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

Carting Demo Routines

If you are not interested in competition with your cart dog, you may wish to join three carting friends and engage in precision drill with your cart dogs. A few Giant Schnauzers fanciers developed the following routines for carting exhibitions.


Weeping Willow Routine

1. Cart Dogs #1, #2, #3, #4, enter ring in line and go clockwise.

2. #1 will cut up the center of the ring from the side they want to end up facing. #1 and #3 go right, #2 and #4 go left around the ring and then come up the center again in pairs.

3. #1 and #2 go to far sides and all four come down the ring in a line. Sit Dogs and wait for applause.

4. Ringmaster introduces handlers and Cart Dogs starting with #1. (stand Cart Dog by taking one step forward as you are introduced.)


Banner Routine

1. When Cart have formed square (diagram shows order of dogs only, #1 may be at North, South, East or West Position, depending on when the square forms), #1 moves up alongside #2, #3 moves up alongside #4. Pass Banners. Start moving #I & #3 out to end of Banners, making full circle so everyone can read Banners and staying in 180 circle.

2. Move back in, #1 going in ahead of #2 and #3 ahead of #4. # 1 and #3 put Banners in Cuts.



Final Routine

1. No matter who is where, scramble to closest position in final line-up. Sit Cart Dogs!

Bow to Audience! Leader exits clockwise.



Crossover from Four Corners Routine

1. In this Routine, two dogs will be crossing simultaneously Go to the left so that Handlers will be between the dogs. #1 & #3 move out together and cross to opposite corner. #2 & #4 do the same seconds later. As they get to their corners, #1 & #3 will have turned around and started the return. #2 & #4 do likewise.

2. When you are back in your original corner, begin moving clockwise to line up behind #1.


Basket Weave Routine

1. Note: When you make your turn at the head of the line, go to the left of the cart behind you, then Weave. People coming up the line waiting to turn remain straight.

2. Routine ends when #1 leads the group clockwise around the ring and begins making smaller circles to start the next formation. (Banners should be in Banner Routine Cart #2 & #4.)


Recall Routine

1. Ringmaster calls for about turn (#1 & #3 do a Right About Turn - #2 & #4 do a Left About Turn) go to opposite end of Ring. Do an About Turn and Stop Dogs in line. Sit Dogs.

2. Ringmaster calls "leave your dog". When Handlers are in line facing dogs, Ringmaster calls "Call Your Dog". Dogs come and sit. Ringmaster calls "Return to your dog". Handlers circle Cart and go the the Cart Dogs right shoulder. Demo continues with #2 leading off clockwise.



Crossover from Two Corners Routine

1. #1 & #3 drop off diagonal to where they have been at end of Recall. #2 & #4 stop diagonal to where they have been.

2. #1 always moves out first, followed by #2, #3, #4. Turn at your corner, keep moving and do the crossover again returning to original position shown.

3. #1 & #2 only - cross over a third time to create starting position for next Routine.


The above information was presented in order that you and your Cart Dog have enjoyment with your cart. Remember, Carting is fun and something that your dog should enjoy. The dog depends on you to make it fun. DO SO!

Copyright © The Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. MNT Publishing