From a client who has brought four of her five dogs to our classes. Three for behavior work and one for Rally Obedience (and is continuing with this as you'll see when you read this).
I bring all of this up to make one point. If you watch weight pull competition videos on YouTube, you will see countless ignorant comments from self-professed animal lovers calling the sport and training cruel. Working a dog is not cruel. My experience in training thus far has shown me that my dogs love and are fulfilled by the process of learning. They beam with pride when they are well worked and know they’ve pleased me. And even when they are well exercised, I can grab the leash and they are rearing to go again. Certainly there are cruel people in the sport of weight pull, but most of them aren’t very successful. The people and dogs that are winning competitions have spent countless hours together working, conditioning, and bonding. Perhaps a dog will pull for fear of punishment, or with the frustrated energy of trying to get to a toy or other bait, but champions have proven that a dog will pull MORE for the sheer joy of pleasing you and satisfying their intrinsic desire to work.
I guess I’m just venting a little, but I’m also justifying the hours I put into my dogs. I hear so many excuses from people about why they can’t get their dog out for a walk, or put even 10 minutes a day into helping a dog through a behavioral issue. Somehow I manage, and it’s on top of working a full time job and working to establish a non-profit pit bull advocacy group. It’s about priorities. And the unconditional love and devotion I get from my dogs can trump the temporary amusement from watching T.V. any day. It’s easy for those sitting on the sidelines to judge, but I know that my relationship with my dogs has improved as a result of working with them, and alongside them. Dogs truly are man’s best friend – and training can take that relationship to the next level. I hope that my boy will one day pull some ridiculous amount of weight for me. If he doesn’t, I won’t love him any less. If he does, I know he’ll have done it for me, and because he WANTS to.