Friday, February 29, 2008

Countdown to Iditarod

Is it time to brush up on your mushing terminology? Just review this list of commonly used mushing and sled dog race words. A well trained mushing dog must have good mastery of basic obedience in addition to any mushing specific commands introduced here.
  • Alaskan husky: a northern dog of mixed breed, usually used to denote those bred for racing.

  • Basket: the main body of a sled, where passengers or gear may be carried.

  • Booties: slippers for dogs, worn while working under certain conditions to prevent ice forming between their toes. Made of a wide range of fabrics, including fleece and Gore-tex.

  • Brushbow: the curved piece out in front of the main body of a sled, designed to stop brush from damaging the sled.

  • Dog Bag: a fabric bag carried on a race sled, used to put a sick or injured dog into in order to carry him to a place where he can be cared for.

  • Dog Box: a carrier for several dogs, most often seen as a wooden structure in the bed of a pickup truck. Styles vary widely, but usually built with individual sections that hold one or two dogs each.

  • Driving Bow: the handle that the musher holds on to - also called a Handlebow.

  • Easy!: the command for the dogs to slow down.

  • Gangline: the main line that the dogs and sled are attached to.

  • Gee: the command for the dogs to turn right.

  • Handler: a person who assists the musher.

  • Harness: a webbing of fabric that fits a dog snugly, to which the Tugline and Neckline are attached.

  • Haw: the command for the dogs to turn left.

  • Hike!: the command to get the dog team moving.

  • Husky: in common usage, any northern breed dog - properly, a Siberian Husky.

  • Iditarod: most famous for the name of a competitive sled dog race, but also has native meanings

  • Lead Dogs: the dog or dogs in the front of a team. These dogs are noted for their high level of intelligence and drive, and are often females. May be run as Single lead (1 dog) or Double lead (2 dogs).

  • Mush!: many people think this is the term used to get a team going - Hike! is most commonly used.

  • Musher: a person who drives a sled dog team - also called a Dog Driver.

  • Neckline: a short line (10-12 inches) attached to the Harness and Gangline, that keeps the dog in line.

  • On By!: the command to go by another team or other distraction.

  • Pedaling: pushing with one foot while keeping the other on the sled.

  • Point Dogs: used by some mushers to denote the two dogs right behind the Lead Dogs. Others call them Swing Dogs.

  • Rigging: all the gear used to attach dogs to a sled.

  • Runners: the narrow pieces of wood that a sled rides on. Usually have a replaceable plastic layer to reduce maintenance. The runners extend behind the Basket so the Musher can stand on them.

  • Safety Line: an extra line from the Gangline to the sled, in case the main fitting breaks.

  • Snow Hook: a large metal hook that can be driven into firm snow to anchor a team for a short period of time without tying them.

  • Snub Line: a rope attached to the back of the sled, which can be tied to a tree to hold the team when the snow is not firm enough to use a Snow Hook.

  • Stakeout: a main chain with separate short chains to attached several dogs to. May be strung between the front and back bumpers of a truck, or between two trees.

  • Stanchions: the upright pieces that attach the runners to a sled.

  • Swing Dogs: depending on which musher you're talking to, either the two dogs directly behind the Lead Dogs, or those between the Point Dogs and the Wheel Dogs.

  • Tack: harnesses.

  • Team Dogs: all dogs other than the Lead Dogs, Point Dogs, Swing Dogs and Wheel Dogs.

  • Toboggan: a sled with a flat bottom instead of runners. Used when deep, soft snow is expected instead of a good trail.

  • Tuglines: the main line that connects the dog's harness to the Gangline - the line that the dog tugs on.

  • Village Dogs: a derogatory term for poorly socialized dogs of unknown breeding.

  • Wheel Dogs: the two dogs right in front of the sled. These will normally be the heaviest dogs in the team.

  • Whoa: the command to get the dog team to stop. Mushing terminology/dictionary written by DogSled.Com also has a great collection of links for all things Iditarod.The Iditarod starts tomorrow, Sat, Mar 1, 10:00 a.m. (Anchorage time) at Downtown Anchorage at the Corner of 4th Avenue & D Streets. With the real start (restart) set to occur Sun, Mar 2, 2:00 p.m. departing from Willow. A great overview of anticipated trail conditions is HERE. Considering the immense and ever changing landscape and shifts in the weather that one encounters during this intense race, it is anyone's guess what the conditions will be in the end. There are 96 entrants this year. HERE is a good run down on who to keep an eye on, in terms of placing and winning this incredible race. And the musher line up is very interesting as well, for they each have a story to tell. I am psyched to see how the race goes and am rooting of course, for all the dogs mostly. Racing images are from (ADDENDUM:have ALL been deleted. TO view visit :) Iditarod photo gallery page or (addendum) HERE for daily photos from the trail, like these beauties taken at the ceromonial start Mar 1. Notice Lance Mackey's dog, airborne in its excitement to go!Additional pics from Magali P on FLICKR (she has a pretty cool, and biligual blog) as well, with lots more dog related prose and photos.
Note RE: OBEDIENCE CLASSES: If you took my advice last week and adopted a new pup you are eligible for free obedience classes starting tomorrow, and every Saturday, from March 1, through April 12 - at 12:30 (puppy) and 1:45 (adult). These classes are at The Farm Store at 3956 Jacob's Avenue. Cost is $65, but the first three classes are FREE to anyone who has recently adopted a dog. Farm store # 707 443 7397. Classes are taught by Michelle Stone, and cover the basics,and beyond. It is so important to invest both good energy, and discipline into your dog. The years you share together will be enhanced by this groundwork. If you think you love your pup now, take him/her to obedience classes and you will love your obedient dog even more! And your obedient dog will trust and obey you for a lifetime. Sweet and happy days will be in the future for both of you. See you there, or on the Iditarod trail! Photo below from Here.


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Walkydog said...

Thanks for glossary - very useful for me as I'm reading these blogs and all about this fascinating subject, thank you.

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eDog said...

Love the dog on the horse!

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Sara said...

Very useful thanks. I'm following current race. Hope you will cover this on your blog in due course. Thanks.

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