Warping fair gamed minds with memories...bully eh!
Originally Posted by Bunnylady
Oh, man, Tara, this brought back a memory . . . .
When Critter and I were much, much younger, we rescued a couple of Shepherd crosses that grew up to weigh about 45 - 50 lbs. Energy out the wazoo . . . . Anyway, he got the great idea to hook leashes on 'em and let them pull him down the road on a skateboard (boys and their toys, eh?). He thought it was great, but I didn't like it for 2 reasons - 1) they were pulling with their necks, and I didn't like putting pressure on their throats like that, and 2) I don't like a dog to pull on a lead anyway, and this was basically teaching them to do just that. So I looked at some pictures and figured out how dog team harnesses are constructed, cut up a pair of old jeans, and made a couple of harnesses for them. The first time Critter harnessed them up, they started off at a happy jog, but as they realized they could move without being choked, they put their heads down and just flew! That worked great as long as they stayed on the road, but they spotted a squirrel in a yard and, well . . . .
Let's just say they cornered a lot better than the skateboard - they went this way, the skateboard went that way, Critter wound up running on the road shoulder taking bigger strides than a long jumper . . . .
Crazy stuff. He did it a bunch of times, but it was never dull; he never could keep them focused, and never knew when they'd go off task and off road.
So you must be one of our neighbours that would call my mother up and complain we two kids (my sis and I) were being MEAN to our golden lab out on the WEsT Coast when it snowed (not too often did it snow decent either). Had our dog hooked to a small sled (still got it...it's an antique...jest like moi!).
there's our old sled...
Right above that thing for "axe grinding" eh
My mother merely replied to the complainers...if the dog did not want to pull the girls around, he would not. One of us kids always had to run in front calling him..."Come on Rex...Come!" He was hooked by a collar to some poly yeller cord to the sled of course, we were kids. The engineering dynamics of proper get ups were lost to us. Dog pull, we like...and yeh, if a squirrel had come out, I guess one of us would not have had to run in front...carrot on a stick like for an old donkey to follow.
Me and the Jacob rams (yeh, that be SHEEP...horned ones...multi pronged to get one thinking about moving it along already, eh!
Rick made the covered wagon when I wanted to embarrass him with one from a hardware store. Course this one is magnificent...on an ATV trailer and with a real canvas topper...yeh...small fortune spent not to shame the family name eh! I braided the harnesses, leads and whatnots...of course...
Yeh, yeh leather halters, antique sheep bells, brass hardware (brass because it don't freeze up like silvers do--this IS the Great White North).
I've become much more sophisticatedly adept now...ordering cord from out East from fishing net supply stores and hitting up a going outta biz sadderly store for the brass hardware. Don't buy cord at the hardware stores...icrumba...way price a foot even. Tandy leather (not to be mean) but yowsers...if I had had to buy the hardware buckles and stuff, ouch! I watch constantly for brass anything on sale and snabb it up...won't go bad and you just never know what a cup of too much java will have me braiding up next...got the cord...rolls and rolls of it.
Originally Posted by perchie.girl
I got to reading up on dog sled harness.... VERY interesting. its built exactly on the same principle as Horse harness. But because dogs are built different and have much more mobility in the shoulders its dependant on the strap that comes between the lfront legs to keep the harness in position. Balanced between chest and withers.
And in the training harness diagrams you still use a regular dog collar which is fit above the harness on the neck.
The hitch to the vehicle is the same as in horses... even has many of the same "parts" names As in horses the rear dogs are called Wheelers and the front dogs are called the Swing.
I can learn you sumthun on this one Deb...draft horse halter...turned upside down...instant dog harness and cheep cheap cheep...places like Princess Auto (nfi-go there, amazing what you can find for farm stuff) had multi coloured ones...so I think I picked up two.
I train FAR too many beasts to pull burdens. Sheep, dogs...heck, one day I'll hitch up a chook and join the chicken chariot racers...good doG!
Bungy cord on an old car tire...training sessions of fifteen minutes max, hook them up paired the same side each time, and a pan of some treat like grains for the rams. You got them eating outta yer pan...forgetting how idiotic you just were in thinking sheep would be draft (DAFT) animals. Yupp...can make any silly old thing pull a load...just watch me.
Now Deb...when I was going to harness up the sheeps...I looked at goat harnesses for inspiration and the horse styled ones too...the plow neck yokes and hames...but decided that unlike a horse, a sheep was shaped a tad different and better to do a body braided harness than a neck yoke for pulling...besides, you know it would take a leather sewer to do that and then the wooden and metal parts...so I went all cord and brass hardware. Works...but I am not asking the rams to pull any great load.
According to the article below, ACD's can pull 18 times their own weight...at fifty pounds for a Heeler...that's 900 pounds...no wonder you need the dog to oblige you when walking on lead...even a 250 pound man can be dragged down the road by an ACD...if'n that be where the ACD wants to go ignoring their human's wants.
Here's an article I had done up from the series of ACD's Excel at...
ACDs Excel at
By Teresa Keenan
Looking for a new activity to keep you and your ACD busy? Weight pulling just might be your answer. It promotes physical conditioning, strengthens the bond between dog and handler and provides for a constructive outlet for canine competition.
Much like a tractor pull, the object of the game is to see who can pull the heaviest load. The dog must pull a weighted cart or sled for a distance of 16 feet within a 60 second time limit. Dog and handler both enter the pulling lane together. The dog is attached to a cart (or sled, if the competition is being held on snow) and told to stay while the handler leaves the dog and goes to the finish line. Once across the line the handler is not allowed to touch the dog until the pull is completed. The handler calls his/her dog; the timer starts; and the cheering begins. Sometimes you can even see the whole crowd leaning toward the finish line mentally pushing the cart along with the dog. The winner is the dog that pulls the most amount of weight. In the event of a tie the winner becomes the dog that pulled the weight in the least amount of time.
Any dog can compete in weight pulling; large and small, pure breed and mixed. Some of the most popular breeds have been Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and mixed breeds. Dogs are divided up into six different weight classes so that they will be competing with other dogs of comparable size. The different classes are: 35 pounds and under, 36-60 pounds, 61-80 pounds, 81-100 pounds, 101-120 pounds, and 121 pounds and over. The largest dog to be seen competing in a weight pulling event was an English Mastiff weighing in at approximately 250 pounds and the smallest dog has been a 12 pound poodle.
The International Weight Pull Association (IWPA) is a non-profit organization that promotes the sport of weight pulling. The IWPA was first organized in 1984 and has been growing ever since. It consists of ten regions spread out across the United States and Canada. The pulling season officially begins on September 1st and runs through April 1st. Dogs and handlers compete at various events throughout the season earning points. At the end of the season, the points are tallied and the top three dogs in each weight class for their region earn medals and the opportunity to attend an international pull-off competition.
In addition to earning points, individual dogs can compete against themselves to earn working dog titles by pulling a specified percentage of their body weight at three or four events. Three certificates are available: Working Dog (WD) in which the dog pulls 12 times their weight (5 times if pulling on snow) at four different events; Working Dog Excellent (WDX) in which the dog pulls 18 times their weight (10 times if on snow) at four different events; and Working Dog Superior (WDS) in which the dog pulls 23 times their weight (15 times if on snow) at three different events.
Although not as popular as northern breeds and terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs can excel at weight pulling. Weight pulling is an athletic event; quite simply put; the strongest dog will win. ACD's are most definitely athletic dogs. They are well built, muscular and posses the stamina needed to continue to pull as the sled gets heavier.
In addition to being physically strong, Cattle Dogs are mentally tough. The handler has no contact with the dog during the pull, so it is up to the dog's willingness to pull. The most important quality in a good weight puller is "heart and desire." While many Malamutes and Pitt Bull type dogs have the physical strength to pull much higher weights than my German Shepherds, the thing that has continued to win medals, earn titles and allow us to compete in the annual pull-off is the "heart" these dogs posses. They strive to please and they just never quit trying. Like my GSD's; Cattle Dog's have huge hearts and tons of determination. This quality, which draws so many of us to the breed, also provides the basis for Cattle Dogs to be successful at weight pulling.
Along the same lines as "heart," a successful weight pulling dog must have a strong bond with his/her handler and have the desire to please. No food or toys or other treats can be used in competition. The only tool you have to convince your dog to try his hardest to pull the cart is your voice. The desire to please and the strong bond most all Cattle Dogs have with their humans only helps them to do well at this sport. Lastly, but still important, is obedience. Cattle Dogs are smart and very willing to learn. In competition the dog must stay in place while the handler goes across the finish line. If the dog moves the cart before the handler is across the line it is considered a false start. Two false starts and the dog is disqualified.
There are five ACD's from three different regions currently participating in the IWPA this season. Right now, Bulldozer is holding the silver medal in his region on wheels; D.D. presently holds a gold medal in her region on wheels and won the gold last year on snow; Jack has held onto the silver medal on wheels (was 4th place over all last year) and he pulled a personal best of 1,225 lbs. this year; Breeze is maintaining a 4th place on wheels in his/her region this year and Inferno who is currently in 10th place in his/her region this year.
Although the standings are not final yet for this season you can see that ACD's are having fun and bringing home the medals too. In addition to these five; there are two young Cattle Dogs who are just getting started in weight pulling. Poe and Tessa have been coming to practice and are learning the basics. Poe is a natural; he just hunkers down, leans into the harness and pulls. He has already shown that he's capable of pulling over 18 times his own weight. We are looking forward to seeing these two in competition next season.
If you think you might be interested in trying weight pulling with your dog, the easiest way is to attend a fun pull. Loaner harnesses will be available and there will be experienced people there to help you walk your dog through. The most important piece of equipment needed for weight pulling (other than a healthy, well conditioned dog) is the harness. It needs to be properly fit to the dog and it must have a spreader bar at the back end so that there won't be any restriction of the dog's movement when it's pulling.
Safety of the dog is of paramount concern and since IWPA's organization in 1984; no dogs have been hurt in competition. To continue this trend; it is highly recommended that newcomers to the sport wait until their dog is at least a year old, has had his hips and elbows certified free of dysplasia and that your dog is healthy and in good physical condition.
ACDs Excel At: Weight Pulling
Teressa Keenan - March 2000
Purdy kewl eh!
Doggone & Chicken UP!
Tara Lee Higgins
Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm, Alberta, Canada