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Weight Pulling with your Dog Weight pull competition

Weight pulling is an activity that many breeds of dog enjoy.  Generally the dog must first qualify for the event by pulling a qualifying weight (usually around 160 kg) a distance of 16 feet within a limited time.

After each dog has attempted the pull, the trolley is loaded with more weight.  Dogs that successfully pulled the previous weight then attempt to pull the next highest weight.

A dog is out of the competition if it fails to pull the loaded trolley within the allocated time, and the dog's result is recorded at the highest weight successfully pulled.

To be successful in weight-pulling, your dog needs to be trained to pull on voice command, as the handler is usually not permitted to use any form of bait or enticement to get the dog to pull in competition.

The dogs that generally perform the best are not necessarily the largest dogs, but more importantly those with good pulling technique and the right attitude.  These dogs really want to pull and have learnt to lean into their harnesses to get the weight-pull trolley moving.

Most events offer a range of weight-classes so that smaller dogs are not competing against significantly larger dogs.

Weight pull competitionThe results of the competition are often based on the overall weight that the dog pulled within the class, as well as weight to weight ratio, that is, how much the dog pulled relative to its body weight.

All that you need to compete in Weight-Pull events is a healthy dog over the minimum age requirement and a correctly fitted weight-pull harness

Note that bitches in season are generally not permitted at a weight pull event as they provide too much of a distraction to other dogs.

General fitness of your dog must be maintained when weightpulling. Pulling heavy loads can place unnecessary strain and lead to injury if your dog is not in sound physical condition.

Weightpulling in Australia

Weight Pull competitionWeightpulling in Australia is generally conducted on natural, flat surfaces such as clean gravel or grass, however, weightpull can be held on any surface which allows for non-restricted movement to the pulling equipment.

Several clubs throughout Australia conduct weight pull events - contact your State's canine association, or breed clubs such as Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky & Am Staff clubs to fnd out if they hold weight pull events.

In Victoria, several weight pull competitions are held each year by the Alaskan Malamute Club, Victoria (AMCV) and the American Staffordshire Terrier Cub of Victoria (ASTCV) at their facility at KCC Park, Westernport Highway in Lyndhurst.

Who Can Participate?

Weight pull competitionAnyone with a healthy dog over the minimum age requirement (usually 18 months) can participate – you generally don’t have to be a club member and it doesn’t matter what breed of dog you have or if the dog has registration papers or not.  Bitches that are in season at the time of competition will not be able to compete.

Any dog that has been unwell, or is showing signs of lameness or illness should not be brought to any event as this is not in the dog’s best interests or those of the other dogs attending.

It is important that the handler be well prepared to embarrass themselves.  As often is the case, the handler must display humorous and sometimes embarrassing techniques in order to have your dog come on command. Very entertaining for spectators, even if humiliating for the handler!


Weight Pull Competition - Bernese Mountain DogTo participate in weightpull activities with your dog you will require a weight pull harness, and your dog will be required to wear a non-choke collar.

This harness is the most critical piece of equipment for the dog to have to wear and is specifically for weightpull purposes.  The harnesses are made to measure for each individual dog to ensure good fit, and are made from strong, lightweight webbing with padding around the neck and chest to maximise comfort for the dog and minimise the risk of injury or discomfort.

For training, getting your dog to pull tyres attached to the harness via a long rope is a cheap and easy option.  You can select from a range of tyre weights to suit the ability of your dog.

More about weight pull harnesses

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