The Alaskan Malamute is by nature and conformation a draft animal. His very size and weight lend to heavy pulling. The sport of weight pulling is popular, because it can be practiced at home in the back yard or urban park, it is something even the one-dog owner can participate in.
Weight pull competitions consist of a dog pulling a given weight a given distance in a set amount of time. Weights are increased for each round, with dogs dropping out when they fail to make the pull. The competitions are divided into weight classes. There are several sets of weight pull rules used, the most common being those of the International Weight Pull Association (IWPA) and those of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America (AMCA). These rules now call for a dog to pull a load a distance of 16 feet in one minute and give you the option of calling the dog from the far side of the finish line or driving the dog from a position behind the dog. Weight pulling may be done with sleds or carts. Rules do change from time to time so it is best to become familiar with the rules before you enter a competition.
You may begin training for weight pulling when your dog is six months old; however, most competitions require that dogs be a year old to participate. Basic obedience training is helpful before getting started because the dog will have learned some basic commands such as stay and come. Start out with light weights on snow, dirt or grass. Make sure the harness is properly fitted and that the weight you are using does not make a lot of noise or that it is not so light that it might hit the dog should the dog spook and start running. A small tire makes a good weight to start with.
Weight Pull Dog
A dog must qualify in 4 separate events. Dogs must be weighed before each event.
On natural surfaces such as snow or dirt the weight pulled must equal or exceed 8 times the dog’s weight.
On artificial surfaces such as concrete, carpet etc, the weight pulled must equal or exceed 12 times the dog’s weight.
ISDRA, AMCA or IWPA rules must be used in qualifying for a weight pull certificate.
Note: Effective Aug 22, 2014, UKC weight pulls will no longer be accepted for WWPD certification. Legs earned (except for rail pulls) prior to that date will still be accepted; however, legs earned from that date forward will not be accepted. Click HERE for more information.
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