Sledding Terms

Below are some terms you might hear when starting out in the sport of dog sledding. There are also a few that people relate to sledding through what has been used in movies etc. Most of these terms are not actually used as explained below.

Example image - aligned to the right

Musher

This term originates from the french word marche meaning march. This term was used to describe all those heading north to the Gold Rush regardless of how they got there, but has stuck with the individuals foolish enough to put their fate into the paws of insanely energetic dogs in order to get from place to place with a maximum of fuss.

Gangline

Slightly elasticated cord that runs from the front of the sled / scooter and connects to the dogs’ harnesses. Refer to the Equipment section for more information on this.

Neckline

A small cord that connects adjacent running dogs’ collars to help prevent them from drifting apart during a run. Refer to the Equipment section for more on this.

Stakeout

A cable that can be staked to the ground, allowing the dogs to be clipped to various anchor points along its length. If you have more than one dog, this little device can be invaluable making it possible to keep them organised and tangle free while not running.

Handler

A person who assists in the handling of dogs when preparing for or directly after a race. These people are essential as it can sometimes be remarkably difficult to handle a sled or scooter while attempting to get all dogs organised and even facing the right direction.

Mush

This is more of a movie term and is rarely used for actual dog sledding. Below are the commands taught by the club.

Hike/Hike Up

Called to the dogs to go or run faster.

Gee

An instruction for the dogs to turn Right. Other people actually use the word Right as the command, this is a personal choice.

Haw

An instruction for the dogs to turn Left. Other people actually use the word Left as the command, this is a personal choice.

No/Whoa

Used to try and slow the dogs down, most dogs choose to ignore this command and keep running if they can get away with it.