In Seven Easy Steps
These steps can also be used for training older dogs.
Puppy Pulling Training
* Some owners train puppies as early as 6 weeks. However, most wait and start them around 4-6 months. The following steps are regarded as fundamentals of trainiug a puppy how to pull.
* Each step requires approximately 30 monutes to 1 hour per day 3-4 days a week. Patience and Praise are a very important part of this.
Step #1 : Leash train your puppy- (takes 5-19 days) 1. Walk in front of your puppy instead of on the side. 2. Walk to the end of your leash and call the puppy to you. 3. If the puppy refuses to walk toward you, gently but quickly, tug the leash until the puppy responds correctly.
Step #2 : Familiarize puppy with training area- ( takes 5-10 days ). For example, leash walk the puppy down a track or a 10-15 foot straight walking area.
This procedure should be done 10-15 times per training session. 1. Always use the same starting position and ending position. 2. Many owners only enter a track from the end and only exit the track from the end. This teaches the puppy that there is only one way to enter or exit the track. 3. At this stage many owners carry the puppy back to the starting position each time, however, others require the puppy to walk back on his own to the starting position. 4. Many owners train their dogs in sets. For example, 15 leash walks down the track or other area would be done in 3 sets opf 5 walks with a 5 minute rest period after each set. 5. If the puppy does not perform the 5th walk right you must correct them immediately by quickly tugging down and forward to the end of the area. And then repeat that 5th walk right. Or until they do it right. The object is to teach the dog that they must perform correctly to finish the pull. 6. Many owners use a minimum of commands in a soft yet firm voice and leave the louder voice for the older dogs.. For instance, a 1-word command such as "work" or "pull" is said whilr the puppy is walking down the track area.
Step#3 : Familiarize puppy with pulling harness.- (takes 5-10 days) Do not attach any weight to your harness yet. Repeat step #2 with harness, leash, and collar. 1. Do not start the puppy with a harness that is too tight or too short. A tight harness will irratate the puppy and the stick of a short harness will hit the puppy's back legs. 2. Do not leave puppy unattended in harness, as they will chew their way out of it. 3. Many trainers simply play with the puppy while they are wearing the harness.
Step#4 : Add a noisy, light weight object to harness- ( takes 5-10 days) Repeat step #2 with harness, leash, collar and noisy object. 1. Noise should be constant and intermittent. For example, an empty plastic pop bottle with a few rocks inside it or a set of keys produce a constant noise. The object of the noise is to get them accustomed to the sounds. 2. Object should weigh 3 times less that the puppy. For instance, a 20 lb. puppy should only pull a 5 lb. object. 3. Correction should be quick downward and forward tugs. Remember to correct them immediately. Praise needs to be given when puppy completes task.
Step #5 : Allow puppy to pull object without leash- ( 10-20 days) At starting position, detach leash, back up a few feet and call your puppy to you. Repeat this until your puppy will complete this own his own. Remember this step is the first independant pull. 1. Hold leash in hand and stay close enough to puppy in order to quickly re-attach leash and correct him if it does not pull. 2. Lay leash in front of puppy in order to remind them of correction if the pull is not completed.
Step #6 : Add weight to object- (3-4 days per week) You have to determine the amount of weight to attach to your puppy. Judging the puppy's weight, size and attitude as a guide, do not use to much. A timid puppy might accept a lesser amount than a aggressive one. The weight should not weigh more than 50-75% of the puppy's body weight.You do not want to overwhelm him. Noise is not as important now, you do want to use an object that will go smoothly behind him, maybe an old window weight or a small wheeled cart. You must judge the amount according to the puppy's ability.
Step #7 : Start endurance training- (3-4 days a week) Endurance training is usually started around 6-8 months and involves two procedures. The first is a continuation of track pulling with increments of weight changed from low to high and then back down to low at the end of the session. The second is drag weighting the puppy for a specific distance or time. Drag weight pulling is simply walking with the puppy while they are pulling the smooth object. Maybe a 1/2 mile to start, depending again on the puppy's progress. Choose a smooth and level area free of rocks or stickers or anything that will harm your puppy's feet. Leash does not have to be attached but keep it close in order to correct quickly if it is needed. Now all that is left is regular workouts with increasing weights as your puppy gets stronger. For toning muscles you would walk longer distances with less weight. For increasing muscle bulk you would use more weight and less distance. Try to make training time, fun time with you, not a chore for your puppy. Have fun!!!
Some other helpful information about drag weight training:
You can use alot of things that you probably have in your own garage. All you need is to be able to attach a chain to it somehow so it can be pulled along the ground. When you find a place to work them whether it is pavement, dirt road or your yard any incline is perferable. It makes for a better work out and you can use less weight. If you are having trouble finding something to use for weight here are a few ideas.
1. The best thing is alittle hard to find these days. It's window weights. They used to use weights in the windows of houses but ofcourse they don't anymore. But if you can find them they are excellent. They are heavy, they are cylinder shaped and have a hole at the end, where you can attach a chain. The way they are shaped they go over easily uneven ground without get tangled up. They also usually have their weight stamped on the side.
2. You can get old chains alot of times at garage sales. Even different length chains would be fine. The big ones are very heavy. Ofcourse you can go to hardware stores and purchase them but that can get expensive fast. Hook them together and your ready.
3. You can also take an old tire with the rim or without and chain that up to drag. If it doesn't have the rim you can put large heavy rocks inside them or you can fill the inside with cement. Instead of just wrapping the chain around the tire if you can, put a puncture hole through the upper portion of the tire where the tread is and attach a hook with a bolt and nut to fasten it securely. You are ready to hook up your harness and go.
4. The ultimate would be to get a weight sled designed just for this purpose. There are quite a few people now making these. If you don't find one in your area, though, the shipping would probably be very high.
Weight pulling is not just for competition.....
You can keep your dog in excellent physical shape with this kind of exercise. Even your dogs that you show in conformation need to have toned muscles. To keep your dog toned up instead of putting on bulky muscles you just use less weight and walk your dog longer distances. On the other hand if you are wanting to build heavy muscles you would keep increasing the weight being pulled gradually as your dogs gets stronger. Besides swimming your dog this is the next best thing for keeping them in top physical condition.
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The dogs shown below are the last of Shelby's DUKE that I bought in 1989. It is really hard for me to even look at the photos of them and all the other great dogs I've had without being overwhelmed with sadness. So many.. What a loss.... I have been lucky to have had them all and what a ride it has been. I had always had big strong impressive breeds like German Shepherds, Dobe's and Rotties but then I bought my first Pit Bull. I really should write a book on "what not to do" when owning and raising a Pit. It is a whole different world. So loving, loyal, smart....and they can do anything any other dog can do but they can also be agile, hostile and extremely mobile. They are not unpredictable NO actually just the opposite. They are going to fight...it is just a matter of time. So knowing that you just have to take extra care and protect them from people and protect people from them. Please be a responsible Pit Bull owner. You do not let them run loose or go to the dog park and play with the other dogs. Please just to be on the safe side. DON'T DO IT ! Please.....