How to Get a Carting Certificate for your Giant Schnauzer
By Harry Russ
Photos submitted by Harry Russ
Reprinted from Giant Steps © ‑July/August 1998
You can also see: Carting Competition, Pace and Handiness Test
Many breed clubs have established carting certification and award certificates. The Giant Schnauzer Club of America is one of those clubs. However it is one of the least known certification's available to a member of the GSCA. This certification was established by the Club in the late 70's and only a handful of Club members availed themselves of the opportunity to have their Giants earn a carting certificate.
As the Giant has grown in popularity, many owners of Giants have become involved with working their dogs in such sports as Agility, Herding, Obedience and Schutzhund. There is another area of work that the Giant is very adept at learning and from personal experience, loves to do. That is pulling a dog cart and learning all the maneuvers that are necessary to be a proficient cart dog.
All you need to practice the carting routine is a space forty (40) feet by sixty (60) feet and two posts that can be set up as gates and have the dog pull the cart through. An eighteen (18) inch circle is used for the circle right and circle left, and can be cut out of a piece of cardboard and spray painted white around the edges to get a perfect eighteen inch circle.
The following routine has been accepted by the Club and is fun as well as practical for your dog to master. The following narrative will give you some idea of what is involved in the dog cart judging and what is expected of you and your dog in the routine.
General Comments on Judging Performance and Execution
Each command in carting requiring the dog to move the cart requires some degree of execution on the part of the dog which affects the movement of the cart and any load in the cart. It is important to note the dogs ability to move the cart without any jerking or lateral movement.
On the command FORWARD, the cart dog must be able to move the cart from a standing position without any noticeable degree of sudden jerking forward. This type of movement would cause any load in the cart to move towards the rear thus changing the balance of the load. The cart dog should be able to move the cart forward with out any noticeable sudden movement of the cart. The forward motion should be smooth and effortless. On the command HALT, the cart dog should bring the cart to a smooth stop so that the rings on the shaft do not ride up against the loops of the harness thus pushing the harness forward towards the shoulder. On the command LEFT TURN or RIGHT TURN, the cart dog should be able to turn the cart in the shortest possible arc. This means the dog must be able to side step while turning. If the cart dog does not side step, but merely walks in a turning direction, the arc will be much greater than if the dog side stepped.
In the FIGURE EIGHT behavior pattern, the cart dog demonstrates the ability to move the cart around people. This ability is necessary when the cart dog moves through shopping centers and other populated areas. It is indeed rare that the dog will be able to proceed in a straight line without interfering with his movement. The cart dog is able to recognize and sense the distance necessary to maneuver the cart through a given space. If the cart dog bumps the post, the exercise is scored a failure or zero.
The BACK UP behavior pattern is the most difficult maneuver the cart dog is called upon to perform. It is necessary for the dog to learn to back‑up the cart as there are times when the cart team finds it impossible to continue to move forward, and must move to the rear in order to avoid an obstacle and move around it. The cart dog is judged on the ability to move the cart backwards in a straight line, at least four feet, without turning it over or dumping the load. Of course, in competition there is no load in the cart.)
The CIRCLE LEFT and CIRCLE RIGHT behavior patterns, demonstrate the cart dog's ability to side step the cart in as tight a turn as possible. The ideal is that the inside wheel not move from the spot but merely pivot in place.
The RECALL behavior pattern not only demonstrates the cart dog’s ability to come when called, but the agility to move the cart through a gate with six inches clearance on either side of the wheels. The dog is not guided through the gate but must maneuver through the gate on his own. The FAST and SLOW behavior patterns again demonstrate the cart dog's ability to change pace with out disturbing the load.
Carting competition is to be judged on rhythm, straightness of tract, smoothness of transition and ease and accuracy of execution. The dog may sit or remain standing on the halt. The dog may be given verbal commands or hand signals by the handler. The handler may walk at heel position or along side the cart. The handler may not touch the dog or the cart. The CARTING CERTIFICATION EXERCISE is performed only on lead. The ADVANCED CARTING CERTIFICATION EXERCISE is performed off lead.
Many Breed Clubs such as the GSCA, the Bouvier Club of America, the Bernese Mt. Dog Club, the Collie Club, and the Newfoundland Club all have carting competition and certifications. They are held in conjunction with their specialties. The GSCA has not had a competition in many years and it is a shame for all the Giants I know of that carted are almost over the hill. So... get out and give it a try!!!NOTE* When judging carting competition, the judge should use the Regulation for Performance and Judging as approved by the American Kennel Club as a guide. The fact that the dog is working with a cart does not substantially alter the obedience regulations and requirements of performance.
Carting Competition Diagram
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