Working Dog Program (WDP) Details

The Chinook Owners Association Working Dog Program (WDP) is meant to encourage owners to work with their dogs in the pursuits for which they were intended and provide certification to those dogs in those pursuits. The WDP is broken into three groups: Draft, Temperament, and Titled Events, described below.

Getting Started

To get your Chinook recognized as a Working Dog, follow these steps:

  1. Find the group (and sub-group if applicable) you are interested in (Draft, Temperament, or Titled Events)
  2. Review the Novice level requirements
  3. Track your Chinook's progress using the provided application form
  4. Send the application form (and weight verification if applicable), necessary pictures and other documents, and $5 to the WDP Chair when complete. Contact the WDP Chair for current address to send all information.

Draft


This Draft Group is designed to recognize Chinooks that demonstrate ability in common working and pulling disciplines like Packing, Sledding, Skijoring, Carting, and Weight Pull. Certificates are available for Novice accomplishments and titles available for Advanced and Excellent achievements.

Pack

The Packing route is the most common method for Chinook owners to get started in the WDP. Although specifics rules apply for each of the three levels, in general your Chinook must be fitted with an appropriately weighted pack and must hike with you a specific distance to earn awards.

Frontier Ice and Snow Kelvin

    • Pack 10-20% of dog's weight
      20 miles (minimum 3 miles per trip)

      The Novice level is designed for the less experienced dog and/or handler as an easy introduction and should not be beyond the means of any sound Chinook. While specific conditioning is not required, the WDP encourages owners to introduce their Chinooks to packing in a gradual and responsible manner. It is important that backpacks be fit properly for dogs participating in the sport. Owners are encouraged to ensure the right pack size is selected. There are a number of resources available online to guide pack size decisions, as well as experienced packers that can provide input via the COA Forum.

      In addition, it is important that any loads are balanced so that a dog does not strain itself compensating for an off-center or poorly balanced load. Handlers are encouraged to review the load balance throughout a trip, particularly as food and water is consumed, to ensure the dog remains comfortable with what it is being asked to do. Training sessions to familiarize the dog with the pack and light weight are the most effective way to begin. Chinooks should be happy and excited in anticipation of an outing. Owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs have positive experiences on the trails. Brief, positive training sessions will allow a Chinook to understand what it is being asked to do. Once a dog is familiar with the components of packing, it is ready to earn a Novice Pack Dog certification. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Weight Verification Form
      Application Form

    • Pack 20% of dog's weight
      50 miles (minimum 5 miles per trip)

      The Advanced level is designed for dogs that demonstrate mastery of the key skills in packing. These dogs should be trained and capable of going out on successful hikes frequently with their handler. Some characteristics of this level of packing competency include the ability for a dog to perform successfully on unfamiliar trails in new terrain, over varying distances. They should understand the “rules of the trail” and be able to pass by distractions while keeping with their handler under all circumstances. These dogs are good role models for other Chinooks working toward Novice Pack Dog certification. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Weight Verification Form
      Application Form

    • Pack 25-30% of dog's weight
      100 miles (minimum 10 miles per trip)

      The Excellent level is designed for dogs that demonstrate superior achievement in packing. These dogs are capable of sustained back-country hiking in any terrain while remaining focused on their job and handler. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Weight Verification Form
      Application Form

Sled

The Sledding section rewards achievement in the traditional pulling area. The WDP recognizes that pulling a sled is not possible for some dogs in areas without snow and therefore allows wheeled vehicles such as scooters, bicycles, and rigs to be used in the fulfillment of the requirements for each of the three levels.

Granite Hill Eureka & Granite Hill Chehalis Okustee Anika

    • 1 mile race or 3 mile training run

      The Novice level is designed for the less experienced dog and/or handler as an easy introduction and should not be beyond the means of any sound Chinook. While specific conditioning is not required, the WDP encourages owners to introduce their Chinooks to pulling in a gradual and responsible manner. Training sessions to familiarize the dog with harnessing and pulling a light weight such as a motorcycle tire or drag sled are good ways to begin your dog’s pulling career on the right note. Chinooks should be happy and excited in anticipation of an outing- owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs have positive experiences on the trails. Brief, positive training sessions will allow a Chinook to understand what it is being asked to do, as well as look forward to the outing before they are ready to attempt a qualifying outing. For specific advice on introducing your dog to pulling, please contact the WDP Chair for more information and mentors in your area.

      Once a dog is familiar with the components of pulling, it is ready to earn a Novice Sled Dog certification. Any Chinook that participates on a team pulling a sled or other vehicle is eligible for the Novice Sled Dog certification. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

    • 40-100 miles
      Completed via Racing, Recreational Mushing, or combination of the two

      The Advanced level is designed for dogs that demonstrate their abilities as recreational sled dogs on working teams. These dogs should be trained and capable of going out on a successful run frequently with their musher, enjoying the experience, without requiring significant intervention from others (e.g., a team to chase, lots of handlers, etc.). Some characteristics of this level of sledding competency include the ability for a dog to perform successfully in an unfamiliar place on new trails, reliably perform with outings of different distances, and take direction from a musher on which branching trails to follow. In addition, these teams should be able to pass by distractions and other teams, and be passed by other teams of people on the trail. The dogs in these teams are good role models and can function as lead teams for other Chinooks working towards Novice Sled Dog certification. There are two variants of Advanced Level recognition - Lead Dog and Team Dog. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

      • Dogs leading the team – those dogs farthest away from the driver and taking directions and trail commands – and meeting other requirements may be awarded the Working Lead Dog (WLD) title by the COA.

      • Any Chinook that participates on the team pulling a sled or other vehicle and meeting the key requirements will be awarded the Working Team Dog (WTD) title by the COA.

    • 100-200 miles
      Completed via Racing, Recreational Mushing, or combination of the two

      The Excellent level is designed for dogs that have mastered the skills required of a sled dog. These dogs should be trained and capable sustained, successful sledding runs, and may serve as solid, role model sled dogs for new dogs to be introduced to the sport. Some characteristics of this level of sledding competency include the ability for a dog to perform successfully in any location or new trail, and the ability to take directions from their driver despite significant distractions. The Excellent level is also designed to acknowledge the freighting history of Chinooks. A portion of the overall requirements will demonstrate the Chinook’s ability to pull heavier weights over longer distances than standard qualifying runs. There are two variants of Excellent Level recognition - Lead Dog and Team Dog. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

      • Dogs leading the team – those dogs farthest away from the driver and taking directions and trail commands – and meeting other requirements may be awarded the Working Lead Dog Excellent (WLD-X) title by the COA.

      • Any Chinook that participates on the team pulling a sled or other vehicle and meeting the key requirements will be awarded the Working Team Dog-Excellent (WTD-X) title by the COA.

Skijor

Skijoring is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. Your Chinook, outfitted with a sledding harness, is attached via rope or towline to a skijoring harness worn by you. The Skijoring section rewards achievement in a variant of the traditional Chinook pulling area of sledding.

skijor

    • 1 mile race or 3 mile training run

      The Novice level is designed for the less experienced dog and/or handler as an easy introduction and should not be beyond the means of any sound Chinook. While specific conditioning is not required, the WDP encourages owners to introduce their Chinooks to pulling in a gradual and responsible manner. Training sessions to familiarize the dog with harnessing and pulling a light weight such as a motorcycle tire or drag sled are good ways to begin your dog’s pulling career on the right note. Brief positive training sessions will allow a Chinook to understand what it is being asked to do, as well as look forward to the outing before they are ready to attempt a qualifying outing. For specific advice on introducing your dog to pulling, please contact the WDP Chair for more information and mentors in your area. Once a dog is familiar with the components of pulling, it is ready to earn a Novice Skijor Dog certification. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

    • 40-100 miles
      Completed via Racing, Recreational Mushing, or combination of the two

      The Advanced level is designed for dogs that demonstrate their abilities as recreational skijor dogs. These dogs should be trained and capable of going out on a successful run frequently with their skier, enjoying the experience, without requiring significant intervention from others (e.g., a team to chase, lots of handlers, etc.). Some characteristics of this level of skijoring competency include the ability for a dog to perform successfully in an unfamiliar place on new trails, reliably perform with outings of different distances, and take direction from a skier on which branching trails to follow. In addition, these dogs should be able to pass by distractions and other dogs, and be passed by other teams of people on the trail. These dogs are good role models and can function as partners for other Chinooks working towards Novice Skijor Dog certification. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

    • 100-200 miles
      Completed via Racing, Recreational Mushing, or combination of the two

      The Excellent level is designed for dogs that have mastered the skills required of a skijor dog. These dogs should be trained and capable of sustained, successful skijoring runs, and may serve as solid, role model skijor dogs for new dogs to be introduced to the sport. Some characteristics of this level of skijoring competency include the ability to perform successfully in any location or new trail, and the ability to take directions from their skier despite significant distractions. For full details and application, see the documents below.

      Requirements Document
      Application Form

Carting and Weight Pull

Contact the WDP Chair for more information regarding awards for carting and weight pull events.

Email WDP Chair



Temperament


This Temperament Group is designed to recognize those Chinooks who are actively making a contribution to the community. This special area of awards recognizes dogs that are working with people in such areas as therapy, education, and assistance. Search and rescue trained dogs and guide dogs may also qualify for these awards. Three levels of awards are available.

  • Novice - Friendly Paws
  • Advanced - Diplomat
  • Excellent - Ambassador

Contact the WDP Chair for more information regarding awards for Temperament.

Titled Events


The Titled Events group recognizes the accomplishments of Chinooks in some of the many organized working dog events (Agility, Conformation, Dock Jumping, Obedience, or Rally Obedience). Dogs awarded titles by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in any performance events are eligible. UKC rules and regulations govern all titles. A complete rulebook listing all titles offered with all requirements is available from the UKC.

Chinooks earning titles in other venues with recognized national organizations are also eligible. For example, herding titles from the American Herding Breeds Association and other recognized groups, nosework titles from the National Association of Canine Nosework, etc. are eligible. Titles from other recognized organizations will be considered on an individual basis. Contact the WDP Chair for considerations.

Requirements Document
Application Form

Titles of Merit


These titles are awarded by the Chinook Owners Association to recognize those Chinooks who have made a considerable contribution to the breed. The COA reserves its highest recognition for dogs that prove their well-rounded abilities in all three of the above groups (Draft, Temperament, and Titled Events). Participation and achievement in these three groups can lead to further recognition for Chinooks through three very distinctive Titles of Merit. The Titles of Merit and their requirements are:

  • Working Chinook (COA-WC)
    • Requirements: Draft Group title + Friendly Paws + 1 Titled Events title
  • Working Chinook Excellent (COA-WCX)
    • Requirements: COA-WC title + total of 2 Draft Group titles + Diplomat + total of 2 Titled Events titles
  • Total Working Chinook (COA-TWC)
    • Requirements: COA-WCX title + total of 3 Draft Group titles including at least 1 Excellent + Ambassador + total of 3 Titled Events titles

The Not-So-Fine Print


All the info you need to know about submission of documents, joining the WDP Committee, eligibility, and more is below.

WDP Committee

The WDP Committee shall consist of the WDP Chair and up to four other COA members in good standing with the approval of the COA Board. The Chair is encouraged to include Committee members who have a background in the variety of activities offered through the WDP and who live in diverse parts of the country. If you are interested in being part of the WDP Committee, please contact the WDP Chair.

Documents & Processing

All completed forms and documentation shall be returned to the WDP Chair. Since this position changes over time, please contact the WDP Chair to receive up-to-date instructions on where to send forms and payments. The Chair shall be responsible for placing the completed applications before the WDP Committee for review monthly. The Committee shall give due process to all applicants in a timely manner and will judge each application on its merit. A nominal fee of $5.00 will be charged to cover printing and mailing of the certificate for each title/award earned in the Draft and Temperament groups. Checks should be payable to Chinook Owners Association, or the fee may be paid using the COA Paypal account (contact WDP Chair for instructions). The Chinook Owners Association will be honored to present the Titles of Merit to the recipients and will be responsible for providing suitable plaques.

Eligibility

All Chinooks participating in the WDP must be registered with the UKC or with the COA Chinook Breed Conservation Program. A UKC Limited Privilege (LP) registration number is also permitted. Membership in the Chinook Owners Association is encouraged, but not required to participate.

Use of WDP Titles

Any owner of a dog receiving Draft group Advanced or Excellent level titles or Titles of Merit shall be privileged to use the title in any COA literature or otherwise display the title publicly.

Protests

Any person intending to protest the eligibility of a dog team, the qualification of an event for certification purposes, or contest any violation of race rules or certification requirements, must do so immediately following the conclusion of the event. The protest may be verbal, but must be followed by a written statement to the race marshal or chief judge of the event within 10 days, with a copy also sent to the WDP Chair. The WDP Committee shall notify the concerned parties of the protest in order that a rebuttal may be filed. It shall be the responsibility of the Committee to decide whether or not the protest is valid by a majority vote. All decisions may be appealed to the COA Executive Board within 30 days of notification of the decision made by the WDP Committee.

Safety and First Aid

Back-country trips and excursions, sledding, carting, and other working pursuits can be difficult and even dangerous if participants, both dog and human, are not in good physical condition and have the minimum of a basic knowledge of safety and survival. Participants are strongly encouraged to file a trip plan with someone local with planned route and date/times as a precaution. In addition, they are encouraged to carry a first aid kit for both themselves and their dogs and have basic understanding of its use. To help ensure that dog(s) are not put at risk, owners are responsible for preparing their dogs both mentally and physically for the work intended. The Chinook Owners Association will not be held responsible for any accidents or injuries to persons or dogs participating in the pursuit of certification through the Working Dog Program.

Questions?


Contact the WDP Chair with any questions or clarifications.