By Debi Pruznick
"Nina" owned by Dan and Belva Plosila
In addition to having simply having a great time and bonding with your Samoyed, weight pulling is a fantastic way to promote and showcase the working heritage of the breed. This sport, which has been around for many years, has grown tremendously in recent years. In addition to the annual weight pull event hosted by the Samoyed Club of America (SCA), there are several other organizations such as the International Weight Pull Association (IWPA), the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA), and more recently, the United Kennel Club (UKC) all of whom welcome Samoyeds to participate in their sanctioned weight pull events.
Not only are there several organizations to choose from, but there are also different types of surfaces to pull on, each with their own set of unique challenges for you and your Samoyed to enjoy. Most organizations offer wheel and snow pulls, however UKC also offers rail pulls, which are rather similar to many of the AMCA wheeled pulls with respect to the fact that they too, permit the cart to ride upon a different surface than that which the dog is pulling on.
"Trek" owned by Jeff Bott
Many Samoyed owners need only to take their beloved dog for a walk before quickly realizing that Samoyeds DO love to pull. While some owners may fear that by teaching or encouraging their dog to pull they will create ‘bad habits’, let me assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth! By giving your Samoyed an outlet, such as a proper time and place when he is permitted to pull—he or she can quickly learn when pulling is appropriate and when it is not.
While some owners may fear weight pulling will cause injuries to their beloved Samoyed, rest assured, the safety of the dog is always of paramount concern. The rules and regulations of the sport were written first and foremost, to ensure the safety of the dog while affording the best possible conditions for the dogs to compete under.
"Leah" owned by Robin Clark
Every dog that is structurally and mentally sound can reap great benefits from the sport of weight pulling. Physically, weight pulling not only encourages muscular development, but also increases bone density, ligament and tendon strength, as well as cardiovascular strength. While Weight Pulling may appear to be limited to a display of physical strength, it is every bit as much of a workout with respect mental conditioning of the dog as well. Mentally, weight pulling challenges the dog’s ability to maintain and sustain focused attention, in order to complete the task at hand.
The only equipment you will need to participate in weight pull is a good quality weight pulling harness; a sledding harness or walking harness is not a suitable substitution! Weight pull harnesses are designed for the comfort and safety of the dog. These harnesses are significantly heavier in substance than a typical sledding harness and it will also have a spreader bar in the back to disperse the weight more evenly. A good harness—a good dog, and you’re off to a good start in the wonderful world of weight pull! Check out Harnesses By Carol, PullDoggies.com or Melissa Kehler for harnesses.
|Weight Pull Terms:|
|Track or Chute||A rectangular area at least 10 feet wide and 35 feet long, consisting of the 16 feet between the start line and the finish line, the additional area required behind the start line where the competing dog and the weight vehicle stand prior to the start of the pull, and the additional area required beyond the finish line where the competing dog and handler stand when the pull is complete.|
|Hike, Dig, Work or Pull||Commonly used commands an owner might choose to use to encourage the dog to pull. You will want to be consistent in the use of the command you choose, however it is trainer’s preference as to which word is used.|
|Up||Pretty self explanatory, it’s your turn--you should be in the chute.|
|On Deck||You are in the On Deck Circle, you will be ‘Up’ as soon as the dog in the chute completes or fails to complete his turn.|
|In the Hole||You should be ready to proceed to the On Deck Circle, ie, you’re third in line.|
|Round||One cycle of competition in the weight pull contest, where each eligible dog gets an opportunity to pull the current weight level. Once the weight level increases, a new ‘round’ begins.|
|Pass||Skip a round. Example, a handler will preface the term with the dog’s name to advise the recorder that ‘Sammy Passes’.|
|False Start||The dog started to pull before the handler was in position behind the finish line.|
|Foul||Applies to UKC pulls, does not apply to SCA, AMCA or IWPA. Something occurred to interrupt the pull. You can intentionally or unintentionally ‘foul’ a dog.|
|Tangle||Something is interfering with the harness, the tug line or the cart/sled. Example, the tug line may have wrapped around the dog’s leg, the dog may have stepped out of the harness and is unable to step back in or the sled may have gotten caught up on the fencing.|
|Natural Surface||A more refined designation for the type of track. The main purpose for differentiating natural from artificial surfaces is due to tabulating records. Generally speaking, it is an unfair advantage to compare a competition held on a natural surface to that of an artificial one; consequently, they have defined a separate classification for each. Examples of natural surfaces would be Dirt, Snow or Grass|
|Artificial Surface||A more refined designation for the type of track. The main purpose for differentiating natural from artificial surfaces is due to tabulating records. Generally speaking, it is an unfair advantage to compare a competition held on a natural surface to that of an artificial one; consequently, they have defined a separate classification for each. Examples of artificial surfaces would be Ice Shavings, Ice Arenas or Carpet.|
|Time||Term used by the Judge to indicate to the handler and the recorder that the allotted time has expired. This term may also be used by the handler to inquire as to what the current ‘time’ is. Also used as a tie-breaker; if two dogs are eliminated in the same round, the class placement is then decided in favor of the dog that completed the pull in the fastest time. Example—‘Sammy has you on ‘time’’.|
|Percentage||The total amount of weight pulled, divided by the dog’s body weight. This term may also be used by the handler to inquire as to what the current ‘percentage’ is. In UKC pulls using Format B, class placements are determined by percentage. Example—‘Sammy has you on ‘percentage’’. Percentages are also used to accrue points towards titles. Example--- ‘Did you make percentage?’|
|Holding Area||A designated area provided by the organizer/judge with sufficient space to safely hold all dogs entered in the weight pull.|