the little ones can try