Beginner Draft Dog Exercises

all exercises are performed on a loose lead


Basic Control
Following the judge's instructions, the handler commands the dog to walk with him/her with a loose leash, starting near the cart, for 60', do an about turn and walk back 60'. An additional halt will be somewhere in the pattern. The leash is then switched for a 15 foot leash. The handler tells the dog to sit and stay and goes to the end of the 15 foot leash. The handler calls the dog who must come to the handler and stop within 4 feet. All exhibitors will complete basic control even if they have a CD.


Harnessing, Hitching & Equipment Check
The handler walks with the dog, on leash, to a place within 6 feet of the cart. The handler harnesses and hitches their dog with the leash on. The equipment selected by the handler must be in good working condition, safe and appropriate for the test site and dog. The dog pulls the cart forward about 20 feet and the judges check the equipment.


Maneuvering Course and Basic Commands
With the dog hitched to the draft apparatus, the dog and handler traverse a course of circular patterns, broad curves, 90 degree turns, narrow areas, and a removable obstacle. At appropriate locations along the maneuvering course, the dog will also perform a halt and back up. The 90 degree turns will be 36 inches wide and only the inside tire must stay in the 36 inch lane. The dog may bump some objects, but more than 4 bumps is a failure of the course.


Out of Sight Stay and Freight Load
While hitched to the apparatus, the dog performs a 1- minute stay, in a group of up to 6 dogs, while the handler is in front of the dog at the end of the 6 foot leash. The judges then watch each handler individually load and secure their weight into the apparatus in preparation for the freight haul. The judges will check that the load is balanced and watch the dog move pulling the load before the exercise is finished. Appropriate weights for Beginner Draft are:
Five to ten (5-10) pounds for a travois.
Five to fifteen (5-15) pounds for a sled or toboggan.
Ten to twenty (10-20) pounds for a wheeled apparatus.


Distance Freight Haul
A cross country course of at least 1/2 mile is traversed by the dog in a group of dogs, not more than 6, hauling its loaded draft apparatus, accompanied by the handler and while on leash. At the end of the half mile the judges will witness each handler individually unhitch their dog.


All exercises are scored Pass or Fail based on the standards of performance as outlined in the Draft Test Regulations.
Dogs who pass all exercises are awarded the title “Beginner Draft Dog (BDD)” by the Newfoundland Club of America.