One of the hottest growing activities is called drafting or carting. What makes this activity so much fun is that anyone and any dog can do it–from the
largest mastiff to the smallest Pomeranian. Dog power has been around since man has first domesticated the canine.
Many native American tribes used dogs to haul their belongings on travois or sleds. In Europe, dogs pulling milk carts, butcher meat carts or the carts carrying a family was not an uncommon sight. Certain breeds were once specifically bred just for drafting. The dog was the poor man’s horse. While the need to have dog powered vehicles is no longer a necessity, in recent years this activity has grown into a wonderful recreational activity for people and their dogs.

Dogs can draft with many vehicles–carts (which are two wheeled vehicles), wagons (four wheeled vehicles) sleds or toboggans (called mushing), or they can pull you on skis or skates (called skijoring). A general rule of thumb to remember is that regardless of the breed of dog, your average dogs can pull roughly their own weight in a well-balanced vehicle. No pup under 18 months should pull anything heavier than the cart itself, and pups under 12 months should not pull anything, although they can be trained to accept the harness. Joints and tendons are still developing and growing in younger dogs and overdoing the weight can result in joint and other musculoskeletal problems.

Popular Carting Breeds

  • Bernese mountain dogs
  • Greater swiss mountain dogs
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian huskies
  • Alaskan malamutes

Suggested Exercises

Control Exercises: Control Exercises demonstrate the dog’s ability to be a safe and obedient companion and worker.
Three exercises are performed.

  • Heel off lead
  • One minute stand stay
  • Three-minute group down stay.

Carting Exercises: The Carting Exercises demonstrate the dog’s usefulness as a draft animal in manoeuvring loads safely and quietly with a wheeled vehicle over a moderate distance and smooth terrain.
Three exercises are performed:

  • Harnessing & hitching: the dog must stand still while harness and cart are attached
  • Maneuvers & figure 8: pattern of forwards, left turns, right turns, halts and a figure 8.
  • Backup: the dog must back up four feet moving in a reasonably straight line.

Field Work Exercises: The Field Work Exercises demonstrate the dog’s ability to pull a suitable freight load over a moderate distance in cooperation with its handler.
Three exercises are performed:

  • Hitching and loading
  • Hauling
  • Unloading & unhitching

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