OC, Sledding? Training?

Roxy's CD

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
3,016
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Ontario, Canada
#1
With winter time acoming, and my little team I've got combining my two dogs with Brutus, I thought it would be neat to maybe try some pulling in the snow! Nothing too serious, perhaps not even me (I'm probably too darn fat, maybe my niece and nephew)

I'm kind of unsure of the harness...

Our old dog Smokey, had a harness that worked great, my dad threw it out after he died, couldn't stand looking at it anymore. It was quite simple.

Fur lined in the front. A cinch behind the dogs elbows, two large D rings on either side, and a small one on top.

The man I spoke with at the store actually makes the harness'. He had one at the store, that had no buckles, and it slipped over their head. A piece of dowling at the back with one ring to clip onto whatever your pulling.

Do I just hook them up (I'll start with just my two) and lead them to start? To get used to working side by side and pulling the weight?

As I said, nothing serious, I just thought it would be something neat to do in the wintertime.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
5,634
Likes
0
Points
0
Age
33
Location
Ontario, Canada
#2
Oh man I was writing a big long reply to this and then my computer acted up and I lost all of it!!! Uf! I''ll re-write it later on for you when I''ve got more time. In the mean time take a look at this link, it''s an article I wrote up a while ago regarding the equipment required for dogsledding. I know the harness you are talking about, I just bought one for my bf's AB but I find those harnesses are better for carting or doing some pulling activity where the tug line is attached higher up then the dog's back...not so much for dogsledding. Like I mention in the article, I prefer x-back harnesses which kinda sounds like you are describing as the second harness.

http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18901&highlight=equipment+for+dogsledding
 

Roxy's CD

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
3,016
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Ontario, Canada
#3
That's exactly it! Same colour too ironically enough! LOL

No buckles, no rings, just slip it on, the only difference is there was a piece of wood, almost 2 feet long at the end, than the ring.

I was thinking since I was going to have two dogs, maybe even three, that the first harness would be better so I could clip them together? But no?

OK, so that's the harness I should get, boy are they going to look at me funny when I go and change the order again! LOL

Thanks Ren :)
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
5,634
Likes
0
Points
0
Age
33
Location
Ontario, Canada
#4
No problem! The 2ft piece of wood at the end is called a spreader bar the idea is that it will evenly distribute the pull force of the dog instead of tapering it down to a point but it hasn''t been used often enough in the sledding world to prove whether it actually has advantages over the traditional set up. However in weight pull (a much shorter distance obviously and a greater pull) it is of high advantage to have a spreader bar and most harnesses come with one. A typical weight pull harness looks like an over-sized x-back harness with a ton of sheeps wool for padding and then of course the spreader bar at the back. MAke sure you aren''t accidently getting a weight pull harness ;) These tend to not work well for sledding because its so much material draped all over the dog along with other reasons.
 

Roxy's CD

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
3,016
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Ontario, Canada
#5
No, this harness had the same kind of, almost rubber like material. It's not furry, but it's soft. Kind of hard to explain. There wasn't much of it though, that's what kind of worried me! LOL

So say, I got the harness that is quite similar to yours. I don't connect ROxy and Hades together? I just link them both to whatever their pulling? So, they don't pull "together" per se?
 

~Tucker&Me~

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
4,940
Likes
0
Points
36
#6
What a cool idea!

I would LOVE to teach Tucker to pull a cart (a small one on wheels :)).

The only thing is he's scared of them *rolls eyes*

LOL

We don't get enough snow here to get a sled going, but maybe I'll give carting a go again.

~Tucker
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
5,634
Likes
0
Points
0
Age
33
Location
Ontario, Canada
#7
I know the padding you are talking about, I''ve seen it before. I think for your less-furry dogs if you can find padding that is similar to sheepswool or something soft like that it would be better than the rubber stuff. Yes the rubber stuff is squishy which works well for furry dogs, but I wonder about the rubber rubbing what little fur your short coated dogs have away??? The sheepswool or other soft material would be gentler on them... My harness there is only soft material around the neck, on the chest and under the arm pits. That''s all that is really necessary but both very important!! Especially under the armpits where there is so little fur to start with.

If you look at the two-dog set up I have posted in the article you can see that the two lead dogs are attached to eachother via a neckline that connects to each one's collar. I have to keep my necklines short because my boys run very close together so if the neckline is too long their front legs get tangled in it. They run so close that their shoulders frequenly bump. Ronan and Lacey run very close together too.

I''ll try to get the training stuff retyped tonight for you!
 

Roxy's CD

Active Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
3,016
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Ontario, Canada
#8
Yeah, about the padding, I thought the same thing. With a furry dog I'm sure their great, but on a short haired dog, I imagine it may rub a bit.

I'm sure I can get the guy to make this "X" harness with furry stuff on it though!

So should I attached Roxy and Hades by a neckline?

I think I've decided I'm just going to work with the two of them for now.

I'd appreciate it Ren! It's snowing here tonight, so I'm getting a bit antsy! LOL
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
5,634
Likes
0
Points
0
Age
33
Location
Ontario, Canada
#9
Alright so I didn''t get it posted THAT NIGH but I will NOW hehe sorry been a bit busy and got some drama going on around my house its been a joy to say the least :D

Ok so first things first, commands. The six most important commands IMO would be

Hike/Lets Go! - to start the team or to get them going faster
Easy - Slow the team down
Whoa - Stop
Haw - Turn Left
Gee - Turn right
On-by - keep going past something distracting like another dog, person, deer w/e

I find the easiest way to teach these is to use them while on daily walks where your dog is under your complete control in a very distracting environment and you have plenty of trails (sidewalks) to use. You can also make the dog follow the command by reinforcing it with the leash (EX when you say "Gee" guide the dog to the right with the leash).

As soon as you get the harness have your dog start wearing it and praise them for not trying to chew it off. This is very important, anytime your dog is wearing the harness and you decide to go out for a walk or something ENCOURAGE THE DOG TO BE IN FRONT OF YOU preferably with some tension on the leash even if the leash is attached to the dog''s collar rather than the harness. I NEVER use the heel command or ask for any slack on the leash when a harness is on my boys because I don''t want them to get confused. simply put harness=pulling collar only=slack leash (ideally at least LOL).

Once the dogs are comfortable with their harnesses hook them up to a small tire or piece of wood. Remember that at this point you are still working on one at a time so one doesn''t teach the other any bad habits and so you can focus on each one to really define and shape their commands. The small tire helps the dog get used to having something dragging behind them and the whole act of pulling in general. At this time it is very important that you stay behind the dog!! The dog should not get used to you walking along beside them or else they wont understand when it is time for you to be on the sled. If you need to though keep a long line attached to the dog's collar so you can still control it and reinforce any commands you may give. If the dog is really uncomfortable about you being behind it try tossing a toy ahead of the dog or having someone else stand in front of the dog and call him to them. Anything to get the dog moving with you staying behind him. When the dog starts moving forward use the command that you want to get them going (I use Hike or Lets Go) and keep saying "Good Hike!" or "Good Lets Go!"

Over time increase the weight and distance that the dog needs to pull before you stop and praise. Maybe move up to getting them to pull a small wagon with weights inside. At the end of each training session i always give a food reward to keep things positive. I provide baited water (hot dog weiners chopped up in tiny little pieces and put into the water before the training session begins so by the end the water itself tastes like hot dog too which will encourage the dog to drink so they stay hydrated) as well as chunks of hot dog or meat or anything that the dogs really really like.

Once you have one dog that it pulling well consistantly (this inculdes pulling smoothly and pulling quickly) and follows the commands consistantly its time to hook them up together. Do a couple sessions with the tire just so they realize that the rules are the same even though they are together and then move on to the sled. If you still need a person to call them that''s alright, just keep increasing the distance and slowly put the other person out of view so they get weaned off having a person call them and react only to you saying "hike!"

Now that you have two reliable sledd dogs adding any more to your team will be a breeze! All you have to do is put your two reliable dogs in lead and the new dog in wheel and he will figure it all out from experience. Honestly nothing teaches a green dog better than simply hooking him up with an experienced team. BUT sometimes it''s hard to find an experienced team to run with, we all have to start somewhere ;)

Oh ya I think this is common sense but one should make sure any green dog being added is at least used to his harness and pulling the tire. You can skip teaching commands and lengthening the distance of pulling the tire though. If you do want him to eventually be a lead dog and reliable with commands simply pair him with the better of your two lead dogs and again he will learn with experience. To strengthen commands you can hook him up to a scooter or a bike during non-snowy seasons (providing it is not too hot) and work with him one-on-one.

BTW both Roxy and Hades should be able to pull you on their own so together wouldn''t be a problem at all. It''s simply a matter of whether or not they WANT to pull. Hades especially, being a pit bull, packs a lot of power and Roxy has size on her side too. Ronan at roughly 50-55Lbs (haven''t weighed him in a long time) can pull upwards of 500Lbs without a problem. Granted I would never ask him to pull that much weight very far. I weigh around 150-160Lbs and each boy can pull me no problem. We may not go very fast but add the two together and we fly!

Good luck! If you have any more questions feel free to ask!
 

Members online

No members online now.
Top