So before you head out to watch your very first (or tenth) John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, it would be wise to brush up on some sled dog terminology. Below is a list of words/commands that are commonly used in the wonderful world of sled dogs.
Gee: Left Turn
Haw: Right Turn
Come Gee! Come Haw!: A command for a 180 degree turn in either direction
Lead Dog or Leader: Dog in the front of the sled. Generally faster or smarter than the rest
Mush! Hike! All Right! Let’s Go!: Commands to start the team
Line Out!: Command to lead dog to pull the team out straight from the sled. Used mostly while hooking dogs into team or unhooking them.
Rigging: Collection of lines to which dogs are attached. Includes tow line, tug lines and neck lines
Pedaling: Pushing the sled with one foot while the other remains on the runner
Picket Line: A long chain with shorter pieces of chain extending from it. Used to stake out a team when stakes aren’t available
Snow Hook or Ice Hook: Heavy piece of metal attached to sled by line. The snow hook is embedded in the snow in order to hold the team and sled for a short period of time.
Snub Line: Rope attached to the sled which is used to tie the sled to a tree or other object.
Neck Line: Line that connects dog’s collar to tow line and between the two collars of a double lead.
Wheel Dogs or Wheelers: Dogs placed directly in front of the sled. Their job is to pull the sled out and around corners or trees.
Whoa!: Command used to halt the team, accompanied by heavy pressure on the brake.