Dogs pull to win this weekend

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

Another season of competition and fun for both competitive dogs and their owners will begin in Suffolk on Saturday and Sunday.

The Mid-Atlantic Weight Pullers competition will be held at Epps Farm Supply on Joshua Lane on Saturday and Sunday. The competition is part of the International Weight Pull Association, a nonprofit that promotes the dog sport in organized, safe and family-friendly events.

Each participating dog must pull a sled or cart weighted with cinder blocks 16 feet within 60 seconds, according to IWPA rules. There are eight different dog weight classes, from 20 pounds and under to more than 151 pounds. The winning dog is decided by the most weight pulled in the shortest time.

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Owners must always have their dogs under control, and absolutely no cruelty is tolerated. Debbie Lee, a Tidewater regional representative for weight pulling, said whether or not the dogs pull off that 16 feet is up to the dogs themselves. The whole point of each competition is to make it fun and exciting for the dogs, because that’s how they excel.

“If they do not want to do it then they won’t, but if they’re really passionate about what they’re doing, then usually the only trouble is getting out of their way,” Lee said.

Lee has been training dogs for more than 24 years and is an official judge for the IWPA and the United Kennel Club. She and her friend Carol Dodds were at the championship competitions in Grand Rapids, Mich., back in May, where Chewy, the 8-pound poodle that belongs to Dodds, won Gold in the ice arena.

That poodle pulled 90 pounds to break the record for the zero-to-10-pound weight class in the ice arena. He also set a new record for the wheels-on-carpet competition by pulling 307 pounds, according to Lee.

“It was pretty impressive,” Lee said. “When we showed up there (in Grand Rapids) people surrounded the van, wanting to see this little power dog.”

Weigh-ins will be held from 8 a.m. until competition starts at 9 a.m. on both days. Spectators pay no fee, while it’s $10 for the first dog entry and $8 for each additional entry. Non-members need to pay an additional $5 per dog.

Visit or search “Mid-Atlantic Weight Pullers” on Facebook for more information.