While at an agility trial in September, I was talking to a friend about carting with Reese and Nugget and lamenting the fact that winter would soon be on its way and carting would be done. He asked me if I had any interest in sledding. He and his wife had been left with numerous dog related items after a very good friend had passed away in the spring . Among the items was a Kick Sled, complete with 2 harnesses. I jumped at the chance to have a look at them before I left Brandon and low and behold 2 weeks later they dropped the sled off in Regina.
I have been reading everything I can find on the internet to figure out what I need as far as equipment and training. The smallest harness fits Nugget to a T. The larger harness was too big for Reese, but it fit a carting friends Giant Schnauzer and she had a smaller one that fit Reese. Cool how that worked out for both of us.
Not that I want to rush winter, but I do want to be ready for the white stuff when it comes, I am looking at ganglines and a neckline. I am working on teaching the 2 Chesapeakes left and right verbal commands. Reese has a little history from agility, but her cues are muddied by also teaching spin and turn. Nugget is a clean slate, so I have just been working left with her and she seems to have it. On to right! One other thing I can work on without snow, sled or real lines, is a line out command. This will be a command to get the dogs to hold the lines taunt and stand still, until given the release.
Something I often run into when carting is, people who think it is cruel to have the dogs pull a cart. If the dog is in good physical condition, the cart is well balanced, the harness fits properly and the weight being pulled is suited to the dogs size there is no physical danger to them. Both Reese and Nugget love to pull and I mean that as in loving it as much as they love to chew a bone. However they were both introduced to carting slowly and safely. When it comes to sledding the rule of thumb is if the sled and rider weigh more then the dog plus 100lbs then another dog should be added. This is considering that the dog is at least 40lbs.
So yesterday we had our 1st snow, it won’t likely stay, but it prompted me to order a 2 dog gangline and neck line. If all goes well the lines should be here by the end of the week.