Carting Course Description
Learn to teach your dog to pull a cart. Carting is a sport open to all breeds of dogs, including mixed-breeds, by several clubs. Pulling carts to help transport items was a task that many dogs were — and still are — trained to do to help around farms. Dogs like to pull – and this gives them an acceptable way to exercise their right to do so! Carts of many different sizes will be provided - dogs of all sizes are welcome!
Harnesses - Siwash Harness
Dino is the first All-American Dog to earn a carting title. Most clubs open their carting events to all breeds, including mixed-breeds. Wooden cart with weight pole Four-wheel wagon Wooden cart with wooden shafts Siwash: (pronounced like SI-wash) This type of harness has a padded “V” that crosses from the shoulders down to the front chest and then back down to underneath the dog. This provides a lot of freedom of movement for their legs and comfort for dogs pulling weight. This is also the common style of weight pull harnesses; however the Siwash harness will stop at the waist of the dog and then be connected to the cart by individual traces or straps. The harness is custom fitted to the dog and should have multiple buckles or snaps where a proper fit can be adjusted, and then the extra strap can be trimmed off once the size is determined.
Buckle - Carts
This type of harness has a type of thick “band” that comes across the chest of the dog from side to side, instead of in a “V” from top to bottom. It is usually a more decorative type of harness and is also called a “parade” harness since they tend to be used more for decoration and to pull a light cart without any weights.
All harnesses will connect to the cart through two ways: once to the shafts on each side of the dog and then by the tracers that connect to the front of the cart. Shafts are the bars that run alongside the dog, just past the shoulders and connect to the cart. They can be metal or wooden and are sized to fit the dog exactly. The shafts, usually connected by pins and screws, can be removed from the cart for easy packing.
On the shafts are “brakes.” Brakes are pieces that stop the harness from sliding up and down on the shaft, which is especially important when going up and down hills and carrying heavy weights. They are individually adjusted to the dog depending on where his shoulders meet the shafts and how long the dog is in proportion to the cart.
Tracers are the lines or straps that run from each side of the harness at the dog’s waist to the front of the cart. These should be individually adjusted to the dog and the harness and the cart. The connection of the traces to the cart is usually a piece of long wood, connected to the cart by an eyebolt, which moves freely side to side as the dog moves side to side inside the shafts. This piece literally moves as the dog moves.
There is so much variation in carts, even just for tests. There is an even wider assortment if somebody wanted to do more fancy events like parades. Many times four wheeled wagons are used more for parades and informal work around a ranch, since they are less maneuverable, heavier and sturdier than two-wheeled carts, which are less weight for tests.
For tests, generally two-wheeled carts are used since they are lighter and easier to move on less agreeable surfaces like grass, gravel or dirt. Carts can be handmade or come from a professional cart creator. As long as they are able to perform in the test and adequately carry the necessary weight and maneuver, they can be used. Since the cart’s weight will be in addition to the weight required to pull in the test, which is set inside the cart, most people try to get a lighter weight cart so it does not add to the weight the dog must pull in the test. For example, Dino has to pull between 20 and 40 pounds in a test, so I found a super lightweight plastic cart that only weighs 18 pounds. Plus, the cart is full collapsible and can be easily moved in my car.