Mushing Dictionary: A Guide To Dog Mushing Language
Not everyone speaks dog, and fewer still speak the language of sled dogs. This handy guide allows you to learn the proper punctuation and meaning behind the most common commands a musher asks of their team.
Line Out /līn out/: walk to the end of the line, hold it. Ideally, the dog’s eyes are forward and they are leaning into the harness. It is vitally important your dog holds this position, rather than begin to run. You need a minute to compose yourself before you go hurtling off down the trail.
Hike /hīk/: called to a team, can be loosely translated to mean “Alright, let’s go!”
On By /ôn bī/: called only out of necessity to encourage a team to continue down the trail past a temptation.
Gee /jē/: means turn right. Always called well ahead of a turn so the whole team is ready.
Haw /hô/: means turn left. Also called well ahead of a turn.
Easy /ˈēzē/: means slow it down, doggies!
Whoa /(h)wō/: stop! Sled dogs aren’t going to stop on a dime, but given after the Easy command you will have a bit more luck.
Got those ones figured out? Well, let’s try some advanced ones now!
Gee Over /ˈōvər jē/: this command tells the dogs to pass another team or trail user on the right hand side.
Haw Over /ˈōvər hô/: this command tells the dogs to pass another team or trail user on the left hand side.
Come Gee /kəm jē/: used after a stop, it asks the lead dogs to turn the team to the right and line out in the other direction.
Come Haw /kəm hô/: asks the lead dog to turn the team to the left and line out in the other direction.
Feel free to use this as a guide while you’re training. And if you have any questions for me regarding dog mushing, leave me a comment down below, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!
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