Welcome To Sledding- 

An Introduction To Sled Dog Racing


NSW Siberian Express holds an Introduction to Sledding Day. This year our Introduction to Sledding is Saturday May 7th. At this stage we still need to decide on a location.

 What is an Introduction to Sledding Day about ?

 Our Introduction to Sledding Day is for anyone who would like to learn about the sledding sport. The club's committee goes over use of equipment, trail commands and etiquette. You also get to use the equipment as current members help you out on your first  run!


 What do I need to bring on the day?

All you need to bring is your dog, a bike helmet, sensible shoes and water (as there is none on site), our sledding committee will lend you their equipment on the day. If you want to camp you'll need your own camping equipment and some way to secure your dog/s. Due to the amount of people and other dogs, as well as State Forest Legislation, all dogs MUST be on lead at all times. Your dog might be friendly, but we may have nervous dogs in attendance looking to build their confidence and a loose dog can distract other dogs and people as well causing important information to be missed.

Topics discussed on the day!

Commands for sledding:

The committee will discuss the commands used to direct your dog around the track.

GEE: This is the universal command to turn RIGHT  or you can say 

"RIGHT" (this is a preference).

HAW: This is the universal command to turn LEFT or you can say "LEFT"

(this is a preference).

HIKE/MUSH/LET'S GO: To get the team started or to go faster. Use which

ever call gets your dog excited to run.

EASY/WOAH: To slow down 

LINE OUT: To get your team to stand firm with the gang-line tight.

ON-BY: To keep your team moving away from a distraction. Can also use Leave-it. Again this is a preference.

Equipment needed for sledding:

  • Scooter - for the 1 and  2 dog classes. 

  • Rig -  for 3, 4, 6 and 8 dog classes - For experienced mushers only. You need to be able to confidently control your dogs while on the track for your own safety, others safety, and the safety of all dogs involved as well. If you would like to move up to the larger teams, please consult the committee so we can help prepare you for it. It's not as easy as just hooking up four dogs and yelling hike :)

  • Harness for your dog/s

  • Gang-line: The gang-line attaches from the scooter/rig your dogs harness

  • Neck line: for running 2 dogs (attaches to the dogs collar)

  • A pair of side cutters (in case of emergency)

  • Bike lights and head light for night time races.

  • Safety glasses

  • Booties: Booties are used to protect your dogs feet (if necessary, usually used on snow)

  • Strong collar/ limited slip collar. Check chain collars are used as a training method only and you must be shown how to use correctly

* PLEASE NOTE: Collars with a buckle fastener aren't suitable for sledding as most are plastic and can snap.

  • Stake out line: A stake out line is a great way to secure your dogs when you need to have them outside at sledding events.


Markers are used on the track, to guide the musher around the forest. 

Red: Usually a circle. Red alerts the musher to turn. Red sign on the right-hand side of road just before a corner, turn right. If it is on the left-hand side of road just before a corner, turn Left.


Blue: Usually a rectangular shape. This is a confidence marker. This marker is usually ten or so metres after you have turned a corner. This means you are heading in the right direction.





Yellow:  Usually a triangular shape. This is a CAUTION marker, this can be placed any anywhere where it is deemed necessary to advise to take extra care. E.g. A rocky hill which may cause damage to the dog’s feet. When you see this marker you are to slow down and you cannot overtake the team in front of you.


Another thing the Committee will discuss is when it is ok to train your dog safely in the Australian climate.


Dogs can over heat and quite quickly even in

the cooler months.

(Some breeds are more susceptible than



Races shall not be run if the temperature

exceeds 15 degrees Celsius.

Learn to look for signs of your dog


  • Heavy panting or rapid breathing

  • Excessive thirst

  • Bright or dark red tongue and gums

  • Excessive drooling

  • Weakness/collapse

  • Increased pulse and heartbeat

  • Staggering/stumbling 

  • Glazed eyes.

At every race, NSW Siberian Express will have a Race Vet attend. Just don't hurt yourself because we don't have any human doctors attend :)

Advice on how to cool your dog down: 

If you suspect your dog is overheating, begin cooling your dog down by soaking his/her body with cool water –cool, but not cold. Use what is at your disposal: wet towels or any other source of cool water that is available.

Take his/her temperature if possible.

Concentrate the cooling water on his/her head, neck and in the areas underneath the front and back legs.