Want to give your dog a fun task that helps you out with chores, gives him an opportunity to earn rewards, and provides excellent physical activity and conditioning? Why not teach your dog to pull a cart? Dogs that were bred to be working dogs, especially, benefit from having a purpose and being able to perform work; it’s what they were designed to do! If you teach your dog to pull a cart, you can have him haul firewood, groceries, or other items, and help around your home or farm. Also, pulling a cart can provide entertainment if you have your dog haul small children in a cart, providing hours of fun for the kids and the dog. Most dogs actually enjoy the work and the attention they get for performing it. There are even competitions you can participate in, where your dog pulls carts with increased weight or around obstacles, or you can participate in local shows and parades to showcase your dog’s ability.
It is important to use the right kind and correct fitting harness when teaching your dog to pull a cart. A harness that is appropriate for dogs to pull a cart is available commercially. The harness should evenly distribute weight and is padded for comfort and extends down the dog's torso with a quick release snap so you can free your dog in case of a problem. The harness should have rings on the side to connect to the shafts of the wagon. The shafts and rings allow the wagon to stop when your dog stops and prevents the wagon from hitting the back of your dog. The wagon you use should have attachments for shafts on either side to attach to the harness, and the wagon would be in good repair and pull easily. You can use a commercially available dog wagon, or convert a child's wagon for use by your dog. Your dog should know basic obedience commands before getting started pulling a wagon. Lots of treats and a leash to attach to your dog's harness will aid with training. Using a clicker can be a useful training aid, especially if your dog is previously familiar with clicker training.
I can't quite get a response on my dog for most tricks.I would think that he would pick this up in no time not to pull a wagon but to pull a cart. Because he is a bernese mountain dog.
Hello Louise, I suggest trying a different motivator in front of him, like tossing a ball, having someone walk in front on him and feed him treats as he takes steps, or encouraging him forward with a tug toy. He may be nervous about the cart behind him or you might be starting too heavy or large. Taking the training slow and rewarding him for all progress, starting with a smaller or lighter cart first and gradually adding weight or moving to a larger one, or making sure his harness is padded and not rubbing may help. It takes the average dog 20-30 repetitions of something to learn a basic trick or command, so try to be patient with him and break the steps down even further for him, motivate him to move with something he likes, and reward even small amounts of progress to show him that he is doing the correct action. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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