Glossary Terms discussed on this page.
Dog agility is a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. Consequently the handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.
In its simplest form, an agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles, laid out by an agility judge in a design of his or her own choosing on a roughly 100 by 100-foot (30 by 30 m) area, with numbers indicating the order in which the dog must complete the obstacles.
Courses are complicated enough that a dog could not complete them correctly without human direction. In competition, the handler must assess the course, decide on handling strategies, and direct the dog through the course, with precision and speed equally important. Many strategies exist to compensate for the inherent difference in human and dog speeds and the strengths and weaknesses of the various dogs and handlers.
Bikejoring, is a dog mushing activity related to skijoring, canicross, and dog scootering. It is a recreation or sport where a harnessed dog or team of dogs attached to a towline, pull and run ahead of a cyclist. Bikejoring is a non snow season (dryland) activity. Bikejoring and canicross are both dryland mushing activities that probably developed from skijoring and dogsled racing. Bikejoring is also sometimes used to train racing sled-dogs out of season.
Although any breed (or non-breed) of dog can be used, American Pit Bulls, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Alaskan Huskies, Sled Hounds and Pointers are probably the most popular breeds for bikejoring. However, any type of dog that can be taught to pull, run, and to accept a few lead dog commands can be used to bikejor. Bikejoring and dog scootering are activities that can be beneficial to the health and fitness of dogs. It can be used to provide dogs with work and exercise, without letting them run off leash and endangering wild-life or livestock.
Although often practiced as a dog exercising recreation, in some parts of the World, dog sporting organizations and mushers (people who train dogs to pull - mushing) provide bikejor and dog-scooter racing classes at their competitive dryland sled-dog rallies and events. These competitive bikejor classes often run alongside other classes for canicross and dryland rig racing. In most cases, the competitors are started off separately on a timer, to avoid tangles and collisions.
The dog or dogs are fitted with harnesses suitable for pulling and running in, such as x-back harnesses. The harnesses are normally attached to a gang line (if more than one dog is being used), and a bungee towline, which clips to the front of the bicycle. Many bikejorers use bayonets, antennas, or plastic pipes to suspend the towline above the front wheel, and to prevent it from tangling between the wheel and forks. If two dogs are employed on a gang line, they are sometimes also attached to each other by a neckline between their collars. Bikejoring can be fun but has its dangers. The dogs may be distracted by wild-life.
Canicross is the term used to describe the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originated in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe, especially in the UK. Canicross is closely related to bikejorring, where participants cycle with their dog and skijoring, where participants ski rather than run.
Canicross can be run with one or two dogs, always attached to the runner. The runner typically wears a waist belt, the dog a harness, and the two are joined by a bungee cord or elastic line that reduces shock to both human and dog when the dog pulls.
Originally canicross dogs were of sledding or spitz types such as the husky or malamute but now all breeds have begun taking part including cross breeds, small terrier breeds to large breeds such as rottweilers and standard poodles. Not only can all breeds run but people of all ages and abilities can take part. Including children and the disabled such as the visually impaired. Some breeds are very well suited to not only running and pulling but running at steady pace over a long distance. Cani-cross is now not only a great way for the runner to keep fit, but great for the dogs too. It encourages people and their dogs to take part in outdoor activity and meet other like minded individuals.
For competition and pleasure, 2 or 4-wheeled carts are pulled by dogs of many breeds -- from small Norwich Terriers, to large St. Bernards. A good website with information about carting is www.berner.org. Berners are one of the many kinds of dogs that enjoy carting. For seminars and more info, you can write to Lisa Ebnet.
Carting is a dog sport or activity in which a dog (usually a large breed) pulls a Dogcart filled with supplies, such as farm goods or firewood, but sometimes pulling people. Carting as a sport is also known as dryland mushing and is practiced all around the world, often to keep winter sled dogs in competition form during the off-season. (Note that the term "dogcart" is primarily used to mean a particular type of light horse-drawn vehicle.)
Conformation shows, also referred to as breed shows, are a kind of dog show in which a judge familiar with a specific dog breed evaluates individual purebred dogs for how well the dogs conform to the established breed type for their breed, as described in a breed's individual breed standard.
This handler prepares a Silky Terrier to be presented.
A conformation dog show is not a comparison of one dog to another but a comparison of each dog to a judge's mental image of the ideal breed type as outlined in the individual breed's breed standard. Dog show judges attempt to identify dogs who epitomize the published standards for each breed. This can be challenging, because some judgements must necessarily be subjective. As an example, what exactly entails a "full coat" or a "cheerful attitude", descriptions found in breed standards, can only be learned through experience with the breed that has that particular requirement.
Judges are generally certified to judge one or several breeds, usually in the same Group but a few "All-Breed" judges, have the training and experience to judge large numbers of breeds.
The first modern conformation dog show was held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in June 1859, and the only breeds scheduled were pointers and setters.
Disc dog is the more generic name for what is commonly called Frisbee dog. In disc dog competitions, dogs and their human disc throwers compete in events such as distance catching and somewhat choreographed freestyle catching. The sport celebrates the bond between handler and dog, by allowing them to work together. The term "disc" is preferred because "Frisbee" is a trademark (held by Wham-O) for a brand of flying disc.
Dock jumping is a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.
A team consists of one dog, of any type or size, or age, and usually one handler. Dogs must be over 6 months of age to compete. Handlers may use a toy, also known as the chase object. The dogs are not required to chase or retrieve the toy.
The dock is usually 40 feet (12 m) long by 8 feet (2.4 m) wide and 24 inches (61 cm) above the water surface but may differ depending on the sanctioning organization. Any body of water or pool that is at least 4 feet (1.2 m) deep can be used. The dock is covered in turf-type carpet for better traction and safety for the competitors. The handler may use any amount of the dock and they may start their dog from any point on the dock when competing.
Dog scootering is a sport where one or more dogs pull a human riding an unmotorized kick scooter. It is similar to mushing, which is done in the winter, but generally with fewer dogs and with a scooter instead of a dogsled. The dogs wear the same harnesses that sled dogs wear, and are hooked to the scooter with a gangline. The gangline usually incorporates a bungie to smooth out the shocks of speeding up and takeoff. Most of the same commands are used, although dog scooterers tend to be more relaxed about their commands, sometimes using "right" and "left" instead of "gee" and "haw", for example.
The scooter is generally unmotorized, and has mountain-bike-style tires ranging from 16" to 26". These are not razor-type scooters, which would be dangerous in this sport. The scooters incorporate mountain-bike-style brakes and have a large footboard to stand on and kick off from. The scooters are occasionally called kick bikes because they are not yet largely marketed for the sport of dog scootering, although Pawtrekkers have a 'brushbow' attachment on the front to protect the dogs from the wheel and to provide an ideal pulling position for connecting the ganglines. Some of the newer scooters also incorporate front shocks similar to mountain bikes to absorb bumps better.
An earthdog trial tests the working ability and instinct of the small, short legged terriers. These dogs were bred to hunt vermin and other quarry which lived in underground dens. Earthdog den trials involve man-made underground tunnels that the dogs must negotiate, while scenting a rat, the "quarry." The dog must follow the scent to the quarry and then "work" the quarry. Depending on the sanctioning organization, “working” means barking, scratching, staring, pawing, digging; any active behavior. The quarry is protected at all times by wooden bars across the end of the tunnel. The hunting encounter is controlled, and neither dog nor the quarry, usually two rats, are in any danger.
A field trial is a competitive event at which hunting dogs compete against one another. There are field trials for retrievers, pointing dogs and flushing dogs. Field trials are usually organized by kennel clubs or other gun dog organizations. Field trials are generally considered more competitive than hunt tests in that success at a field trial requires a higher level of training than success at a hunt test requires. For example, in Retriever Field Trials, dogs retrieve over longer distances with a more complex path than a Retriever Hunt Test would generally provide. Field trial dogs must be "finished" in order to enter. Their purpose is also different, as they exist mainly for breeders, while hunting tests are made for users.
The term is confusing as it means different things to different breed organizations. Spaniel field trials demand that dogs compete against one another, whereas retriever field trials are more similar to hunt tests among other breeds. In most hunt tests, on the other hand, dogs are evaluated against a written standard and all of the dogs in the hunt test may qualify if they meet the standard. To further complicate the issue, various kennel organizations have differing definitions of field trial.
Field trials come in various grades including Open, Amateur, Sanctioned and non-sanctioned. An Open field trial permits entry from any handler or trainer while an Amateur trial only permits non-professional handlers/trainers. Sanctioned trials are ones that are held under the control of a national kennel club or organization, while the non-sanctioned can be organized by a local club.
Flyball races match two teams of four dogs each, racing side-by-side over a 51 foot long course. Each dog must run in relay fashion down the jumps, trigger a flyball box, releasing the ball, retrieve the ball, and return over the jumps. The next dog is released to run the course but can't cross the start/finish line until the previous dog has returned over all 4 jumps and reached the start/finish line. The first team to have all 4 dogs finish the course without error wins the heat.
For more information, you can visit North American Flyball Association.
See Weight Pulling
French Ring Sport
French Ring Sport is a dog sport involving jumps, obedience, and bite work. It is most similar to Belgian Ring, Campagne and KNPV, but also sharing common elements with Schutzhund and Mondio Ring. French Ring Sport rules are set by Groupe Travail Ring under the mandate of Commission D'utilisation Nationale Chiens de Berger et de Garde, a committee run under the patronage of the Société Centrale Canine.
To participate in French Ring Sport, a dog must first pass the Certificat de Sociabilité et d’Aptitude à l’Utilisation (Certificate of Sociability and Aptitude for Work)temperament test. French Ring Sport defines three earned titles, after earning a Brevet(Certificate) for Dogs of defense; Ring I, Ring II and Ring III. Each introduces progressively more difficult situations and makes greater demands from the dog. The trial is divided into three sections: Jumps, Breaking in exercises of obedience,and protection.
When competing in Ring, the dog has no collar or leash on at any time except during the heel on leash. No food rewards or physical corrections are allowed at any time while competing. Also, excessive praise or petting will result in a loss of general outlook points. Points for an exercise will be lost for multiple commands, incorrect commands, or failure of the dog or handler to perform the exercise correctly. Control is emphasized from the moment the dog/handler team walks onto the field, until they leave at the end.
Ring Sport consists of a number of exercises. A dog that has been trained for Ring III level of competition will be able to do the following.
* Heel on a leash: in a pattern determined by the judge with multiple stops and starts, left and right turns
* Heel with muzzle: heeling off leash while the dog wears a muzzle in a pattern determined by the judge with multiple stops and starts, left and right turns
* Long sit/down: done with the handler out of sight, the dog stays in a pre-drawn position 1 min.
* Food refusal: dog is thrown 4 pieces of food (usually meat or cheese) while on a down stay with the handler out of sight. Dog must not eat the food, and if it is "accidentally" thrown into dogs mouth, he must immediately spit it out. The field is also baited with 6 pieces of food, in strategic locations (i.e. by blinds, jumps, area dog runs over during send away, etc.)
* High Jump: dog jumps a hurdle on command, then does a return jump on command and comes to a heel position by the handler, minimum hurdle height 0.9m for 8 pts (1m = 39.37in)
* Palisade: dog jumps and climbs over a wooden wall, minimum height 1.7m, then does a return jump and returns to handler
* Long Jump: dog jumps a pvc/metal "key" long jump on the ground, minimum length 3m
* Positions: the dog is told to sit, stand and down in a pre-drawn order. the handler is 18m away. points are lost for creeping forward during the positions, or failure to perform a position
* Thrown Retrieves: the handler throws the item at least 5m, on command the dog retrieves the item and presents it to the handler. the retrieve object can be any object such as a glove, wallet, rolled up sock, glasses case, etc.
* Unseen Retrieve: handler and dog are heeling, handler drops the object on the opposite side from the dog, a similar object is placed next to the retrieve object, at a signal dog and handler turn around, and dog is sent to retrieve the object. points lost for mouthing object, 0 points if dog retrieves wrong object
* Seen Retrieve: the handler drops the object on the same side as the dog and the dog immediately picks it up, runs completely in front of the handler who then stops walking, then dog returns the object to the handler
* Send Away: the dog is told to run in a straight line away from the handler until called, then it returns to the handler
* Face Attack: the dog is told to attack a decoy who is facing him about 40m away behaving in a menacing fashion, with out/recall
* Fleeing Attack: the dog is told to attack a decoy who is running away, with out/recall after the bite/fight
* Defense of Handler: handler, dog and decoy approach each other and have a short conversation, then continue walking. the decoy turns around and comes up behind the handler, and as soon as the decoy "attacks" (obvious "hit" on handler) the handler, the dog bites the decoy. After the dog is told to out, he guards the decoy until recalled. the dog must stay with the handler until the attack, most dogs are taught to heel facing backwards for this exercise
* Attack with Gun: the dog attacks a decoy who is firing a gun, twice during the attack, and once after the bite. After the bite/fight, the decoy freezes, the dog lets go and guards the decoy. The decoy tries to escape twice, the dog bites each time, then the handler disarms the decoy and heels the dog away.
* Search, Hold, and Bark with Escort: The dog finds the decoy who is hidden in one of six blinds, and barks to indicate the decoy has been found. The decoy attempts to escape, while firing a gun, and the dog stops the decoy by biting. The decoy attempts another escape and fires the gun, dog stops decoy by biting. Handler outs dog, then disarms the decoy and retreats at least 3m. The dog escorts the decoy to a designated spot, preventing two more escape attempts by biting. The dog has no set pattern to run the blinds in as long as he finds the decoy in the allotted time.
* Stopped Attack: This is done exactly like the face attack, with the decoy acting menacing and the dog being told to attack. When the dog is 1 to 4m away, the handler calls the dog who returns to the handler without biting the decoy. Points are based on the distance from the decoy when the dog is recalled, with 0 points if the dog bites. the handler must behave in every way exactly the same up until the recall command for the call off and face attack (EX sneeze during one, you better for the other)
* Guard of Object: the dog is told to guard an object, and the handler goes to a place out of sight. The handler does not participate in any way again, until it is time to retrieve his dog. The decoy tries three times to steal the object, and the dog stops the decoy each time by biting. as soon as the dog bites, the decoy must freeze for 5 seconds, however if the dog lets go then rebites, the decoy can begin to move. As soon as the decoy begins to move away from the object, the dog lets go to remain close to the object he is guarding. Points are lost for biting to soon, allowing the decoy to move or completely steal the object, being dragged away from the object, etc.
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. The dogs chase a lure (traditionally an artificial hare or rabbit) on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner.
In many countries, greyhound racing is purely amateur and conducted for enjoyment. In other countries (particularly the UK, US, Ireland, Australia, Spain, China and Mexico), greyhound racing is part of the gambling business, similar to although far less profitable than horse racing. There is some popular concern in the aforementioned countries regarding the well-being of the dogs; the effectiveness of industry efforts to address these concerns is a topic of some debate. A greyhound adoption movement has arisen to assist retired racing dogs in finding homes as pets.
Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. While the layperson uses the term "herding", most individuals involved in the process term it mustering, "working stock" or droving.
Herding can be performed by people or trained animals such as herding dogs. Some animals instinctively gather together as a herd while some predators, such as wolves and dogs have instinctive herding abilities.
Herding is used in agriculture to manage domesticated animals. The people whose occupation it is to herd or control animals often have herd added to the name of the animal they are herding to describe their occupation (shepherd, goatherd, cowherd). These -herds may use dogs to assist them and a competitive sport has developed in some countries where the combined skill of man and dog is tested and judged in a Trial. Animals such as sheep, camel, yak and goats are mostly reared. They provide milk, meat and other products to the herders and their families.
Lure coursing is a humane sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. Competition is usually limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds.
In lure coursing, dogs chase an artificial lure across a field, following a pattern that is meant to simulate live coursing. A typical lure course is between 600 and 1000 yards (548 to 914 meters) long. In Europe the course length can be over 1000 meters, and may incorporate some obstacles or jumps. The course must have a minimum number of turns in order to simulate prey (the jack-rabbit or hare) changing direction in a chase. The fields can be fenced or not. If a dog is lure focused they will typically follow the lure from start to finish and not run off course. Dogs with some considerable lure experience, termed "lure-wise", may try to anticipate or "cheat" by attempting to cut off the lure instead of trying to capture the lure using follow, speed and agility. Sighthounds generally have no need to be trained or enticed to chase the lure since the desire to chase is instinctual. However some breeds may require lure play at a very early age to encourage them to follow an artificial object with enthusiasm. Dogs must be at least one year old to compete; the hard fast turns are tough on a dog's developing joints and lure coursing before the age of one can cause joint problems later in life.
Mushing is a general term for a sport or transport method powered by dogs, and includes carting, pulka, scootering, sled dog racing, skijoring, freighting, and weight pulling. More specifically, it implies the use of one or more dogs to pull a sled on snow. The term is thought to come from the French word marche, or go, run, the command to the team to commence pulling. "Mush!" is rarely used in modern parlance, however; "Hike!" is more common in English. Mushing can be utilitarian, recreational, or competitive.
Mushing as a sport is practiced worldwide, but primarily in North America and northern Europe. Racing associations such as the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) and the International Sled Dog Racing Association (ISDRA) are working toward organizing the sport and in gaining Olympic recognition for mushing. It is the state sport of Alaska.
Although dogsled racing gets more publicity and is seen now as the primary form of mushing, recreational mushing thrives as an unorganized sport providing healthy outdoor form of winter exercise for families.
Mushing for utilitarian purposes includes anything from hauling wood or delivering milk or the mail to rural travel and equipment hauling. Dogs have been replaced by snowmobiles in many places, but some trappers and other isolated users have gone back to sled dogs, finding them safer and more dependable in extreme weather conditions.
Obedience training usually refers to the training of a dog and the term is most commonly used in that context. Obedience training ranges from very basic training, such as teaching the dog to reliably respond to basic commands such as "sit", "down", "come", and "stay", to high level competition within clubs such as the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, where additional commands, accuracy and performance are scored and judged.
Obedience implies compliance with the direction or command given by the handler. For a dog to be considered obedient rather than simply trained in obedience, it must respond reliably each time the command is given, by what is commonly known as its handler. A dog can go through Obedience training and not be obedient. If a dog is referred to as being Obedience Trained it should comply immediately with every command its handler gives. In the strictest sense an Obedience trained dog is an obedient dog.
Training a dog in obedience can be an ongoing and lengthy process depending on the dog, the methods used, and the skill and understanding of both the trainer and the handler. The level of obedience the handler wishes to achieve with the dog is also a major factor in the time involved, as is the commitment to training by the handler.
Obedience training is often a prerequisite for or component of other training.
The actual training of the dog can be done by anyone, the trainer, owner, or a friend. Typically the individual who is caring for and living with the dog participates and trains the dog, as they will be the one who will be giving the commands. The relationship and trust between the dog and handler are important for success.
Basic or beginner's obedience is typically a short course ranging from six to ten weeks, where it is demonstrated to the handler how to communicate with and train the dog in a few simple commands. With most methods the dog is trained one command at a time. Though there may or may not be a specific word attached to it, walking properly on a leash, or leash control, is often the first training required prior to learning other commands
An obedience trial is a dog sport in which a dog must perfectly execute a predefined set of tasks when directed to do so by his handler. According the American Kennel Club (AKC) obedience regulations
The basic objective of obedience trials, however, is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience at all times and under all conditions.
Training a dog to participate in AKC obedience trials increases a dog's understanding and reliability in responding to commands such as "sit", "down", "stay", "come", and "heel." At a trial, the dog and handler will perform various predefined obedience exercises, which will be evaluated and scored by a judge. The dog must demonstrate basic proficiency in order to receive a passing score (170 points out of a possible 200, and at least 50% of the points allocated to each exercise). A handler may choose to train for higher degrees of accuracy and style in order to receive more points. For example, on a recall, to receive a perfect score the dog must come at a trot or run directly to the handler, without sniffing or veering to one side, and sit straight in front of the handler, not at an angle or off to one side or the other.
The dog and handler teams with the four highest scores in a given class will receive placement ribbons, and sometimes additional prizes. All dogs that receive a passing score earn a "leg" towards an obedience title. When a dog has accumulated the requisite number of legs for a given title, the AKC will issue a certificate to the dog's owner recognizing that accomplishment.
Obedience competition provides an opportunity for a person and a dog to work as a highly tuned team. Training for obedience trials can provide much needed mental stimulation and physical activity for a bored housepet, and provide a fun and challenging hobby for the dog's owner.
Protection sports are dog sports that test a dog's ability to protect himself and his handler. All protection sports test the complete temperament of the dog, not just his protectiveness. The dog must be safe for his handler and for the public. He must be able to control himself upon command. All protection sports are modeled to some extent on the way dogs are used in police work. The grandfather of all protection sports is the Belgian Ring. It's the oldest and one of the hardest defense-dogsports in the world and completely dominated by the Belgian Shepherd (Mechelaar/Malinois).
Rally obedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is a dog sport based on obedience. It was originally devised by Charles L. "Bud" Kramer from the obedience practice of "doodling" - doing a variety of interesting warmup and freestyle exercises.
Unlike regular obedience, instead of waiting for the judge's orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs during the course.
There are currently four sanctioning bodies for Rally-O in the United States: the American Kennel Club (AKC); the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT); and the newly formed Canine Work and Games (C-Wags). The United Kennel Club (UKC) added rally obedience to their program as of January 2009.
In AKC Rally, which is open to AKC breeds and mixed breed dogs registered in the AKC Canine Partners program, the team starts with 100 points, and the judge deducts points for mistakes. After qualifying three times under two different judges, the dog earns a title, which appears after the dog's registered name. Each qualifying trial earned is known as a "leg."
There are three levels in AKC Rally:
Additionally, there is the Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title, in which the team has to qualify in both Advanced and Excellent in 10 trials.
In APDT Rally-O, which is open to any dog and handler, the team starts with 200 points, and the judge deducts points for mistakes and adds bonus points that can be earned for optional exercises. There are three levels and there are additional titles for multiple qualifications at various levels. APDT Rally varies in some respects in the performance of some of the exercises and has some exercises, such as a retrieve, not seen in AKC rally. The most obvious difference between APDT and AKC rally is the ability to reward the dog with food in the ring under specific conditions in APDT rally.
UKC Rally follows a similar pattern as the AKC program. There are three levels of competition, three legs are required for a title, and there is an extended championship title. UKC rally is open to any dog and handler. The exercises in UKC rally vary slightly from the other organizations, mostly involving which exercises are in each level.
C-Wags is a relatively new organization that appears to be mainly in the Mid-west. It has added variations on rally courses, such as Zoom - which has no stationary signs, and requires 4 legs to title.
APDT also has some trials in Canada, and Canada also has Canadian Association of Rally Obedience (CARO) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Rally. CARO is similar in many respects to both AKC and APDT Rally, with the addition of some agility elements. CKC Rally began in early 2007 and is similar to AKC Rally.
A Sheepdog trial (also herding test or simply dog trial) is a competitive dog sport in which herding dog breeds move sheep around a field, fences, gates, or enclosures as directed by their handlers. Such events are particularly associated with hill farming areas, where sheep range widely on largely unfenced land. These trials are popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Chile, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and other farming nations.
Some venues allow only dogs of known herding breeds to compete; others allow any dog that has been trained to work stock.
Skijoring ('skē-jȯr-iŋ) is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving.
Skijoring with a dog is a sport in which a dog (or dogs), assist a cross-country skier. From one to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling. The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no reins or other signaling devices to control the dog: The dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner's voice for direction.
Many breeds of dog participate in skijoring. The only prerequisite is a desire to run down a trail and pull, which is innate in many dogs. Small dogs (less than 35 pounds) are rarely seen skijoring, because they do not greatly assist the skier; however, since the skier can provide as much power as is required to travel, any enthusiastic dog can participate. Athletic dogs such as Pointers, Setters and herding breeds take to skijoring with glee, as do the northern breeds, such as Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds, and Inuit dogs; however, any energetic dog is capable of enjoying this sport. Golden Retrievers, Giant Schnauzers, Labs, and many cross-breeds are seen in harness. Pulling breeds work well also such as American Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American bull dogs, and mastiffs.
The sport is practiced recreationally, and competitively, both for long distance travel and for short (sprint) distances.
Sled Dog Racing
Sled dog racing (sometimes termed dog sled racing) is a winter dog sport most popular in the Arctic regions of the United States, Canada, Russia, and some European countries . It involves the timed competition of teams of sleddogs that pull a sled with the dog driver or musher standing on the runners. The team completing the marked course in the least time is judged the winner.
A sled dog race was a demonstration sport at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York and again at the Olympics in Oslo, but it did not gain official event status.
Sled dogs, known also as sleighman dogs, sledge dogs, or sleddogs, are a highly trained dog type that are used to pull a dog sled, a wheel-less vehicle on runners, over snow or ice, by means of harnesses and lines.
A variety of carting is sulky driving, where a dog or dogs pulls a two-wheeled cart (sulky) with a person riding in the sulky. This sport offers both exercise and discipline opportunities for energetic breeds. Many working breeds are happier when given a job or task, and carting / sulky driving can be a rewarding hobby for both dog and owner.
Dogs from 15 kg body weight and upwards are able to pull an adult and a sulky comfortably. The general rule is that the total load (sulky and driver) should not exceed three times the weight of the dog doing the pulling. If, for example, the sulky and driver totaled 150 kg, then the weight of the dog pulling would need to be at least 50 kg. Smaller dogs may be used as long as the cart is of a type which can handle multiple dog draft, and the combined weight of the dogs pulling is at least one third of the load being pulled.
Tracking is a technique in which dogs are trained to locate certain objects, such as a downed bird, using the object's scent. Many bird and rabbit hunters train their dogs in tracking. The scent hounds are generally regarded as having the best tracking abilities among all dog breeds.
A Tracking trial is an event to encourage dogs to make use of their strongest facility, the ability to follow a scent trail. The competition emulates the finding of a lost person or article in a situation where the performance of the dog can be fairly assessed. Because of this, the tracks laid are straight-forward, not the wanderings that may characterize a lost person, nor do they include deliberate attempts by the tracklayer to deceive the dog.
It involves the participation of one dog or multiple dogs to pull a sled, cart, or other contraption either on snow or dry land. Urban Mushing also called Dryland Mushing was put into practice to keep winter sled dogs in top shape during the off-season.
Weight pulling is a dog sport involving a dog pulling a cart or sled loaded with weight a short distance across dirt/gravel, grass, carpet, or snow. It is a modern adaptation of freighting, in which dogs were used as freight animals to move cargo. Many breeds participate in this sport, with dogs being separated into classes by weight. Sleddog and pit bull breeds excel within their respective weight classes, having been historically bred to pull sleds and plows, respectively.
The dog is hitched to the cart or sled with a specially constructed harness designed to spread the weight and minimize the chance of injury.
Dog weight pulling competitions are sanctioned by various non-profit organizations. In North America the International Sled Dog Racing Association has sanctioned contests in association with their races. The International Weight Pulling Association was organized in 1984 to promote the heritage of the working dog.