While dog carting was once important in helping farmers and merchants transport their products economically, it is now a way of connecting to the service heritage of our canines in a delightful fashion; in other words it is a fun thing to do with your dog.
Even the formal draft dog tests can and should be fun. In the United Kingdom the Draught Dog Test Regulations used by the Newfoundland Club and the Northern Newfoundland Club have actually incorporated the concept of fun right into the rules: A test day is for entrants to have FUN with their dogs and delight in their joint achievements and those of fellow Newfoundland owners. Even at a test, remember never to become so serious that the fun goes out of working for either you or your Newfoundland.
Since pictures speak louder than words I have some examples of special ways that people have had fun with dog carting. Eleven year old Tara Funston of Kitchener, Ontario didn’t let the fact that her five month old Newfoundland pup, Rowdy, was too young to cart in the conventional way stop her fun; instead she got in a cart and put the puppy in her lap.
Mary-Wynn Fini, a native of Newfoundland now residing in Toronto, got very inventive in keeping the fun in dog carting. She has two Newfs, a black named Teddy and a Landseer called Lizzie. After investing in harness for both and buying a wagon along with a conversion kit she started them on lessons. Teddy took to it fine but Lizzie was somewhat reluctant; so Mary-Wynn put a giant cushion in the wagon and let her princess ride.
Mary-Wynn also has Ginger, a 12 year old Chihuahua. Ginger is showing signs of her age and soon may not be able to keep up with the younger dogs. In preparation for this eventuality she has been training the little one to ride in the wagon pulled by Teddy. Now Ginger has the choice of walking behind the wagon or riding and Mary-Wynn knows that she will never have to leave her old girl behind when they go through the trails at her country estate.Peter Maniate is a Newfoundland dog breeder and a professional trainer specializing in dog carting. Since 1979 he has been writing a bi-monthly column in the Newf News entitled Carting Corner. The preceding column originally appeared in the July/August, 2008 issue. Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.