The ones that we take part in are:
We talked about Canicross in another post, because you have to run to keep up. But, basically, all these are, is attaching your dog to a typically “human” powered vehicle, and holding on!
Ok, there’s more to it than that. The commands needed to take part in these are exactly like Canicross. They are:
– A go command (even though they tend to pull naturally, there are times when they will decide they’d rather not. For this to be a work exercise, they need to go regardless!)
– A stop command (As in, if you stop to tie your shoe you don’t have to tether your vehicle to a tree)
– A leave it command (As in they “tend” to follow a trail, but it’s surprising how brave little forest creatures get when they see a dog pulling. A sudden left turn into a heavily wooded area as they chase a squirrel can just ruin the experience.)
Nice but not necessary:
– Left/right turn (when trails split this is really nice)
In Competitions people like to have these:
– A tolerance for other dogs. There are going to be a lot of them and they will be AMPED!!! you have to make sure that your dog is either OK with that, or you have bombproof management techniques in your toolbox. Cause you WILL need them. Just because people have taught their dogs to pull doesn’t necessarily mean they have taught them manners!
– About left/right (as in a u-turn one way or the other)
– Over left/right (as in which side of the trail to be on. Useful for passing)
Of course the die-hard “Mushers” (what pulling enthusiasts usually call themselves) do it in a foreign language. But I don’t really care about that.
How to get these skills, you ask?
Yeah that’s the problem.
We read about it, and thought it was awesome sounding. So, we of course asked every trainer we could find for help. No one teaches it. Weird. So we just taught ourselves. And started with the minimums. Not bad.
Then we finally found a Musher willing to help us. And that’s when we found out the secret. You hitch your dog to a team of trained dogs. They are literally attached. You say right, the team pulls them right. Eventually, the team isn’t pulling them, cause they know what right means.
Sweet. If your dog’s not reactive/aggressive.
What about…. You know….. Us?
Well, I can tell you how we do it.
I talked about one way in the Canicross article. But, here’s another way.
You get someone on another bike (or whatever) and run a line from them to the dog (or front dog if you’re running more than one). They the person out front becomes the “lead dog”. The driver (person in the pulled rig) calls the command, and the “lead dog” responds. The learning curve is the same as running a new dog behind an experienced lead dog the way mushers usually teach. The down side to this method…… Someone’s got to outrun the team behind them. Or the driver had to ride the hell out of the brakes. So, this way takes less people, but takes way more effort, and I think maybe takes longer from start to finish to teach a dog the commands.
Now, If this sounds like something you want your dog to do, but don’t want to deal with the pain of teaching them how, getting the gear, loading them up, and hitting the trail….. Give us a call. We will come over and take them for a pull!