Beginners

This is just some general information to assist those that are new to the club, the sport of dog sledding or those contemplating giving it a go. It covers some general housekeeping information that helps everyone respect those around them. Also refer to the other pages for information on training, equipment etc.

Come and have a go at our Beginner Days – refer to Events section for more details and dates.

Dog/Mushing Etiquette

1. Always ask permission before patting any dogs and especially when approaching other dogs with your dog(s). Many dogs are very excitable when out running in harness; many are in their family group packs and therefore may not accept strange dogs approaching them.

2. If you have children, who are most welcome to our events, please make sure they are supervised at all times and do not approach dogs alone and without asking, not all dogs are use to children and an excited dog can easily knock a child over.

3. It is a good idea to stake your dog(s) away from others so that all dogs have adequate space to move and not encroach on others territory. For the safety of all, dogs should be staked out well away from the tracks and not be able to reach the running tracks when on their lines. Please make sure stakes and lines are well secured and not too long, a short line is all that is needed when staked out. It is best to use a metal line to prevent dogs chewing through.

4. If you are training on private land it is a good idea to seek permission first. WASSA has been granted permission to hold Club events in certain areas so check with a committee member to see where we have been granted access to train. With having very limited areas to run our dogs in Perth we don’t wont to risk losing such places by upsetting landowners where we don’t have permission to run.

5. Adequate lighting at night is essential, preferably on both your scooter or rig for trail visibility, on your dogs and also a headlight for when you need to stop and work with your dogs. Be visible from both front and back. Wearing bright clothing with reflective material is a good idea. These can be in the form of or added to clothing, helmets, vests, jackets, scooters, rigs or wheel valves. To increase visibility of your dogs, flashing lights can be added to their collars and reflective material added to their harnesses and collars.

6. Always keep your dogs under control. Make sure you dogs are not left loose to roam or harass wildlife or other people using the area. Take along extra handlers if you have a large number of dogs. Your dog’s behavior and safety is your responsibility. It is a good idea to have ID tags on all your dogs in the event of an escape.

7. It is a good idea to check your equipment before leaving home to prevent problems on the trail. Check ganglines, harnesses, collars, BRAKES, lights and wheels for signs of wear and tear. Make sure nuts and bolts are done up adequately. Have spares just in case. A quick check before you leave home can save equipment failure or worse, loosing your team. Don’t forget that you need to be able to safely stop and control your team while on the trail. Cutters attached safely to you scooter or rig is important. Dogs can get in a tangle quickly and you may need to cut your lines to remove a tangle. Having a first aid kit (dog and human) is essential; a tool kit with spares is also good to have on hand.