The information below is provided as a guide to prepare for the draft test as given by the Saint Bernard Club Of America. The complete Draft Test text is available HERE. The Draft Test is a multi part exercise which will be evaluated by two judges. Both judges must give a qualifying grade for the dog to earn the 'Draft Dog' (DD) Title. This page is dedicated to the Draft work aspect of the breed.

Photos used were taken during a Carting Demonstration at the 2010 NNJSBC Picnic
Instructor: Tom Nuss

1 - Basic Control
The first part of the test involves basic obedience. The dog must successfully perform three exercises: Heel off lead, Recall, and a one minute group down. Unlike AKC Obedience, there is no point system and handlers may talk to and encourage their dogs during the exercise

2 - Harnessing, Hitching & Equipment Check
Harnessing After proceeding into the exercise area, the dog must stay while the handler retreives the harness from where the steward has placed it. Retreiving The Cart The handler then returns to the dog, and proceeds to harness the dog. Instructions may be given to the dog to cooperate during the process. After harnessing is complete and upon receiving instructions from the judge, the dog must back up four feet in the direction of the apparatus without turning more than 90 degrees. You will then be instructed to Hitch your dog at which time you retrieve the cart and connect to the harness. The dog and handler will then be instructed to move forward a distance of at least twenty feet and stop.

3 - Maneuvering Course & Basic Commands
Basic Maneuvers The Maneuvering course will make use of as many natural terrain features as possible. The course will cover at least 150 yards and include: Circular patterns, Broad Curves, 90 degree turns (at least one left and one right), and at Basic Maneuvers least two narrow areas six or more feet long - one with a low barrier such as logs, and another with a high barrier such as hay bales. Lastly, a removable obstacle. There is no time limit to complete the course but the dog must continue to work. During the course the judge will instruct the handler to haul forward, haul slowly, stop and back your dog. The handler may not touch the cart during the course except with permission of the judge should the apparatus be unable to negotiate a maneuver or the requirement exceeds the dogs ability.

4 - Three Minute Out Of Sight & Freight Load
Basic Maneuvers This portion of the test is done in groups (no more than six). In preparation for this exercise handlers will harness and hitch their dogs. The handlers will then instruct the dog to stay (stand, sit or down is acceptable). They then leave their dogs and go 'out of sight' for a period of three minutes. During that time the dog may shift position, but not significantly move the draft apparatus. A Steward will be stationed behind each cart for safety purposes. Basic Maneuvers At the conclusion of the three minute period the handlers return, and may pet and praise the dogs. They must remain in the area for the second portion of this exercise.
The second portion of the exercise is the freight load. Upon instructions from the judge the handler must place the load in the cart and properly secure it so that it does not shift during movement. For a wheeled cart the load must be between 25 to 100 pounds. The handler must place / secure the load without help. The judge will insure that the selected load is appropriate for the dog, apparatus and site conditions. People and/or animals may not be used as loads. The group will then be instructed to move to the Distance Freight Haul area.

5 - Distance Freight Haul
Basic Maneuvers The distance freight haul is a group event with a maximum of six handlers per group Each dog must haul a loaded cart on a course at least one mile in length. Two lead Stewards will set / maintain a pace for the group to follow. The course may contain natural obstacles such as bends in the trail, potholes, trees, etc... As long as the dog works there is no time limit. Basic Maneuvers If the dog stops at any point the handler has one minute to get the dog moving again. With the judges permission the handler may stop the dog at the side of the course to rest briefly. The handler may - with the judges permission, touch the draft apparatus in order to lift it over an obstruction (such as a curb). The handler may work alongside, behind, or in front of the dog, but may not impede the dog's progress at any time. At the conclusion of the course the dog will be unhitched from the draft apparatus.

6 - Intriguing Distraction
Distractions At some point during one of the moving exercises a planned intriguing distraction will occur. When the distraction appears the dog may stop what it is doing or shift position to watch, but may not divert from the course. To give the dog time to respond to the handler's stop command, the dog may move two or three steps either towards or away from the distraction. If the dog stops to watch the distraction the handler should encourage the dog to proceed when apropriate to do so. The nature of the distraction must remain a secret from all participants. Should the distraction become known to a handler before the test begins a different intriguing distraction must be used.

The foregoing is a condensed guide to carting / draft work. It should serve as an introduction to the activity. Handlers who are planning to take the draft test should be completely familiar with the entire SBCA Draft Test Regulations prior to making preparations for, or actually taking the test.