Dog carting – nothing to do with kart racing!

Narrated from: Dog Training

Dog carting has nothing to do with dogs driving actual karts. Actually, dog carting is way more fun – because your dog could do it in the back yard!

Dog carting (also known as drafting) started as an exercise for sled-pulling dogs when there is no snow. However, it has developed as a free-time activity all over the world. Not every dog is able to pull a sled – dogs that pull sleds have been bred for the task since before the birth of Christ. However, with the right equipment, even the smallest dog could feel like an Alaskan Malamute for the day!

Depending on size and strength, dogs can pull different loads. Actually, there is a sport called dog-pulling – it is for trained dogs that pull sleds or carts laden with weights.

However, with dog carting there is a more pleasant alternative – the dog could pull you!
In the Middle Ages, stronger dogs were known as the “poor man’s horse” – a dog pulling a cart with all the family’s possessions would be a common sight. However, today it’s all about the fun! You could ride a cart pulled by the dog in the park and feel quite smug! Dogs weighing 15 kg or more could pull an adult easily.

Drafting could be long distance – the dog could pull the kids all around the neighborhood. However, both parties might be equally satisfied by making circles in a larger back yard.
Also, many people use dog carting to move things around the house or at work. This is a great bonding activity, since the dog can feel that it is working with its owner.

Now, this might sound like slave labor – and the truth is that dog carting is not for every dog. The main idea of the activity is to satisfy dogs with excessive energy. If you have a dog with behavior problems at home, one of the main reasons could be that the dog doesn’t get enough exercise! On the other hand, if your dog is from a “lazier” breed, then it might not particularly enjoy dog carting – so, you shouldn’t force the dog!

If you decide to give dog carting a go, there are several things you should do:

1. Check if your dog is fit for dog carting. The easiest way to do that is to consult with your vet. The dog must be in good enough shape. Also, check if your dog has a straight top line. Dogs that tend to bow when pulling tire easily and suffer a risk of injury. If the dog is not suitable for carting, perhaps some other forms of exercise should be applied.

2. The puppy case – puppies and young dogs (under 18 months) shouldn’t pull heavy weights. Their bones are still not strong enough. However, this age is perfect if you want to begin the training process!

3. Basic commands – your must train the dog to obey some commands. It is up to you to choose the wording; you just have to be consistent. A basic set of commands would include “forward”, “stop”, “left”, “right”, “slow”, and so on.

4. Harness and cart – you need to buy the right equipment. There are plenty of carts on the market and you could even build one at home. However, the size of the cart should be consistent with the dog’s size. Generally, a dog can pull about its own weight with no problem, and some heavier-built breeds could pull up to 10 times their weight!
You need a special harness though, or else your dog might get injured. You must look for a “D” ring harness, a racing harness or a breast collar and siwash harness. Carting harnesses generally come at a reasonable price, but make sure the harness is fitted specifically for your dog.

5. Positive treatment – the main key to training a dog to pull a cart is staying positive. Never forget it’s all about the fun! The harness and the cart shouldn’t be forced on the dog; they should be introduced gradually. You have to be patient, and reward every breakthrough with a treat.

So, that’s about it! If your dog enjoys dog carting, you could try to enter an official dog sport like dog pulling; however, the main idea of dog carting is to keep it fun for you and your dog!

to top of the page
Previous Next

Other articles that might interest you::