Mushing Terms

Dog Line Locations

Dogs on a sled line fit into one of the following locations:
  1. Lead dogs - these are the first dogs in the line, furthest away from the sled.One or two dogs are used as leaders. Natural leaders are very easily spotted in a kennel, as these are the dogs usually running for political office and promising their kennel mates things they can't possibly deliver. In spite of their similarity to politicos, these are the dogs that will steer your whole team. These are the dogs you should love best.
  2. Swing dogs - these dogs can usually be found dancing to old time music or blowing a mean trumpet. They help enforce the decisions made by the lead dogs. These are the dogs you should love best.
  3. Team dogs - these are the dogs wearing the football jerseys, carrying water that needs to be carried, doing whatever the gipper asks. They provide most of the power for most of the journey. These are the dogs you should love best.
  4. Wheel dogs - These are the dogs usually dressed in seersucker suits wearing sunglasses, wheeling and dealing. They are closest to the financial action and closest to the sled, and provide the extra "oomph" to get the sled going. These are the dogs you should love best.
  5. Tired dogs - These are the dogs inside your shoes carrying your weight. These dogs do the least work and complain the most.

Sled Equipment

Various pieces of equipment are usually found on a sled. These include:
  1. Dog bag: Sleeping bag for the your favorite dog. Should include a candle, chandelier, crackers & imported cheese, maybe a little nice music.
  2. Snow hook: used for catching snow fish.
  3. Neck line: a "line" of clothing for dressing the area between the head and shoulders
  4. Tug: This is a long rope. On one end of the rope contains numerous clips, one for each dog. The other end of the rope is secured directly to your wallet.
  5. Runners: a device used to catch the stuff that drips out of the musher's nose.
  6. Basket: used to hold goodies to be delivered to Grandma's. Could contain cookies, milk, or diphtheria serum.

Mushing Commands

Here are some of the more popular commands and their meaning:
  1. Hike: throw the human off the sled. If they tumble head over heels, that is considered a touchdown and is worth 6 points.
  2. Line Out: the tug (see definition above) is attached to an empty wallet. Stand still until the situation is remedied.
  3. On By: this is used to inform the dogs that there is a delicious squirrel nearby, and they should go and capture it.
  4. Gee, Haw: turn, any direction will do.
  5. Easy: this informs the dogs there is a double diamond ski slope just ahead, so this would be a good place to show off their running prowess
  6. Whoa: the human needs a potty break. Most dogs expect their humans to learn to pee on the run as they have done, so this is generally scofffed at by dogs.

Copyright 2011 by Gary Hughes-Fenchel    All rights reserved