Draft Dog Exercises

all exercises are performed off lead


Basic Control
Following the judge's instructions, the handler commands the dog to walk with him/her, off 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 handler then tells the dog to sit and stay and walks 30 feet away, turns, and faces the dog. 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 leaves the dog 30 feet from the cart in a sit, down or stand while they go to the cart to get the harness. The handler returns to the dog and harnesses the dog. The dog must cooperate for harnessing. The dog must back 4 feet towards the cart in 30 seconds. The handler then hitches the dog to the draft apparatus. 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 slow, halt and back up. The 90 degree turns will be 28 inches wide and only the inside tire must stay in the 28 inch lane. The dog may bump some objects, but more than 2 bumps is a failure of the course.


Out of Sight Stay and Freight Load
While hitched to the apparatus, the dog performs a 3 minute stay, in in a group of up to 6 dogs, while the handler is out of sight. The judges then watch each handler individually load the 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 the Draft Dog division are:
Five to twenty (5-20) pounds for a travois.
Fifteen to fifty (15-50) pounds for a sled or toboggan.
Twenty-five to one hundred (25-100) pounds for a wheeled apparatus.


Distance Freight Haul
A cross country course of at least one mile is traversed by the dog, in a group of dogs no more than 6, hauling its loaded draft apparatus, accompanied by the handler. At the end of the mile the judges will witness each handler individually unhitch their dog.


Team Division
Dogs who have passed the single division at a previous test may enter the team division. The exercises are the same, except that two or more dogs work together performing the exercises at the same time and the weight is increased.
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 “Draft Dog (DD)” or “Team Draft Dog (TDD)” by the Newfoundland Club of America.