Does It Take a Tender Person To Make a Tough Dog?

The director of a documentary called Body Pound started following me on Twitter recently.

And no, I don’t follow everyone who follows me. So I had to check it out.

What the heck is Body Pound?

It’s this:

 


And it’s also this:

My first thought? This is weird.

Pitbulls pulling enormous weights along a track?

Honey the Golden Retriever joyfully finds a stick.

What do you think this stick weighs? 5000? 6000 pounds?

But then I thought again. Am I bringing deep-set prejudices (that I’d rather deny) to my opinion of the sport?

Is it any weirder than agility? Rally trials? Dog Freestyle (doggie dancing to most of us)?

And most importantly, do the dogs love it? And do their people love them?

This movie will get people talking. And thinking. And I can’t wait to see it.

Do you love the idea of dog weight pulling? Or hate it? Or will you wait to see the movie?

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Comments

  1. I LOVE IT!!! As a proud owned by 6 Pit Bulls I think this is a fabulous “manly” alternative sport for a breed. They can be unbelievable strong (which mine are not, couch potatoes that they are) and having seen this sport in person the dogs do indeed LOVE it!! Done right I think it a great sport.

    • I’ve reviewed objections by animal advocates to the sport and the main one has been that it’s hard work.

      Truth is that dogs (and people) were created to work our bodies. It’s more cruel to not work.

      As for couch potatoes, maybe yours would help you move the couch. :)

  2. Dogs love jobs. We love having challenges. Any “sport” that is done safely is good. Any sport — agility, dancing, rally, obedience, dog show ring, hunting, dock diving — can be good or bad for a dog depending on the attitude of the handler. If the handler loves and respects the dog, it’s a great thing. If the handler is in it only for the handler, then it’s a bad thing.

    • Well put. And when I watched the documentary I was looking carefully for signs of stress in the dogs or equipment that could harm dogs.

      I didn’t see it. I saw flat collars instead of pinch or prongs. I saw dogs wagging their tails. I saw safety devices to prevent a dog from getting injured.

      A typical you tube video of a dog barking at a vacuum cleaner shows much more stress than I saw in these clips.

      But you’re right. There are a@@holes in every sport. And that’s what animal advocates need to beware of.

  3. If done properly I think it is a great sport!

  4. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    My first reaction to these videos was one of real concern for the dogs’ back and chest. But after reading some of the comments, I decided that it’s like any other sport — done/handled correctly and safely, both dog and owner/handler can enjoy it and benefit from it. I don’t, however, have any real interest in seeing the movie.

  5. I think it looks pretty good. It goes back to the “A tired dog is a good dog.” And I’m sure the dogs are protected. They probably love it. Look at sled dogs.

  6. Like Rhythm says, as long as the dog is enjoying themselves and precautions are taken make sure the dog isn’t injured, then who am I to judge?

    As you said, there are a lot of a@@holes in any sport and i feel sorry for the animals handled by them.

    You know that I won’t make my dog do something I know they don’t enjoy. Case in point Sampson and agility, he could care less. So he stays home. We’ll see how he does when we rent a dock for diving this year. đŸ˜‰

  7. I guess my feelings about this are the same as for any dog sport…It’s all about the training methods…If they are kind, patient and gentle I have no issues…Back when I competed in hunt tests I witnessed abuse that made me ill…As long as the dogs are respected and cared for this is no different than obedience trials

  8. I have heard of weight pulling competitions before but not specifically for pit bull type dogs. They are popular events in Northern Canada for larger, sledding breeds from what I’ve read. And then when I read “Wallace” I learned even more. It sounds pretty rewarding for the dogs that compete and I imagine dogs who were bred to pull, like Huskies and cart dogs like Bernese Mountain dogs, would enjoy it to some degree.

    I’m so glad you checked it out! It sounds like a positive piece on pit bulls, something that is always needed!

  9. That is something that at first makes you go, “Hmmmm.” But like others have commented, if the dogs love it and the handling/training is done well, it sounds great. Some dogs need jobs, so those types of dogs probably love doing all these “sports” their people get them in to. Our last pup was SUCH a puller. I’m certain she had some sort of sledding breed mixed in her. She was a great help on many a tough hike! Miss that kid…

  10. The key definitely is if the dog enjoys it! I have see videos where it looks like the dog is in agony, but that definitely isn’t the norm as far as I’ve found!

  11. We are meant for hard work – so are our animals. We need to be kind, train up, keep our eyes on the prize (the dog/horse, not the win), and respect the animal working for/with us. Our society is turning sedentary but how well don’t you/I feel when we’ve done some hard work in the garden, on a run, cleaning the house (oops, gotta do that…). I’m not interested in the movie but agree with others – the dogs look like they are enjoying themselves; if not, they wouldn’t pull, horses wouldn’t jump puissance (super high jumps where they can’t see the other side; their trust is completely in their rider)….there are bad apples in any sport.

  12. I have a friend who has been doing weight pulling with her sheltie for a few years (I’ve been planning to ask her to do an interview for my blog about it). I can’t say that I’ve ever heard about dogs getting hurt or suffering from the long term effects of weight-pulling, yet when I was on several agility lists many dogs ended up suffering from injuries often ones that ended their agility career.

  13. What I know is that some dogs NEED a job, just like they need food, water and shelter. Without a job and a focus, they become destructive or crazy. Honestly, if Kuster weren’t a working dog, holy cow, would he be a terror. He’s an extremely drivey animal. Even though weight pulling wouldn’t be my cup of tea, it looks to me like these people are spending a lot of time training these dogs and there’s a lot of pride and love coming both ways. It looks like something that could be considered really masculine without having dogs tearing each other apart. I think a lot of guys might really get into it with their dogs. As long as people are using sense when they’re training and competing with their dogs, I see it as a good thing.

  14. I think that weight pulling is a great sport! The dogs wouldn’t do it if they didn’t like it. Like Houndstooth said, it’s a masculine way to display a dogs skills without the fighting aspect. Weight pulling isn’t restricted to Pit Bulls, either. Labs, Newfs, St. Bernards, Malamutes, Huskies and mixed breeds participate all the time. I’ll watch the doc when it comes out.

  15. Keep in mind I am totally biased by Kol’s current energy levels and his freakishly strong for his size physique, it sounds like a great way to tire a dog out. I also like that it’s a way to have a big, macho dog in a friendly sport. Is there a potential for injury? Of course. There’s a potential for injury in everything in life. Live life anyways.

  16. I don’t know how interested I am in watching the movies, but I’ve heard of weight pulling as an exercise for a number of breeds (besides, y’know, sled dogs ^^), so it hasn’t occurred to me to think of it in a negative light.

  17. My trainer and pack walk organizer has suggested mom and dad do weight pull with me. I already love pulling dad around on his skateboard. Mom wants to wait until I am a little older just to make sure all my bones and muscles are stronger, but she would like to find out if I like this sport.

    One of the reason pittie types and strong breeds like me can get into trouble is that we need to work and we need to think and we need to have a job to do (well, most of us anyway). We were bred to work hard. I think it’s good for people to see us on TV and in movies doing a job like we were supposed to do, instead of the business they usually talk about, which is horrible and not at all as common as the news would like you to think.

  18. Kirby the Dorkie says:

    When I was a pup I pulled a cast iron umbrella stand (mama could barely lift it) I was tied to off the deck an across the yard like it was a feather. So I think if its something a dog likes to do then do it. A good pawrent can tell the difference.

  19. I think it is a fine sport so long as the dog does it willingly and happily. This is true for any dogsport.

    I even know a Cardigan Corgi who does weight pulls! (but not one of mine…)

Trackbacks

  1. […] watching some cool videos of pit bull weight-pulling contests on Something Wagging This Way Comes I remembered that weight-pulling was how Wallace got his start. While the dog waited in the shelter […]