Q: How do I teach my dog the “pull” command?
A: With the harness on, take the dog for a walk with a lead attached. Then call him back to you and introduce a word you want to use as the command to “pull”, such as “pull” or “work.” Just make sure you pick a word to use that you will stick with. If you try to change commands, it will only confuse the dog.
Q: Should I use “bait”?
A: This is a very tricky question. It has been noted over the years as being done, however, if you chose to use bait, make sure you do not use any thing that resembles a human or an animal. That should never be used as bait! Using any such item will actually get your dog disqualified during an event! We find that teaching dogs to pull on command is much easier and does not cause any confusion in the dog.
Q: Are we ready for weight yet?
A: Once your dog feels comfortable with the harness on and is responding to your command, it’s fine to introduce some weigh. A 1-10 pound barbell weight, tied to a cable or a tire, is a good first light resistance that doesn’t make too much noise. The chances are good that if your dog has had fun, he or she will run to you like there is nothing on it. It is very important that you go very easy the next month. After each pulling event, make sure you reward the dog with a treat or love, or however you normally praise your dog. You will want to practice with this weight for a month or so, to get the dog used to the feel of pulling. After about a month of this weight, increase the weight. Make sure you only increase slowly. After each weight increase, work with your dog for a few weeks with that weight before you introduce heavier weights.
Q: What will I need to train my dog to weight pull?
A: The most important thing you will need is a healthy dog, time, and patience. Once you have those, the rest is simple! You will need a weight pull harness designed for the size of your dog and items of different weights.
Q: At what age can I start training?
A: Around the age of 6 months, your dog will be able to start pulling light weight. Puppies that are still growing and maturing can be damaged, if introduced to weight too early; the pulling can negatively alter the way their bones and joints mature. By the age of 18 months, he or she will have fully developed muscles and tissue to pull heavier weights.
Q: Should I get my dog a weight pulling harness to get him used to it ahead of time?
A: No, a regular harness leash will work great to get the dog used to the feel of it. Just do not have your dog pulling anything with a regular harness. Only use it to get your dog used to the feeling of the harness. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO PULL IN REGULAR HARNESS.
Q: Once my dog is ready for training, how do I introduce the harness?
A: Put the harness on the dog, and play with him or her! This will male the dog feel as if he or she has something to do with playing or fun. Walk with the dog while he or she is wearing the harness. Make sure you also praise the dog to let it know weight pulling is a good thing!
– Keeping it Bully