Carting Competition, Pace and Handiness Test

Reprinted from Giant Steps © ‑July/August 1982

To be judged on rhythm, straightness of track, smoothness of transition and ease and accuracy of execution. The dog may sit o r remain standing on the halt. The dog may be given verbal commands or hand signals by the handler. The handler may encourage the dog but may not touch the dog nor the cart. The handler may walk a t the heel position or alongside the cart. 

The novice exercises performed only on lead. The open exercise is performed both on and off lead.

A. Heeling 

1.      Cart dog and handler enter ring, positioning team for first part of exercise.

a.    Judge asks "Are you ready?" Commands “Forward.” After five or six paces the command "Halt" is given. The Judge should note the rhythm of the team in stopping the cart, straightness of the cart to track, position of cart dog to handler, does handler adjust to dog, does team display rhythm and smoothness in stopping.

b.    Command “Forward” is given.  Team proceeds to end of ring where “Left” or "Right turn" is given- - handler may execute turn with or without command to cart dog.

c.    Halfway across the ring “Right” or “Left turn” command is given – after several paces the command "Fast" is given- - then the command "Normal" is given just beyond the halfway point of the ring.

d.    As the team approaches the end of the ring, the command “Left” o r "Right turn" is given. This takes the team toward the original starting position.  The team is then given the command "Left-about-turn. “ This demonstrates the ability of the cart dog to execute an about turn to the dog's left o r inside.  (Deductions are made for turning too wide.)

e.    After executing the “Left-about-turn,” the command “Slow” is given.  Then "Normal" and at the edge o f the ring, a "Right turn" is given. After several paces the command "Halt" is given. The command "Forward" is given and at the end of the ring, a command for "Right-about-turn" is given. About mid-ring, a “Left” turn command is given, thus positioning the team for the figure eight exercise.

f.      Figure eight exercise:  Cart dog and handler are positioned for the figure eight exercise.  Judge states, "You may go in either direction, " (then) "Are you ready?" Team executes the figure eight. Judge notes cart dog's ability to go around post without bumping post.  NOTE: In carting the stewards should stand twelve (12) feet apart.

B. Backing-up

1.    Handler and cart dog are positioned for the “Back-up” exercise.  (Cart dog is required to back up the cart at least four feet.)  To be judged on rhythm, straightness of track, smoothness of transition, ease and accuracy of execution.  NOTE: A metal yardstick is placed 12 inches behind and to the outside of the left wheel, to be used as a guide.

a.      Judge asks “Are you ready?”  Commands “Back up your cart.”

C.  Circle Left

1.    Cart dog and handler are positioned for the “Circle left" exercise. (Left wheel in center of circle.)

a.    Judge asks "Are you ready?" Dog must execute a 360-degree turn, keeping the left wheel inside the 24-inch-diameter circle. (Dog to be judged on ability to keep wheel in circle. Deductions for leaving circle depend upon distance from center of circle. )

D. Circle Right

1.     Cart dog and handler a repositioned for the “Circle right" exercise.

(Right wheel in center of circle.)

a.    Judge asks "Are you ready?" Dog must execute a 360-degree turn, keeping the right wheel inside a 24- inch- diameter circle.   NOTE: floor (for both Circle Left and Circle Right exercises).24- inch circle can be spray- painted on grass or chalked on mat or floor (for both the Circle Left and Circle Right exercises).

E. Recall

1.    Cart dog and handler are positioned for the “Recall” exercise.  Dog is required to return to handler through the gate with a distance of 12 inches wider than the cart.

a.    The Judge informs the handler (that) this is the Recall exercise: “Are you ready?”  At the command. “Leave your dog,” the handler commands the dog, “Stay,” proceeds to the gate and removes the bar. The handler proceeds through the gate positioning himself on the far side of the gate with sufficient room to call the dog through the gate. On the command, the handler calls the cart dog.  The cart dog must proceed through the gate without interfering with the gate.  The cart dog should come to a halt in front of the handler.  (The dog may sit or remain standing.)  Upon the Judge’s command to “Finish,”  the handler returns to the right side of the cart by walking around to the left rear and stops in the proper position.  The cart dog should not move while the handler is returning to the right side.

*NOTE: When judging carting competition, the judge should use the Regulations for Performance and Judging as approved by 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.

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 therefore important to note the dog’s 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 toward the rear of the cart, thus changing the balance of the load.  The cart dog should be able to move the cart forward without and noticeable sudden movement of the cart.  The forward motion should be smooth and effortless.

On the command, "Halt," the dog should bring the cart to a smooth stop so that the rings on the shafts do not ride up against the loops of the harness, thus pushing the harness forward toward the shoulder.

On the command, "Left" 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 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 exercise, 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 anyone interfering with his movement. The cart dog is able to recognize and sense the distance necessary to maneuver the cart through a given space. Thus, if the cart dog bumps the post, the exercise is scored failure or zero.

The Back-up exercise is the most difficult maneuver the cart dog is called upon t o 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 backward in a straight line, without turning it over o r dumping the load. (Of course, in competition there is no load in the cart.)

The "Circle left" and "Circle right" exercises demonstrate the cart dog's ability t o side-step the cart in as tight a turn as is possible. The ideal is that the inside wheel not move from the spot but merely pivot in place.

The "Recall" exercise not only demonstrates the cart dog's ability to come when called, but his / her ability 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'' maneuvers again demonstrate the cart dog's abi1ity to change pace without disturbing the load.


ON LEAD:          

            HEEL & FIGURE EIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 points

BACK-UP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 points

CIRCLE LEFT . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . .15 points

CIRCLE RIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 points

RECALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 points


TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 points


OFF LEAD:        

            HEEL & FIGURE EIGHT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 points

BACK-UP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 points

CIRCLE LEFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 points

CIRCLE RIGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 points

RECALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 points


TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 points


MAXIMUM SCORE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 points


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