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Draft Dog Title:  What it is?  
Why to train your dog and where can you compete in Drafting? 


Drafting and carting is another way of building muscle mass, and problem solving skills, it is FUN, you can do it, your BRT will love it, and it will help you and your Blackie to become a better team.
You can use these skills to help around your house: moving wood, bricks, BBQ tanks, to give rides to kids, participate in parades and just to showcase the stable working temperament of your BRT


Even some experienced Dog Folk are not familiar with Draft dog competition and titles.  Mostly Newfoundland and Bernese Mountain Dog Clubs offer carting lessons and compete with their dogs in Draft Dog (DD) and Draft Dog of Excellence (DD-X) competition to earn these AKC and/or CKC titles.  I got lucky and was welcomed to our local Bernese Mountain Dog Club They have "adopted my Blackies" in their circles and helped and supported us all the way.  We thank all the BMD owners we met for their kindness, help, advice and moral support.

It proved to be quite easy to teach my Blackies to pull a cart or a wagon.  They love to please and to have a job to do, you almost can feel your BRT being proud when things go right and they learn "new tricks of a trade".
DD(Draft Dog) title is not an easy title to earn: it consists of 3 parts. Your team must earn 3 qualifying scores in all 3 parts under 3 different judges to get a title. All exercises in all 3 parts are done off leash.


1. Part one: Controlled exercises
It is done in a regulation size ring ring and resembles competitive heal off lead part in obedience CD (Companion Dog level), but it is more relaxed, almost like a Rally Obedience. Draft judges look for a team spirit and ability to work together off leash.  You can talk to you dog through out the controlled exercises. The difference is that Stand for examination is done off leash and the dog must stand still for 1 minute. Only one command can be used and no talking is allowed during this exercises.   Each entered dog completes obedience portion separately, then move on into group down stay for 3 minutes, handlers are located inside the ring like in CD

Part 2 : CARTING Exercises:
to demonstrate dog's usefulness as a draft animal in maneuvering safely hitched to a cart or wagon as well as team willingness and ability to work together off lead. You need to harness and hitch your dog, 3 judges will come one by one.   Each will inspect the harness and the safety of the equipment for the dog.  The handler's skill and dog's willingness to work, to stand harnesses and hitched for examination is judged.

The serious of maneuvers must be performed in the ring on judge's command: at least twice: forward, halt, left turn, right turn, at least one Slow not less than 4 feet followed by normal pace. If the dog or a vehicle touch any solid object higher than 6 in the ring or during freight haul you fail.

Next, the team performs figure 8 exercise with pylons 6 to 8 feet apart for a cart, 8 to 12 for a wagon. Back up 4 feet harnessed and hitched. Both dog and vehicle must move backward.


Part 3.  Field work exercise: demonstrates dog's ability to pull a suitable freight load over a moderate distance through cross terrain in cooperation with his handler. Terrain is usually with moderate slops, boulders, high grass and trees, ditches etc. providing natural obstacles. 


The load is 40 lbs and can be any number of objects from flower pots to skate, rocks, logs, umbrellas. 

The team walks half the distance of the coarse, comes to a designated loading area, where the handler commands a dog to stand and weigh, loads up the cart, secures the load and they proceed through the rest of the coarse after all 3 judges inspected how secure and safe the load is for the dog.   All of lead and no touching.  Only verbal commands are allowed. 


At the end of the coarse, the handler commands the dog to stand, un-loads, un-hitches and the test is over. 

If during any part of the test your dog sits, relieves itself, dog or any part of its cart or wagon touches any solid object, if any piece of the load falls off the cart/wagon, or your team fails to perform any exercise- you NQ.
If you get 3 qualifying scores from all 3 judges, you pass and get DD title, if not, well, get back to training and try again.

by Jean Brown, Midnight Solo Kennel


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