Read the book over 30 years ago and I'm trying to find it to reference it. The part I'm thinking of is when the boy's dog gets in a fight with a ?badger underground, and the boy I think doesn't want it fighting underground because he is worried about his dog getting hurt in an unfair fight. So before the dog goes too far down, the boy grabs it's tail, braces his feet, and holds on. He waits until the dog's tires enough to have to adjust its feet and then pulls the dog out.
I don't think this is the central part of the book, but it's what I remember. I am thinking maybe it was something along the lines of big red or where the red fern grows, but I don't have those texts, nor any of the other stories I read about dogs where I can get to them. I've already tried google to no conclusive avail.
(I'm getting old. Sorry if there is a better subreddit for this post, I wasn't sure if there was a one for "what' was the name of that…from way back when…")
Source: reddit post