After discovering Canine Resistance Training in 2018 through another dog trainer, I knew right away that I wanted to start both my dogs on this program. Not only have they gotten in great physical shape (at ages 10 and 13), but it's actually their emotional well-being that has seen the greatest benefit. My whole training philosophy revolves around the dog's want, and often real need, to do constructive work. Ashley's program strikes the crucial balance between actual work and a fun work-out activity that provides loads of bonding between dog and owner.
The best, most concise description of Canine Resistance Training (CRT) comes from the founder and creator, Ashley Sculac:
“The CRT program is a customized strength and conditioning program available for all dogs, regardless of sport, age, or breed. The program is multi-phased, uncomplicated, and yet comprehensive. It is broken down and simplified into a process that is easy and SAFE to integrate into any dog’s training and life routine. Whether your dog is heavily involved in sports and you are looking for a unique cross training program, or you are simply looking for a way to prevent injuries, CRT can help. If you have aspirations to compete and do it safely while maintaining your dog’s integrity and physical well-being, CRT will properly build your dog up slowly to give you longevity and a beautiful relationship in the process.“
Who is Canine Resistance Training for?
I recommend CRT to just about everyone with a dog! You’d be surprised, even pugs and other “non-working” breeds will love it. While every dog in my opinion is a “working dog,” the obvious participants are performance dogs. Their owners are looking to increase strength, stamina, and muscle structure to help reduce the risk of injury to their dog during practice and competitions.
My favorite clients are dogs who need behavioral rehabilitation. Dogs with reactivity, anxiety, and even aggression who are most in need of a safe, healthy activity that they can safely participate in. CRT will build confidence in shy dogs, and give reactive or aggressive dogs a place to focus and channel their energy. This creates a direction and purpose for their fight/flight energy. It’s a great way to “redirect” and refocus your dog in a completely healthy and positive way.
Canine Resistance Training is an excellent way to work high-drive dogs, especially those who are strong on the leash and prone to "seeking conflict." A dog with a desire for conflict can find resolution in drag work because he must draw upon all of his energy reserves to push into the harness and complete his task. The conflict is with the work itself, not with any outside stimulus.
CRT Health Requirements:
- Structurally mature dog, usually 12 months of age, or 18 months for large/giant breeds
- Approval from your veterinarian or canine physiotherapist
CRT Equipment Needed:
- Custom made weight pull harness, specifically designed for CRT
- Flexi leash or long line
- Flat collar or martingale collar
- Custom CRT program provided by a trainer
- Chains cut & weighed
I can't stress enough how important it is to exercise your dog, but with the proper activities. My favorite activities tap into the dog’s natural drive to work, while also keeping them under threshold. Canine Resistance Training is one of our favorite ways to channel and burn that excess energy in a "low and slow" manner.
I was honestly so impressed by my dogs' love of CRT. The more weight I attach to the harness, the more excited they are to pull. I'm happy to share this experience with other owners so they can realize the true potential of their dogs, and the deep bond this type of work can create. I hope more people will get on board with this style of training, which allows the dog to build confidence through their partnership with the handler.
For more information on how to train, please see: CRT Services
If you are local to the Chattanooga or Knoxville area, check out this Weight Pull Club: Scruffy City Strong Dogs