The Alaskan Malamute is by nature very talented in heavy pulling. The sport of weight pulling is popular, because it can be practiced at home, in the back yard or urban park – it is something even the one-dog owner can participate in. And you basically only need a weight pulling harness (such as Nordkyn, or The Working Canine).
Weight pull competitions consist of a dog pulling a given weight a given distance in a set amount of time. Weights are increased for each round, with dogs dropping out when they fail to make the pull. The competitions are divided into weight classes. There are several sets of weight pull rules used, the most common being those of the International Weight Pull Association. These rules call for a dog to pull a load a distance of 16 feet in one minute and give you the option of calling the dog from the far side of the finish line or driving the dog from a position behind the dog. Weight pulling may be done with sleds or carts.
It is not recommended to begin training for weight pulling until your Malamute is at least 18 months old, even if some competitions allow 1 year old dogs to participate. Weight pulling is a very intensive sport and serious weights should be avoided until the dog is physically mature – for a Malamute that’s around 2 years. Start out with light weights on snow, dirt or grass. Make sure the harness is properly fitted and that the weight you are using does not make a lot of noise or that it is not so light that it might hit the dog should the dog spook and start running. A small tire makes a good weight to start with.