Tri-State Alaskan Malamute Club-badge

Tri-State Alaskan Malamute Club

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These weight pull rules have been created using a combination of ISDRA, IWPA, and TSAMC policies and preferences. We believe that we have made up a set of rules that are fair and competitive and will address most situations that have been experienced over the years. This latest revision is intended to align TSAMC rules with those of other weight pull organizations.

The TSAMC Board of Directors or the Management of the hosting facility has the right at any time before or during any event to terminate said event in cases of dangerous weather conditions or other extenuating circumstances that would interfere with running a safe event. Competitors will be responsible for calling a board member or event liaison to find out if a cancellation has been made. A decision will be made as early as possible.


A.     CHUTE

1.       The weight-pulling contest shall be in a chute not less than ten (10) feet wide and not more than fifteen (15) feet wide.

2.       The chute shall be no less than thirty-five (35) feet long.

3.       Chute barriers shall be constructed of a material that possesses a bouncing off or glancing ability when struck by a dog or the sled/cart.

a)      Plywood, wood planks, hog panels, snow fence or other such material may be used.

4.       There shall be a physical barrier to separate the crowd from the pulling chute.

a)      Rope or pennant flags would be suitable for this purpose.

5.       The area directly ahead of the pulling chute must remain clear of spectators and dogs.


1.       The pulling surface shall be as level and as uniform as conditions permit.

2.       If there is a perceptible slope, dogs shall pull toward the higher end.

3.       The dogs shall achieve traction on the same surface that the sled/cart rides.

a)      Exception being if the pull chute is a hard surface, such as pavement or concrete, the dogs will pull on grass or carpet to provide traction and avoid injury.

4.       For sled pulls, snow shall be as hard packed as conditions permit.


1.       The length of the pulling chute shall have markers designating the following:

a)      Start Line – is the actual start of the pull. All other lines will be measured from the start line.

b)      Break Line - to be two (2) feet in back of the Start Line.

c)      Dog Stance Line - to be five (5) feet past the Start Line.

d)      Finish Line - to be sixteen (16) feet past the Start Line.

e)      Handler Line – is the same as the finish line.

2.       Lines can be marked with either of the following methods:

a)      Marking on the course surface such as Lime, paint, watercolors and etc.

b)      Colored markers placed, on each side of the chute, to make an invisible plane across the chute.


1.       A holding area large enough to accommodate the anticipated entries shall be provided directly behind or adjacent to the Starting Line of the Pulling Chute.

2.       No dogs, including those not competing, shall be allowed in the general areas adjacent to the Pulling Chute.



1.       A sled/cart shall be provided capable of carrying a load of four thousand (4,000) pounds.

2.       The sled/cart shall be provided with an adequate bridle and tugline.

a)      The length of the bridle and tugline from the sled/cart to the dog's harness shall be six (6) feet long.

b)      The bridle and tug line shall be made of rope or nylon. No chains or cable will be allowed.

3.       Sled/Cart shall be a minimum of thirty (30) inches wide.

4.       Sled runners shall be two (2) to four (4) inches wide and six (6) to ten (10) feet long on the flat surface.

a)      Runners shall be curved at both ends in a reasonable manner for a sled.

b)      Runner surface shall be shod with plastic or other smooth material.

5.       Cart shall consist of four (4) wheels, two (2) to eight (8) inches wide and no larger than a thirteen (13) inch car tire.

a)      A spare tire shall be available at the pull site.

b)      Tires shall have equal pressure.


1.       An adequate supply of pre-weighed, inert material suitable for safe and stable stacking shall be provided.


1.       Dogs must use a freight type harness.



1.       Officials will be selected by the host club.

a)      One person may be designated to more than one official duty.

b)      Some duties may be shared depending on availability of personnel.


1.       Shall supervise the over-all event.

2.       Shall make all final decisions in any protest or dispute before, during, and after the event.

3.       Has the right to disqualify any dog or handler for any violation of the rules or unsportsmanlike conduct, before, during and after the event.


1.       The Course Marshall(s) shall be responsible for:

a)      Safe and proper stacking of weight on the sled/cart.

b)      Proper positioning of the sled/cart.

c)      Hooking up of the dogs to the sled/cart.

d)      Breaking the sled.

e)      Maintenance of the pulling course.


1.       Shall time each pull and report that time directly to the official recorder.


1.       Shall record for each dog the weight pulled and the time required to the official score sheet.

2.       Shall see to it that dogs are called to their turn.



1.       An entry form for a weight pull shall be submitted prior to the weight pull entry deadline.

a)      Deadline will be one (l) hour prior to the scheduled start of the pull.

2.       Any entry may be rejected for just cause, including but not limited to the following reasons:

a)      Past entry deadline.

b)      Failure to pass drug test and/or veterinarian inspection.

c)      Unsportsmanlike conduct.

3.       Entrants must be listed on an official TSAMC entry form signed by the person responsible for the dog(s) at the event.

B.     DOGS

1.       Dogs competing must be at least one (1) year old.

2.       Must be currently immunized against any contagious canine diseases.

3.       No female in season shall be allowed to compete or allowed in the general area of the pull.

4.       No pregnant female shall be allowed to compete.

5.       All vicious or unmanageable dogs may be barred from competition.

a)      Each case will be decided by the board on an individual basis.

b)      Aggressive behavior towards handlers, Sled Marshall(s), or other official may be barred from competition and no entry fees will be refunded

6.       Handlers may elect to or be asked to hook their own /owners dogs if the dog is extremely excitable, difficult to handle, or sensitive to other people in any way.  In such case, handlers must still abide by the “position of handlers rules in section VI:E


1.       The TSAMC has the right to test for illegal drug use as indicated on the entry form.

2.       Use of all controlled drugs, stimulants, or depressants shall be prohibited.


1.       All entrants shall be responsible for the conduct of their dog(s) and handler(s) before, during, and after the event.

2.       Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and will be cause for warning and/or disqualification.

3.       Abusive or inhumane treatment of a dog(s) shall be prohibited and will be cause for disqualification.

4.       Handlers will be responsible for cleaning up after their own dog(s).

5.       All dogs, including those not competing, shall be under physical control. Methods including but not limited to:

a)      leads

b)      kennels

c)      tie out chains

d)      in vehicles


A.     WEIGH - INS

1.       All        dogs must be weighed in prior to the entry deadline. { Section IV:A:la }

2.       In         the event of a two-day non-combined pull, owners have the option of using the first day weight or reweighing their dog(s).

3.       Dog’s weight will be recorded to the lowest whole pound.

4.       Dogs must be wearing a standard collar during weigh-in to prevent loose dog problems.

a)      Harnesses may be worn during weigh-in at the discretion of the owner.

b)      The Chief Judge’s decision of disputed weights shall be final.


1.       Weight classes shall be divided as follows:

a)      Under 60 - All dogs weighing 60 pounds and under.

b)      61-80 - All dogs weighing a minimum of 61 pounds up to and including 80 pounds.

c)      81 - 100 - All dogs weighing a minimum of 81 pounds up to and including 100 pounds.

d)      101 - 120 - All dogs weighing a minimum of 101 pounds up to and including 120 pounds.

e)      Unlimited - All dogs weighing a minimum of 121 pounds or more.

2.       Novice Class will be run the same as all other classes with the exception of:

a)      Handlers will be allowed to use a leash however if tension on the leash directly results in the moving of the load the pull will be considered a "no-pull".

b)      Novice dogs will be allowed two (2) "no-pulls".

(1)    The judge and/or weight pull chairman in conjunction with attending board members reserve the right to alter the number of novice “no-pulls" allowed per dog depending on the total number of regular and novice dogs entered in the contest.

c)      Novice Handlers are not required to abide by the rules designated as Position of Handler defined in Section VI:E.

d)      All Novice dogs will be allowed to start pulling at the lowest starting weight.

e)      Novice dogs will only be allowed to pull until the 60 pound and under weight class has been decided.

(1)    The judge and/or weight pull chairman in conjunction with attending board members reserve the right to adjust the maximum weight for the novice dogs depending on conditions.

f)       All novice dogs shall be limited to a thirty (30) second time limit instead of the forty-five (45) seconds given to regular class dogs.

3.       If there are no dogs entered in a particular class, that class shall not be run and the purse for that class will be divided among the existing classes.

4.       If the number of dogs in any particular class is less than the number of placings for that class, purse money and / or prizes for said class will be divided among the existing classes.


1.       All dogs will compete in the weight class determined by the weigh-in.

2.       The dog that wins in its weight class shall not be allowed to compete in a higher weight class.

a)      A winning dog may continue to pull at the discretion of the handler to establish a top percentage pull.

b)      The top percentage pulls shall be at the established load increments.



1.       The attending board members shall determine when the novice class will be run, pending the number of total entrants and time constraints of the event.

a)      In conjunction with the regular classes.

b)      As one class prior to or immediately following the addition of weight to the sled.

c)      As a separate event.  In this case, the following would apply:

(1)    The owner/handler has the option to also enter the dog in the regular competition.

(2)    All registration and fees must be completed prior to the start of the regular competition.

(3)    Fees are non-refundable.

2.       Regular classes will be run in the following order:

a)      60 and Under

b)      61- 80

c)      81- 100

d)      101 - 120

e)      Unlimited

3.       The starting weights for each class will vary according to conditions, therefore will be determined by the governing organization and/or Chief Judge for each event individually.

a)      Starting weights for each class shall be light enough so that any eligible dog can readily move it with moderate effort.

b)      Starting weights will vary according to conditions and available weights therefore will be determined by the governing organization and/or Chief Judge.

c)      If a handler does not wish to pull his/her dog(s) at the starting weight, it will be considered a pass.


1.       Load increments will vary according to conditions and available weights, therefore will be determined by the governing organization and/or Chief Judge.

2.       The lightest weight dogs must be taken into consideration when determining load increments.

3.       Load increments may be increased after lighter weight classes have been eliminated, depending on conditions.


1.       The sled/cart shall be positioned perpendicular to the break line in the area designated by the dog handler.

2.       The Chief Judge or Course Marshall shall then direct the following:

a)      The sled/cart will be brought straight forward to the start line.

b)      The dog will be brought to the dog stance line and hooked up.

c)      The dog handler and Course Marshall(s) will move to their designated areas.

3.       The sled/cart cannot be moved by the Sled Marshall(s) or dog handler after it has been positioned at the start line.

4.       There will be no side to side twisting of the sled.


1.       The handler brings the dog into the chute and stops just past the dog line.

a)      This cannot be one fluid motion with the handler running the dog in, having the dog hooked, and running away in such a fashion that the sled/cart never stops.

b)      If a handler requires assistance with his/her dog, a delegate may bring the dog into the pull chute.

(1)    Once in the pull chute, at the hooking position, the dog is to be turned over to the handler or Course Marshall.

(2)    Delegate must leave the pull chute area prior to hook up of the dog.

2.       Course Marshall hooks the dog.

a)      The dog handler may hook his/her own dog with permission or upon request of the Course Marshall.

3.       The dog is considered to be in position when the handler moves more than arms length away from the dog.  At this point the dog may begin pulling the sled/cart.

4.       When the dog goes back to the front of the sled for the purpose of attempting a "sling shot" start, this will be treated as a tangle.  See Section H:3 for description of how tangles are addressed.


1.       The handler may not order his dog to start pulling before he/she is in one of these two positions:

a)      When driving the dogs from behind, the handler must remain behind the front of the sled/cart.

b)      When calling the dog, the handler must remain past the finish line.

2.       Handlers shall position the dog and proceed directly to his/her chosen position without stopping or hesitating;

a)      There shall not be any physical commands, gestures or communication between the handler and dog until the handler and dog are in position.

b)      Once the handler has crossed the finish line:

(1)    He/she may begin commands.

(2)    He/she may not make contact with the dog until the pull is complete.

(3)    He/she may not make contact with equipment or pulling surface in the area between the start and finish line.

3.       If the handler commands the dog before he/she is in position, this will be treated as a tangle.  See Section H:3 for description of how tangles are addressed.


1.       The timer shall start the clock when either of the follow take place:

a)      The handler has ordered his dog to begin pulling.

b)      The dog begins to move the sled/cart.

2.       If the pull is accidentally obstructed for some reason by the Sled Marshall(s) or equipment problem, the Chief Judge may order a restart.


1.       The dog shall be required to pull the loaded sled/cart a marked and measured sixteen (16) feet.

2.       The dog shall be required to pull the loaded sled/cart within a 45 second time limit.

a)      If the sled/cart is in motion at the expiration of the 45 seconds, the pull shall be allowed to continue until the pull is completed or until the sled/cart stops.

b)      The actual time to make the pull shall be recorded.

3.       If the dog does not pull the load the required distance in the required time, this will be considered a "no-pull".

a)      If a "no-pull" results, the dog will be out of the competition.

b)      Novice dogs are allowed two (2) "no-pulls”. See {Sec. V:B}


1.       Tangles are called at the Chief Judges discretion such as but not limited to:

a)      If the dog becomes entangled in the lines or its harness so as to create a dangerous situation for the dog.

b)      If the sled/cart becomes lodged in the barriers of the pulling area.

c)      If the dog begins pulling before the handler is in position.

d)      If a dog attempts a "sling shot" start.

e)      Soiling on the pull chute.

f)       Any other situation that creates a dangerous situation for the dog or handlers.

2.       In the event of a dog soiling in the pull chute,

a)      The handler is responsible to IMMEDIATELY get to his dog and take corrective action.

b)      The Chief Judge and/or Course Marshall(s) also have the right to intervene and correct the situation.

3.       If a tangle is called the following will occur:

a)      The clock will be stopped and will not be reset.

b)      The handler will untangle the dog from its harness or lines.

c)      The sled/cart will be moved to the original starting position.

d)      The handler will return to the original calling position and the pull will resume.

4.       Two tangles on the same turn will result in the dog's removal from competition.

I.        PASSING

1.       Contestants may pass up to two (2) consecutive turns but must pull on the third turn.

a)      Passing the starting weight will be considered one pass.

2.       If a handler chooses to pass a particular turn, he must report the pass to the Chief  Recorder before the first dog in his particular weight class is called up for that round.


1.       If any part of the harness or other equipment breaks, the contestant shall have another opportunity to pull the same weight after the repairs are made.

2.       The pull must be made either after the last dog in the class or before weight is added for the next round.

3.       The handler may choose to accept this interrupted pull as a pass if the pass does not give the contestant more than 2 consecutive passes.


1.       An official may hold the dog in position at the request of the handler until the handler signals the start of the pull.

2.       No one is allowed to handle the dog, it's harness, the sled/cart, or any other part of the equipment or load once the time/pull has begun; accept as it applies to tangles.

3.       No food, treat, bait, whips, noisemakers, or any other aid shall be permitted within the pulling chute.

4.       Treating of dogs shall be allowed in between turns.

5.       The handler within the pull chute is the only person allowed to command or coax the dog.  Commands and/or coaxing from a co-handler or spectator may result in disqualification.


1.       The dog pulling the most weight in its class shall be declared the winner.

2.       Each successive dog pulling a lower weight is placed second, third, etc.

3.       If two or more dogs pull the same weight the required distance and can pull no more weight the full distance, the winner will be determined by the fastest time in the previous weight.

a)      In the event of a tie in the time of the previous weight the time of the preceding weight will be used.

4.       When determining places, if a dog did not pull on the previous turn (passed) it will be placed lower than the dog that completed the pull in that turn.

5.       If for any reason there is a change in handler during the event, the handler controlling the dog when the placing is determined will be awarded any applicable prizes.  Any applicable points or credits will be awarded to the dog regardless.