Recently in another post the subject of Pulling arose. For those of us who don’t know as much as we’d like to about this sport for dogs of all sizes, here is an interesting event in Colorado.
Thanks to The Tribune for this article.
How much can that dog pull?
You own a dog, or maybe you just see a dog. It could be a big dog, small dog, hairy dog, whatever.
The obvious questions: How much weight could that dog pull? And how does the creature’s weight-pulling ability compare to that of others”
The answer: We don’t exactly know. But we can tell you where to find out.
The Winter K-9 Pull will run Saturday and Sunday at J & T Country Feed, 6380 10th St. Saturday will be a sanctioned event of the International Weight Pull Association, and dogs will vie for points to qualify for an international pull-off on April 21-22 in Greeley. Sunday is for amateurs who want to give it a try.
Anyone can come watch for free.
You might have a few more questions, and these ones we can answer because we talked to Rodney Martin of Evans, and he’s been doing this stuff for seven years.
The dogs wear what are called freight harnesses, which are attached to a sled. The dogs must pull the sled 16 feet down a snow track in 60 seconds. More weight is added after each round until one dog pulls a weight no other dog can. Ties go to the dog with the fastest time.
“If the conditions are right,” Martin said, “these dogs can pull phenomenal amounts.”
For example, he said the snow track record is 1,450 pounds in the division for dogs 126-150 pounds. There are eight weight classes, from the 0-20 pound lightweights all the way to the behemoths who weigh 151 pounds or more.
Breeds vary as well. Martin ticked off a list that included Norwegian elkhounds, Labradors, miniature poodles and St. Bernards. And those are just a few, he said.
There are rules to protect the dogs, Martin said. Handlers can’t force their dog to pull. If a dog doesn’t want to pull, it doesn’t pull, and no baiting with food. Dog fights result in expulsion of all dogs involved, regardless of fault. Any abusive handler will be disqualified. Any situation deemed dangerous for the dog, such as a tangle, will be corrected or the dog will be disqualified.
Martin said the pulls have been going on for 22 years without a single dog injured in competition.
Most people, he said, get involved out of curiosity. They start with an amateur pull and before long they’re entering the sanctioned events. That’s what he did seven years ago.
He’ll be there this weekend, and if you want to know how much weight your dog, a big dog, a small dog can pull, the weigh in begins at 8:30 a.m. both days.