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twogeldings 06-14-2010 12:03 PM

I want to build a dog cart
 
Actually for dogs, not for horses :D


I have two dogs, Hazel and Duke. Hazel would be the 'lead puller' of the two, she weighs in around 90 pounds (no fat) and has a butt like a locomotive. Overall she just has good muscle mass, awesome stamina to go long ways, and loads of energy. I swear this dog just never tires. Ever. Never ever. I've considered getting a treadmill just to run her on when I can't.
I've been doing obedience and jumping with her. She really loves to jump, she can easily clear the chain link fence (especially when she's not supposed too). She recently lost some of her muscle mass as she was in heat, so that was two in a half weeks of pretty much doing nothing other than laying around the house and going on strictly supervised walks.
She's got nice bone, a thick neck, deep chest, broad back, good shoulder, intelligence and a willingness to work.

Duke on the other hand, is a Weimaraner. Duke is a classic 'I wanna please you!' house dog that is more than happy following you around and then sleeping on the couch for a few hours. He's more fat then muscle, but has surprisingly good stamina and can hold a trot for a mile or two. In a run, he zooms for a few minuets, then crashes, but trotting he does well. He's much lighter boned and is an inch or two smaller than Hazel, but he is a smart cookie and is happy to work and please you. I've 'hitched' these two together before and jogged with them, and they run side-by-side very well and keep a good pace (at least as long as I can jog)

This is Hazel:
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._5155542_n.jpg
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._4753868_n.jpg <--- winter jump training

And this is Duke, it's usually more of a 'tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth-tail going a mile a minuet' pose with him: http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/f/20...arusSomnio.jpg
More like this: http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs015....0_112726_n.jpg


Has anyone ever driven dogs? I'd like to build my own cart, but I'm still figuring what would be the best way to go about designing it. Something like a mini cart, perhaps? I'm either going to have a single pole where the dogs hitch on either side, or a top hitch like what they have on commercial carts. I tried a two-pole hitch on Hazel but she just wasn't comfortable in it.

I'm also considering using a head collar and threading the reins through the driving collar for better control, or just having separate head-collar reins (both dogs are very vicious-about as vicious as your average house fly). I'm thinking more for better stopping power when training them to actually pull a cart in the beginning, in case they see something that they'd like to chase or a person they'd like to greet.

Edit: Heres a dog harness http://www.dogscooter.com/images/pro...rnessTerms.jpg

Indyhorse 06-14-2010 03:10 PM

The draft dogs I've seen in the past were either led by a handler while pulling, or trained to voice commands, I can't say I've ever seen one trained to respond to rein cues like a horse, though I'm sure it could be done.

twogeldings 06-14-2010 07:17 PM

I've been working both Hazel and Duke with voice commands and they've been picking it up on the well, just need more practice. I need to build (or buy) a better harness for Duke, as it's just been a makeshift rope one.

I'm looking to build something like this: Roman Reign Hand Crafted Draft Dog Vehicles and Wagons for training in the beginning. More as an aid in teaching them to actually pull the cart (empty), eventually with weights, wood, or blocks. My goal to have them trained to pull (with a person riding in the cart) is early June of next year. I have been training and working with them, but as they demonstrated today (took off into the neighbors yard and completely ignored my commands) they need quite a bit more work before I'd trust them pulling a cart with anyone in it.

Indyhorse 06-14-2010 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twogeldings (Post 660261)
I've been working both Hazel and Duke with voice commands and they've been picking it up on the well, just need more practice. I need to build (or buy) a better harness for Duke, as it's just been a makeshift rope one.

I'm looking to build something like this: Roman Reign Hand Crafted Draft Dog Vehicles and Wagons for training in the beginning. More as an aid in teaching them to actually pull the cart (empty), eventually with weights, wood, or blocks. My goal to have them trained to pull (with a person riding in the cart) is early June of next year. I have been training and working with them, but as they demonstrated today (took off into the neighbors yard and completely ignored my commands) they need quite a bit more work before I'd trust them pulling a cart with anyone in it.


Well, I know very little about cart training dogs, but quite a bit about training dogs in general - it's what I do for a living, after all. From your description, this would be my advice - put the cart training COMPLETELY on hold, and work on your obedience. It's pointless to try to work on cart training, agility, herding, or any other dog sport without first having an excellent obedience foundation. It's like trying to break a horse to ride without ever giving it any groundwork first - you might achieve a little, but in the end the work you've done will unravel. You are quite literally putting the cart before the dog!

Get them where they will respond to your commands, come when called, stay, and heel at the very least, all off leash before you even consider adding in the extra training (and not to mention the additional risk!) of hitching them to a cart.

I missed if you mentioned about their ages, but this has been my experience with working herding dogs. A dog is not mentally ready to handle more advanced training until they have been given time to mature. My pups get behavior tested on the sheep at 6 months of age, after that they play with stuffed sheep, socks full of wool, and they watch herding from the other side of the fence - they don't get put on sheep themselves until they are (usually) nearer 2 years old. They just don't have the very strong obedience foundation they need before that point.

equiniphile 06-14-2010 08:17 PM

Really funny you should post this. I have a yellow lab/German shepherd mix I rescued from the pound in February. He's sooo strong, only 2-3 years old. So one day it was freezing out and I really didn't feel like carrying back 4 huge bags of shavings to the barn from the car.....so I grabbed a sled, took a collection of lead ropes and fashioned a harness that used his whole body strength instead of just his neck like a collar. I used rein cues on him, along with "woah", "walk", and "let's go!" We've been working with him for a while now, and he's really doing well lol. I'll try to take a video for ya

And I totally agree--work on obedience FIRST AND FOREMOST. My lab Marley has excellent obedience, and that's why he's so well behaved and responsive while "driving"
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twogeldings 06-14-2010 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Indyhorse (Post 660277)
Well, I know very little about cart training dogs, but quite a bit about training dogs in general - it's what I do for a living, after all. From your description, this would be my advice - put the cart training COMPLETELY on hold, and work on your obedience. It's pointless to try to work on cart training, agility, herding, or any other dog sport without first having an excellent obedience foundation. It's like trying to break a horse to ride without ever giving it any groundwork first - you might achieve a little, but in the end the work you've done will unravel. You are quite literally putting the cart before the dog!

Get them where they will respond to your commands, come when called, stay, and heel at the very least, all off leash before you even consider adding in the extra training (and not to mention the additional risk!) of hitching them to a cart.

I missed if you mentioned about their ages, but this has been my experience with working herding dogs. A dog is not mentally ready to handle more advanced training until they have been given time to mature. My pups get behavior tested on the sheep at 6 months of age, after that they play with stuffed sheep, socks full of wool, and they watch herding from the other side of the fence - they don't get put on sheep themselves until they are (usually) nearer 2 years old. They just don't have the very strong obedience foundation they need before that point.

Duke is four years old, I got him as a play buddy for Hazel this year. His owners contact me (I had an ad on Craigslist) as they went from country to Suburbia and felt it's just be better for him to live where he can run and play all day.
He's well trained, sits, lays down, heels, comes when called, goes into his kennel, and stays on command, both on and off the leash. Although he is a bit of a lemming (if Hazel does something, Duke blindly follows). I can take Duke out off leash around the neighborhood and he'll stay with me at all times, he's just a bit of an air head. If he's really excited (most of the time) and I tell him to sit, he'll instantly sit. Then if I go to pat his head he'll drop to the floor like a rock all 'You want me to lay down?! Okay! Okay! Okay!'
If Hazel told him to jump off the next cliff, he would sniff one out and merrily leap off into oblivion. I love him, but sometimes he's just...dorkish.

Hazel is year and six months, I got her at a year old completely untrained other than well socialized and well loved. Her owners rehomed her as they had both broken hips and countless other bones in a nasty wreck. Untrained dog who likes to climb into laps (fixed her of that fast, now she only does it if asked) plus broken bones just didn't clash well and they had no one capable of taking proper care of her.

Her training needs to be constantly changed and kept working and interesting...otherwise she just gets bored and tunes you out. One day I could be working on sit and stay, the next it's sit, heel, and pop over this jump. If I do sit and stay two days in a row, I'm setting myself up for frustration and a bored, useless dog.
She sits, lays down, stays (in and out of sight), comes when called, and heels off leash...when theres not something else around, like another dog. If theres no distractions, then she's a very obedient, intelligent girl.

I've established the basic 'you listen to me when I tell you something' and I'm currently working with her on 'you listen to me when I tell you something, no matter whats happening'. Her favorite thing is rabbits, I currently have a retired brood doe acting as my 'wild rabbit'. We're still doing on-leash stuff, she has to sit, lay down, stay, heel, and walk quietly no matter what the bunny happens to be doing. She's progressing at a good pace, but still needs work. She has half her attention on me and half on the rabbit, I want it completely on me and none on the rabbit :)

Indyhorse 06-14-2010 10:07 PM

From the pictures it looks as though Hazel is a Dane, or at least mostly Dane. I'm sure the vet already cautioned you about too much strenous work at her age - large breed dogs and heavy joint exercise in youth is a baaaaad combination. Just make sure her body is mature before you start having her do any serious work.

As far as the distractions, I find "watch me" a very good cue to teach young, excitable dogs. My collies are intense enough I don't need to, but my aussie would be after a rabbit like a shot back in the day, too. A very effective training method I used for my aussie, actually, was based around schutzhund obedience and I think it works incredibly well for dogs that are easily distracted, although it might mean going back to the basics with your Hazel. The essential part of the training is you never teach the dog commands like "stay" - that is he is instead trained to do what you have told (sit, lay down, whatever) until he is given a release. Regardless of what you do. Regardless of if you move, walk away, or if it's 10 minutes or a full hour or more, he follows the last command he was given, until he is either given a new command, or released from the last. There is a lot of conditioning, and it takes longer to train this way, but it's ultimately more effective in the long run, and you might find you have good results with your Dane on this - and probably your Weim too.

equiniphile 06-14-2010 10:15 PM

IH, sorry to get off topic, but i've never heard of that training method. It seems like it would be a lot more effective, though.
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IllComeALopin 06-15-2010 02:56 PM

[QUOTE=Indyhorse;660435]The essential part of the training is you never teach the dog commands like "stay" - that is he is instead trained to do what you have told (sit, lay down, whatever) until he is given a release. QUOTE]

This is what I was always taught too.
You don't have to teach stay because it is expected.

The dogs I seen pulling were MUCH heavier built. Again, the first dog is a Dane mix. Personally I really would not recomend using her only becuase of the breed's very common hip issues.
I would consult your vet about her for sure if nothing else.

travlingypsy 06-15-2010 03:21 PM

Have you thought about just getting a mini pony cart? Imo they seem nice cause they got the good seats, ive been trying to find one on CL for my rottie.


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