Category Archives: Weight Pull

Frozentozen 2013: Workin’ in the Snow

ryker-frozentozen2013-8739On Sunday, we went out to watch the afternoon pull for the World Wide Weight Pull Organization (W3PO).  I honestly didn’t go with the intention of doing anything but watching a bunch of good pullers have fun on a really challenging surface but little did I know that I would be poked and prodded until I actually caved and agreed to let old man Ryker have some fun on the snow pad.

For anyone who’s ever pulled on snow, they know that if the conditions on the pad (snow track) aren’t absolutely perfect in both weather and actual track conditions, it can be a puller’s worst nightmare because of the difficulty of that particular surface.  Ryker has always excelled on snow because he learned early on what it took to break the sled when it started to freeze to the track but it has been many years (January 2011 was the last time we did snow) and I never thought we would see the surface again so all of those habits for breaking the sled free have long since been broken because they are unsuitable for wheeled or rail tracks.  Thankfully, the harder it got, the more pissed off he got and the harder he tried to beat that cart…until he couldn’t any longer.

It was, by far, one of the sloppiest days because the temperature sat at forty-something degreesryker-frozentozen2013-8722 all day and made the track slushy until the sun started to fall – then it froze and fast.  One by one, dogs bowed out – unable and unwilling to work against the fast freezing track with its ever increasing difficulty level.  Ryker was one of three remaining pullers at the end with the other two being a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named Royce who weighed in at 115 pounds and a Newfoundland weighing much more.  It was an honor to be in the last three pulling – especially with both dogs weighing well over double the forty-six pounds that Ryker weighed in at.

In the end, Ryker bowed out at 28.97 times his body weight.  This translated to 1,333 pounds on a slushy, difficult track.  He fell short of the Most Weight Pulled per Pound (which is based on the percentage of weight pulled versus the gross weight) that was a little over 32 times the dog’s body weight which was done by a nineteen pound Basenji named Roxie that pulled that one off!   It was, none the less, a very impressive day.  There were many dogs who pulled well into ryker-frozentozen2013-8779the 20x range – including the relatively new pulling dog, Royce, who at only two years old shows a LOT of very good promise.

We are aiming to hit the W3PO’s next snow pull the weekend of January 11th in Luna Pier, Michigan.  This relatively new organization has given us bubbling new hope for the sport that we adore with the camaraderie that was ever present at the Michigan United Kennel Club (UKC) pulls prior to the big alteration of their weight pull program to dissolve the actual competitive aspect of weight pull.  We highly recommend anyone looking to get into the sport check out the group’s new page on Facebook or check out an upcoming event and be prepared to have some fun with your dog.

North Meets South ADBA Show

On the weekend of June 1st and 2nd was the Great Lakes Pit Bull Club’s annual show.  This year, the club was joined by the Southeastern APBT Club from North Carolina.  With four shows and two weight pulls, it was a long and grueling weekend since we worked the club being members of the Great Lakes club but it was absolutely amazing.

In recent years, many clubs have seen a massive decline in entries due to a variety of reasons with the largest one being economic and financial setbacks.  The ‘North Meets South’ event, however, didn’t seem to have much of that concern with well over 100 entries in conformation alone for each show.  Weight pull was no different with record numbers coming to pull.  We had some Class A pullers from all across the US who rocked it out on a less-than-favorable track and had two dogs finish their Ace titles as well!  (Congratulations are in order to Clay of Team No Fear with Boogieman and Dave with Bende.)

Our own personal crew did pretty well despite the fact that my husband and I were both running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  Ryker took three 3rd place ribbons and a 2nd which gave him the elusive 99 points – one point shy of finishing his ADBA Champion title.  Mika was shut out all weekend and Lyric made her debut as an ADBA pull dog and landed a 2nd place (and first 5 points of 100) toward her Ace title.

All in all, the show was a huge success.  Both hosting clubs did exceptionally well and the exhibitors all seemed to have a good time (I know we sure did!) and many said they can’t wait for our next one.  Here’s to many more phenomenal shows and  a fantastic rest of the show season.


Do Over Dog: Back to Basics

I’m sitting at my laptop after a pretty darn successful weekend at the Cinco de Mayo NWDA pulls that were held this weekend locally to me and thinking about how far I’ve come as a handler, a trainer and a dog owner.  I brag all the time on Ryker and all of his successes but in reality, he was the easiest dog in the planet.  He’s biddable and willing to work.  He’d do anything just to do things with me.  He and Luna spoiled me on trainability and success.  Anything I’ve asked them to do, they’ve done and done it well.  Then Lyric came into the picture.

Lyric wasn’t that easy dog I was used to.  She was stubborn and incredibly determined to do things her way when she wanted to do them.  Sure, she loves me and wants to be with me (well, up my ass would probably be the best definition) but as far as doing something because I asked if it involved not running at warp speed 24/7?  Forget it.  She’s a true free spirit and she utterly loathes being restricted.  (It’s pet peeve numero uno in her book.  Seriously!  She told me so.)

She loves flirtpoling, lure coursing, agility (when I’ve tinkered with her on obstacles) and things that allow her to do her thing without being hindered by a leash or strict rules – especially if they involve food or a rousing game of tug.  Those are fun for her…weight pull, yeah, it definitely wasn’t her thing.  At least it wasn’t initially.

I pushed her in weight pull.  I figured if I worked her like I did Ryker and Luna, I could convince her that it wasn’t so bad.  I used the same methodology, the same training, the same everything and I did it so incredibly wrong with her.  I seriously almost ruined her for weight pull (and many other sports too!) by forcing her to do something she wasn’t comfortable with and when she wasn’t ready in a manner that wasn’t conducive to her learning. Yeah, she got her United Weight Puller in UKC but she wasn’t happy while she was doing it (and I have the photographs of the looks of death I got for it as a reminder too!) and it bothered the living daylights out of me because I detest doing something that upsets the bond I have with my dogs.  They’re my buddies and their happiness and wellbeing is paramount in my book.

I put her in pseudo retirement from weight pull after she earned her basic weight pull title in UKC.  I told myself that she’d never make a weight pull dog.  It wasn’t her “thing” and we’d find something else that she loved to do or keep doing things she loved – like showing.  (Seriously, this dog has a thing for flaunting her little terrorist self in a “look at me” fashion and it helped in finishing with a Best of Opposite in ADBA to earn her Championship!)

Unfortunately, Mother Nature nixed our show career in ADBA when she developed pyometra.  It sucked immensely.  All the hopes and dreams of getting her Grand Championship in ADBA went poof since they don’t offer altered classes like they do in UKC.    I seriously had to sit down and ask myself what we were going to do to keep her zero to warp speed brain mentally stimulated and allow her to shine when she couldn’t do the one thing that she loved more than the flirtpole or fighting me on a tug.  I had a LOT of time to think since she had to heal from her emergency spay.

After months of healing (and driving me batty!), I decided to go back and give weight pull a try.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt and we could do some light drag work once she was into it to keep her in good physical shape and tire her out a little so she wasn’t so bounce-off-the-walls-and-drive-mom-nuts kinda crazy.  We went back to the beginning.

I came to realize that this was where the real start to our problems had happened.  It was the part where I, as a handler and trainer, had failed her.  I had compared her to my two super stars and their distinct “Throw another at me!” fashion.  I realized then that I had to go slower with her or I’d mess up again and likely do irrevocable damage to her as a sporting dog.  I couldn’t and I wouldn’t let myself fail her again and so we quite literally started from the puppy basics – the introduction and positive association with the harness.

It’s been a slow couple of years.  We’ve been doing drag weights and a few competitive pulls here and there but nothing really big.  We’d pull one weight and handler withdraw and then work her through one more just for practice.  I never let her fail.  The second she started to get frustrated, I had them push the cart.  I never wanted her to think she couldn’t do it.  I had to let her think she was free and the almighty queen of the track.  It worked.  I couldn’t believe it, but it worked.  Lyric had finally decided weight pull wasn’t the bane of all things and she stopped looking like she was a poster child for the ASPCA commercials.

This weekend she proved it to me again that she was still the little hellcat that could.  That she was willing and ready to do things if I showed her that they were pretty darn awesome and that she was pretty darn awesome for doing them.  She’s worked past all the hang ups I’ve had and she keeps improving each and every time I put her on the track and the best part?  She wags her tail the WHOLE time.  Today was no exception when she broke her personal best not once but twice – first in the morning with 1,374 pounds for 35.23 times her body weight of 39 pounds (and taking a 2nd place with four dogs in the class!) and then once again in the afternoon by pulling the next increment up of 1,442 pounds for 36.97 times her body weight and another second place!  (We’re a LONG way from being competition for the first place dog – Team Puggle – in that class, so it was a good spot!)

I’m still in shock, honestly.  Had I been asked if I thought she’d come this far years ago I would have A) looked at you like you were crazy and B) told you it would never happen in a million years.  I was dead wrong and it took a lesson in humility, a life changing situation and a phenomenally wonderful dog to show me that sometimes change is the best thing to happen and that starting over isn’t so bad.  It also reminded me, once more, that you don’t get the dog you necessarily always want but you always get the dog you need.

Thank you for proving me wrong, Lyric.  I am so unbelievably proud of how far you’ve come and so excited to see how far we’ll go.


Lyric at a previous NWDA weight pull with her tail waggin’.

Road Trip!


It’s hard to believe I’ve not take a dog event road trip in a little over a year.  I’ve stayed local for the most part because of work and personal obligations but finally had a chance to take some much deserve time off and go to a faraway place known as Waynesville, North Carolina for the Palmetto State APBT Club show with my buddy, Ryker.  It was three days of fun with one of my best buddies doing what we do best – working together and having a good time.

We went down hoping to try and get those last 18 points we need to finish Ryker’s ADBA conformation Championship.  (Because the last points are a PAIN to chase down – especially if one has a brindle dog.  They do NOT show conditioning well at ALL!)  We managed to eek out three with a third place under honorable judge Frank Rocca out of a class of ELEVEN(!!!!!!) 5 and Over Males.  It was insane.  I was constantly trying to move Ryker so he had the best vantage since he was more preoccupied on being a brat.  It was insane.

Quite honestly, I almost died and went to heaven when the judge came over with the 3rd place ribbon.  To be picked among so many nice older boys still vying for the same thing we were.  It truly was an honor and I’m pleased to have placed in the top three and believe many of those dogs deserved the honors of being in the top three as well.


Photo Credit: Laurie Jane

We also puttered around in weight pull that weekend for Saturday and squeaked another 3rd place there before pulling him out to go show in the first show.  He pulled 1,300# that weekend on a very hard track with the top pulling dog (who weighed 82#) pulling just about 3,400# and six dogs in his class (45-55# males).  I was pleased with what we did.  Should I have kept him in longer and forfeited my conformation entries?  Maybe but I didn’t really feel like pushing for much more beyond that.  We’ll get our Ace in due time.  He’s still a young man after all.  It’s not like he’s turning seven years in July.  (Which he actually is, but try telling him that!)

Overall, I had a good time.  It was nice to return to the ADBA circuit.  It gave me a chance to see old friends and meet some new ones.  I got to spend time with my Ryker-man and work that bond that we’ve been so blessed to have for all of these years.  The break did us good.  It gave me a new perspective and reminded that at the end of the day, I still have my wonderful boy and win or lose, he’s still #1 with me and we will just have to put the work in to show everyone else how awesome I already know he is.  Now…to get those last darn points!

Records Are Made For Breakin’

This last weight pull weekend was beyond amazing.  The sheer adrenaline that flowed through every spectator as Bart, an 84lb American Bulldog owned by Denise Taranto, smashed the previous record for the rail track we were weight pulling on.  He surpassed the record (12,250lbs – originally set by a wonderful rescue dog named Jake who is owned and loved by his phenomenal handler, Andrew Peabody) by a mere 20lbs but it was still cause for celebration.

We had a rough start for the pull weekend at the NWDA pull in Luna Pier, Michigan (August 31 – September 3) and the dogs all had a hard time getting stuff going.  We pulled well into the night on Friday not leaving until almost 11pm.  Saturday we had two pulls – rails in the morning and wheels in the evening.  It was hot, muggy and the track was a little off because the organizer, Toni, likes to keep it level for the entire playing field.  The conditions greatly improved and the track was leveled once more after a torrential downpour on Saturday evening into Sunday and we repeated the cycle on pulls for Sunday and watched records get broken and the 10,000lb club have two new dogs added to it.

My dogs didn’t pull that well but we haven’t been training or conditioning much over the course of the last few months.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and dog events got put on the back burner.  They, however, surprised me.   My little black princess pulled her personal best of 1,050lbs – 26.92 times her body weight of 39lbs.  I didn’t quiet expect it but she made me incredibly proud and broke her own personal record.

Here are a few photos from the weekend.  The rest can be viewed here.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Weight Pulling

With the amount of interest and emails generated due to my last post, I sought out my friend Cindy over at The Nut House to use an article she wrote almost two years ago on weight pull.  She allowed us to republish it for anyone interested in getting into weight pull.  Enjoy!


What is Weight Pulling?

Weight Pulling (WP for short) is a new and growing sport for all breeds of dogs from the smallest Chihuahua to the largest Wolf Hound. What it involves depends on what organization you get involved with. Overall in all organizations it involves your dog pulling a certain amount of weight on a Sled, Cart, or Rail system a certain amount of feet in a limited amount of time.

Maddie the 4 POUND poodle doing weight pulling.
Photo Credit: Lindsay Rae Photography

What Organizations can you pull with?
There are a lot of weight pull organizations that you can join with:
United Kennel Club (UKC) – All breeds can pull here as long as certain rules are followed. Your dog if not already UKC registered, must be spayed/neutered, and either much have a Temporary Listing (TL) number or a Limited Privilege number.
International Weight Pull Association – All dogs are welcome, all you need is a Weight Pulling harness and the entry fee (it’s $5 more if you’re a non-member)
American Pulling Alliance – All dogs are welcome, just show up with a harness and your entry fee
National Working Dog Association (NWDA) – Their main page has not been updated but all show up, and pay an entry fee.
There are other clubs you can join but they are only for certain breeds of dogs (Mainly the American Pit Bull Terrier) like the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) and the All American Dog Registry (AADR). (Both of these clubs do not allow all Pit Bulls to pull except at fun shows. You must have a UKC/ADBA/ABKC or BFKC registered APBT or AB (American Bully) to pull with these clubs.)

Ok, so now I know about the clubs, what do I need to start pulling?

First off all before you even start pulling your dog, you need to make sure your dog is old enough to pull. While most clubs allow your dog to start pulling around the age of 1 year, it’s not wise to start pulling large loads until your dog is done growing. (But it’s good to start young) If you really want to get into WP, even consider having a vet x-ray your dog’s hips and elbows to have a look for things that could cause your dog(s) health issues in the future. Your Vet will be able to tell you if WPing is OK for your dog or not. Some dogs with slight hip issues are fine pulling while some aren’t.

The first thing you’ll need is a weight pull harness! There are many different websites that offer harnesses for weight pulling, and I’m listing the one’s I have personally used, so I know the quality of the harnesses and how they work.

Brown Dog Designs – This is my favorite Harness maker ever. If you are going to be doing weight pulling for a while, and really getting into it then you want to break down and buy a BBD harness. They quality of these harnesses are the best. It’s kind of like buying a pair of shoes, you’ll be happy with the $25 shoes, but when you decide to splurge and but the $100 shoes once you realize what you’ve been missing. Her harnesses aren’t made to be pretty they are made to work, and work they do.

CD Pits – I’ve used CD Pits in the past. They are wonderful, many different looks to them, and are strong and durable. They are perfect for beginners and advance pullers alike

Tablerock – Nice harnesses, quality made with strength in mind. I love Tablerock because not only do they sell the WP Harnesses but they also sell wonderful quality drag sleds (I’ll explain those later) Table rock has GREAT training harnesses that allows it to grow with your dog. This is perfect for training a puppy to get use to a harness

Stillwater Kennel – I’ve never used their WP harness but I know people who have and they love them. Stillwater has adjustable harnesses though for 20lb + dogs that are perfect for WP training in younger dogs.

*NOTE* Many dogs ARE scared of the harness when you first try to put it on them. Use chicken or other high prized items to get your dog use to the harness before attaching any sort of weight to the harness. Take your time getting your dog use to the harness and make it a positive experience for them. Even think about putting your harness on your dog for walks at first (use a collar not the harness for the leash) but don’t rush it.

Second thing you’ll need is a collar. A simple belt or buckle collar for this is the best; you want it to be loose enough for your dog to breathe easily but tight enough to not fall off while training. Depending on what venue you decide to pull in depends on what type of collar you can use while your dog is pulling.

Third thing you’ll need is either rope or chain. I personally like chain because chain causes noise when it’s dragged and helps prepare the dogs in the long run for the noises that the carts make with weights on them. Starting off with either or is fine though. Rope is actually easier to tie the weights with for younger dogs, while chain is better for bigger weights for attaching (I use a spring snap to keep the weights on the chain).

Lastly you’ll need weight! For beginners, just start with an empty milk jug with some rocks in it. You want it to be easy and just help get your dog use to having the feeling of some resistance on their harness. As your dog gets older and/or more confident then start adding more weight. What to add depends on your dog. A larger dog say 50lbs you can easily add 10lbs without too much issues while a dog that weighs half that may only need 2 to 5 lbs added on. You could also buy a drag sled or make one if you want too. A drag sled is just a small sled that allows your weight to be evenly distributed. It’s not necessary but it’s a nice thing to have.

Ok, I have everything I need, now what?

Now comes the fun part, slowly working your dog up to pulling things!

Nubs the pit bull practicing.
Photo Credit: Dark Moon Photography

You only want to start pulling your dog 10 to 15 yards at a time. Right now you only want your dog to get use to the feeling and noises of the weights behind them. Hook a leash to your dog’s collar and stand in front of them. Call them to you and start walking backwards SLOWLY. Encourage your dog to pull the weight to you and praise them as they do. If they start to pull but stops as soon as they feel resistance, call them again, if that doesn’t work then LIGHTLY give your leash a tug to get your dog to move, and the praise like mad. Only work your dog for about 15mins the first time out. You don’t want your dog to get tired, bored, or frustrated. Do this for about a week before going onto the next phase, adding weight.

A question many people ask at this point is about reinforces (treats). Honestly if you can, refrain as much from food or toy reinforcements as much as you can. Why? Because in most USA organizations food and toy reinforcements are not allowed in the chute. It’s better to train the dog from the very beginning to pull for you and for fun. Adding toys or food is a great way to force your dog to do more then it can do which results in harming your dog. I have used food to get the dog use to the harness and for focusing on me, but never for pulling.

Once your dog is getting confident with the noise and weight behind them, it’s time to add some weight. NEVER SET YOUR DOG UP FOR FAILURE! You don’t want your dog to stop liking to pull. Don’t try to rush how much weight your dog is pulling. If your dog is pulling 10lbs just fine but at 15lbs he starts faltering, then go back to 10 lbs for a few more days then try 15lbs again. How much weight to add depends on your dog. If your dog is only 10lbs, then adding 1 lb of weight is a good starting place, if your dog is 50lbs then 15lbs is a good starting. If it’s really easy for your dog to pull GREAT but do not add more weight, at least this time around. You want it to be easy right now. This isn’t about building mussel but more about building confidence in your dog. You want your dog to feel great about what it is doing, and enjoy it.

Keep working your dog over weeks and months until your dog is at 1 ½ time its own body weight. So if your dog is 50lbs, it should be able to drag 75lbs. At this point your dog is ready for another step, working a cart. At this point you should be working with a mentor or looking for a mentor for help. They will have weight pull cart or rail system set ups or know where to find them. My local WPers have gatherings at one person’s house to work their dogs on his cart and to give each other tips on how to work their dogs better and how to be better themselves.

Just remember to have FUN with weight pulling and fun with your dog. Too many people forget this step and I personally think it’s the most important step of all.

Fore more information or to see the original post, click here.

Weight Pull: The Canine Strongman Competition

Ryker at the Pride & Prejudice UKC weight pull – July 2011

The sport of weight pull is an incredibly controversial sport amongst many dog owners.  You have on one hand those that absolutely love the sport and the bond it creates with the dog and then on the other you have those who hate and/or fear the sport as a form of cruelty and abuse.  Those same people feel that these dogs are being exploited for the purposes of human gain and the coercion of the dogs into performing on the track.  This, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth for the majority of the weight pull community. (Yes, there are a few bad apples – in every sport.  It’s just human nature.)

Once upon a time, I believed the same way those that are against it thought.  I felt it was barbaric and cruel.  I took the time, however, to go to a pull and found out how completely wrong I was.  These dogs had absolute adoration for their handler/owner like dogs I’d seen paired and running agility or obedience routines.

From that moment on, I was hooked.  I sucked up every little tidbit of information on training, conditioning, equipment and rules that I could get my hands on.  I bought my first harness from Alaskan Dream Dog and had a go at weight pull.  It was a very good harness for a new puller but as I became more experienced and talked to more people I realized I needed a harness upgrade and sank the money into one from Brown Dog Designs.  It’s been madness ever since.

Lyric is starting to get the hang of weight pull.

The love for the sport is addicting.  If you luck out and get a dog that absolutely loves to work (you know what I mean – the whole body wiggling, barking, prancing, etc. when they see that harness get pulled out…) you’ll never turn back and will probably catch the bug like so many of us that have been caught – hook, line and sinker.

That being said, not every dog is going to love weight pull.  There are some dogs that absolutely loathe the concept of being constrained or digging in to get that cart the full sixteen feet down the track.  If a dog doesn’t have that desire for this sport even the strongest bond isn’t going to make them work any harder or better no matter how persistent you are or how much you beg and grovel.  What many people don’t realize is that if you push a dog that isn’t confident you can ruin them and shut them down completely.

I’ve seen it happen first hand unfortunately.  Sadly, every single time it happened it was with an overzealous new handler who meant well but didn’t know any better.  They do say you ruin your first dog but it doesn’t feel any better once you’ve realized you’ve done it.  If you’re able to salvage what you’ve incorrectly done, it will be a slow go to repair the damage and get that dog’s innate ability into focus once more.

If you’re like me and go head over heels for this sport, I would suggest you attend a pull or two and pick the brains of all of the experienced weight pullers at the pull.  The majority of people that attend these events are more than happy to talk to someone new and interested in the sport – even the highly competitive handlers.  They know that at some point in time they too were in the same spot that the newbie they’re talking to is in right now.

Regardless of how your dog does, at the end of the day even if you don’t go home with the coveted Most Weight Pulled (MWP) or Most Weight Pulled per Pound (MWPP) trophy or ribbon you’ve still had a phenomenal day with your dog.  You’ve worked together as a team.  You cheered on new and old dogs while their handlers worked the same track and pulled the same weights you did – some just better than others.

Seeing the smile on the other handler’s faces and the ultimate love and adoration of their dog as they cross the finish line and the judge yells, “Pull!” is one of the most wonderful sights to behold.  Most of us aren’t in it for the glory or the fame.  They’re a nice additional bonus (as are those dust collectors that are stored in boxes waiting for us to move and have a wall of fame for our dogs) but they’re not the cream of the crop.  Spending time with your fellow competitors, their dogs and your dogs means more  in the end.  It helps feed the desire to get back out there and do it all over again – just one more time…or maybe more than more time.

Mika, our youngest, getting to have some fun for her first time.

Back In The Saddle Again

The last time we weight pulled we attended the K9 Fanciers/AABC UKC pull.  As I blogged about prior, UKC altered their rules to limit how much a dog can actually pull.  For a dog like Ryker, who pulled this past weekend, which is an incredibly hard thing to do.  Limiting a dog that has been conditioned and trained to continue to pull well above the 20pt rule – which is only 35x his body weight on the surface we pulled (wheels).   Ryker has pulled well above the 20pt pull with UKC on wheels and has taken many Most Weight Pulled (MWP) and Most Weight Pulled Percentage (MWPP) placements in the regular and Grand classes (when they were offered – they have since been discontinued).

We have not pulled competitively since the weight pull rule change, that is, until last weekend.  We had a chance to get out and pull with the NWDA (National Working Dog Association) for the first time.  Their rules are very similar to the APA (American Pulling Alliance) in that there is one foul and then the dog is done (versus the UKC where you have two fouls), but you are only able to pass two weight increases before you must pull again (APA is unlimited passes).  It really was, in my honest opinion, the best of both the UKC and the APA pulling rules.

Ryker weighed in at a fluffy 51lbs – about four pounds more than I usually pull him at when he’s conditioned specifically for dog sports.  Since we have been out of commission for competition for the last few months, I expected him to be heavier since we had worked to put weight on for the cold Michigan winter.  He outdid what I expected him to do since I went there just to have a blast and work with my partner and my friend.  He pulled 2,078lbs on Saturday for 40.74x his body weight and 2,180lbs on Sunday for 42.74x his body weight.  He took 2nd place in his class against our favorite ‘nemesis’, Jake. (And no, we really don’t think Jake is our nemesis.  He’s a phenomenal pull dog and it’s a pleasure to pull against him.)

The same camaraderie that used to be present at the UKC pulls was there in spades.  It was nice to see some familiar faces, but even more to see a lot of the newer weight pullers who had been training at Currey’s Family Pet Care and were incredibly new to the competition aspect.  Those of us who are ‘old hats’ at this have a lot to look forward to with our new ‘competition’ this coming season and I, for one, can’t wait to attend another NWDA pull.  Thank you, NWDA for giving me and other weight pullers another place to work our dogs!

The Fate of UKC Weight Pull

I am a weight puller. My dogs and I enjoy the bonding that we get to do when we are out on the track together. The competitive nature that goes with weight pull – beating other dogs to work for that title-of-the-day of Most Weight Pulled or Most Weight Pulled Per Pound (also known as the Pound-for-Pound/Percentage) – is a personal humanoid rush. The dogs, at the end of the day, don’t give a darn if they got it. They just know they worked so hard for me and that I cheered them on as the weights got higher.

Unfortunately, the UKC has eliminated all of those things. They have eliminated class placements. They have eliminated working to achieve better working ability by training a dog to work harder and longer. They have eliminated those ‘title of the day’ awards that were there to reward the hard work of handler/dog teams have done to become ‘the best dog/handler team’ of the day.

Why have they done this? Because the human end of the spectrum got petty. The human aspect of the sport decided that it was more fun to lodge complaints and cause petty drama that has now hurt dogs that are competitive in weight pull – my dogs included. I don’t train for a ‘buy here, pay here’ title. I train my dogs to continue to improve. To push past that threshold of doubt in myself and the peak of greatness that I know, deep down, my dogs are capable of. The title just adds a little bit of justification for all the work I put in that the dogs earned, but it’s a piece of paper in the end and the time I spent with the dogs is far more important.

I must admit, when I first got news of the official changes after the probationary period, I was angry and I was hurt (probably to an extreme in the eyes of many UKC weight pullers). I felt that they should have canceled the program for what they did to it. That the program was/is a shell of its former self and still do to an extent. I guess it’s the competitive nature that I still hold close to my heart – the desire to continue to pull against myself and against others and push my dogs to become the greatest in their own rights.

There are rumors that this is just a probabation. That UKC will continue to make changes to bring weight pull back to what it once was and eliminate the problem children. I hope this is true and not just empty rumors. Until it happens, I’ve put my two best weight pullers on temporary retirement with UKC and will continue to pull the youngster (Mika) and the not-so-adept Lyric there to work to improve form and have a good time together.

UKC Premier – 2010 All Star Invitational

It’s been a busy past few weeks, but one of the highlights of that was the 2011 United Kennel Club Premier and All Star Invitational. Ryker and I were invited after competing in numerous weight pulls over the 2010 weight pull season. Ryker came in #5 in the Top 25 American Pit Bull Terriers for that year (with the Top 5 dogs being Michigan dogs!).

Ryker took 5th overall at the Invitational and we’re incredibly happy with how well he worked. He pulled 1,836lbs (36.72 times his body weight of 50lbs) and gave me everything when I asked – especially considering wheels are not his finest surface. He’s definitely more of a snow or rail surface lovin’ dog.

Regardless, we had a wonderful time. We stayed until Saturday to root on friends and other APBT competitors in the show ring and then went to the Showdown In Motown APA weight pull that Saturday where Ryker took 3rd place overall in his class and Luna took 4th place.

I’m so incredibly blessed to have my home filled with some of the sweetest and most hard working dogs imaginable. These dogs have filled my heart with joy and shown ethic I couldn’t imagine having in any other dog.