(All photos by Amy Insley of Sit Means Sit Dog Training in Knoxville, TN.)
Tank’s main sport is IWPA Weight Pull. We just got involved with it last year, but it was clear from day one that Tank *loves* weight pull. We are very fortunate to live close to a long-time IWPA member and judge, who has owned and train multiple Hall of Fame Alaskan Malamutes. Another member of the group is a long-time trainer and makes harnesses (The Working K9). They both teach beginner weight pull and were so helpful in getting us started.
Our region is very supportive of newcomers, providing a Novice pull for just $5 after the Pro pull. They lent us a harness and walked us through what to do. The wealth of knowledge and support was worth way more than $5. With their advice and support by our second pull, Tank had his own harness and took first place in Novice.
I’ve heard the occasional comment online that it’s cruel to make a dog pull. Believe me… No one makes Tank do anything! He’s 140 pounds with a ton of attitude. If he doesn’t want to do something, he just lies down, and you aren’t moving him. I joke that I drag him to Rally, and he drags me to the weight pull chute.
We had a really nasty winter here in Tennessee, so we had two pulls cancelled. But at our third pull, Tank pulled pro and pulled 860 pounds. That isn’t a lot of his weight for his size, but it was three times what he had pulled in Novice, and he didn’t even start trying until we his 800 pounds. My main goal was to have another really positive experience, so he would continue to have a great time.
Tank is already five, so he’s getting a late start. I’m not shooting for big career goals with him. It would be nice to get a working title or two, but I mostly just want to fulfill his desire to pull. Tank isn’t generally a cuddly kind of dog, but he becomes so affectionate in the days after a pull. All day at a pull, he’s grinning and tail wagging. I honestly don’t think Tank could live his best life without it.