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HOW TO: Training your dog to pull for kick-sledding or ski-joring

Posted on December 19 2016

Training Tips for teaching your dog how to pull you on a kick-sled, toboggan, roller blades, skateboard or ski-joring.

 

STEP 1- Finding and selecting an appropriate pulling harness for your dog. 

Look for a dog harness designed specifically for pulling, the harness should have padding around the neck and chest. The traditional dog pulling the X-Back Harness (shown below) is a great option for dogs 40-120lbs.  Looking for something with more versatility than check out the CE Ultimate Pulling Harness it is designed for dogs 15lbs & up.  

On its own, the Ultimate Pulling Harness (see photo below) works great with a bicycle attachment, or you can pull a wagon with two ganglines( called traces), OR add the Bungee Coupler and the harness transforms into an X-Back style harness. 

 Ultimate Dog Pulling Harness

STEP 2 - Getting your dog used to having something & someone following behind him (2 people needed, dog, harness, and gangline)

One person is at the end of the gangline that connects to the dogs pulling harness, they put light pressure on the line and the other person has the dog on leash encouraging the dog to move forward with cookies and verbal praise.  Once your dog is moving forward without hesitation move on to step 2.
This is a great the time to start introducing command words. You should choose words that come naturally to you. You can start introducing these commands during your regular walks. 

 

HIKE = GO
WHOA = STOP
GEE = RIGHT
HAW = LEFT
TIGHTEN UP = GANGLINE TIGHT
ON BY = PASS/IGNORE DOG ON TRAIL
SAY HI = ALLOW DOG TO MEET ON TRAIL

 

STEP 3 - Moving forward without the use of the leash (2 people, dog, harness, gangline & sled

Once the dog has gotten used to having weight on their line & someone behind them (this is easier for some dogs than others) that you can remove the leash, hook up the sled or toboggan etc and have the cookie person run in front of the dog encouraging the dog to pull forward. 

It is important to keep control of what the dog is pulling at all times while training. If your dog is running pulling a sled or toboggan and stops or slows down the sled can slam into the dog cause injury or startle the dog which could lead to a set back in training. 

 

STEP 4 - Going SOLO 

The next step to train your dog to pull is to remove the cookie person and use your voice commands or a "prize" to encourage the dog to pull forward.  

Find a nice narrow trail to help your dog stay on the path. If your dog still isn't pulling you can walk him away from a "prize" (your car/ your house/other dog/favourite toy) and have him run toward his prize.

 

 

Be patient. Pulling comes more naturally to some dogs so have realistic expectations and most importantly KEEP IT FUN.  Chances are if you're not having fun your dog probably isn't either.

 

 

WANT MORE HELP?

We host dog pulling lessons with Snow Motion Winter Sports Club of Manitoba several times a winter.  Or you can stop by the store for more tips, get a harness fitted, check out our kick sleds and other dog pulling equipment. 

 

 

 

HAPPY TRAILS 

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