Getting Started

Sled Dog Racing Queensland Inc. is a social racing club formed in 2014 by a group of experienced recreational mushers wanting to create a friendly, fun racing atmosphere and aiming to expand the sport of sled dog racing in Queensland.

Sled Dog Racing Queensland Inc. is based in South-east Queensland and holds racing events and training through out the winter season (May-Sept). Though the sport is most often enjoyed by northern breeds such as Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, sled dog racing is open to any mid to large sized dog that likes to run! It can be done with just one dog or a whole team.

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Dog Day Out

SDRQ come and try days, Dog Day Out, are held at locations in South East Queensland during Februray and March for anyone with a medium to large size dog who likes to run. Check the SDRQ events calendar for times, dates and venues.

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Coming to club meets

You are welcome to a club meet to check it out or try it out. When you first attend a club meet, seek out a committee member most often found at registration or the trail head nearby. They will brief you on activities and guide you as required.


President: Emily Vourlides
Secretary: Laurel Waldhein
Treasurer: Brendan Wieck

Club meets

When parking your car always pull over to the side of the road, avoid getting too close to others’ dogs and allow a good distance between your vehicle and any tracks we may be using.

When attending a club meet there are a number of things you should make sure you bring to ensure you and your dog/s are safe and enjoy your time in a race. Where possible, existing club members will assist in lending you equipment so you and your dog can get in there and have a go. In time you may wish to consider purchasing additional items.

What you need to bring:

What we can lend you when you're starting out:

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Event etiquette

To ensure all members enjoy the sport it is important to be mindful of the common courtesies that other mushers expect from you and your dogs, and that you may expect in return.

At the event

On the trail/track

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Basic gear

Harness PawDog sled harness: X-back is generally the most popular style of harness in racing, though there are others available. These can be custom made to suit your dog. They available in preferred colours with dog name or team names. Gangline PawGang line: Attaches the dogs harness to the scooter/MTB/runner/cart or rig, these can be bought to suit the size of your team. Always source a quality product using strong snap clips, quality polyrope and a strong bungee section.
Neckline PawNeckline: When running multiple dogs, necklines clip to the rings on each dog’s collar to keep them close and avoid tangles. Scooter PawScooter/MTB/Cart or Rig: A number of companies make scooters tough enough for sled dog Racing. Some of these include Pawtrekker, Kickbike and ASDS. Alternately, some outfitters will custom-make a scooter to suit your needs.
Light PawLight: Essential for running at night, we recommend one that gives you at least 5-10m of visibility. Headlight PawHead Light: Essential for running at night, we recommend one that gives you at least 5-10m of visibility.
Stake line PawStake out and drop line: We strongly recommend sourcing these from a supplier. The ground in many of the areas that you will run is too hard for most commercially available stakes. Drop lines can alternateively be clipped to trailer or vehicle to secure your dog.  


Safety kit

Safety pack

PawWhenever running at a club event you must carry a safety kit on your person or scooter at all times. Most people use a bum bag as it is easy to secure to your person. Your safety kit must contain:

  • A spare line or lead capable of securing a dogs to something
  • Line cutters (safety scissors, no open blades)
  • Poo bags
  • A spare carabiner or d-link
  • Recommended but not essential
    • mobile phone (if you have reception)
    • a bike tool
    • mini first aid kit.
  • Personal medication that may be specific to yourself requirements

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Preparing your dogs for training and racing

Tick Protection

Though we run during the colder months, ticks can still be a problem when running through state forest areas. There are numerous options available all with varying degrees of protection and activation times. You should research the option that you think will suit your needs and make your decision from there.

PawShampoos and rinses: Active immediately but offer poor protection. Better used after a race to kill any potential nasties your dog may have picked up.

PawCollars: Offer good long lasting protection. Depending on the collar you purchase this protection may last between 6 weeks to 3 months. Activation times range from as little as 48hrs to three weeks so be mindful of this and read your products description thoroughly to ensure your dogs are safe.

PawSpot Ons:  Offer good protection usually lasting 2 weeks for paralysis ticks. Activation on these is usually 24 to 48 hrs.

PawNatural Options: There are a number of natural options that are also becoming popular and may assist in protecting your dogs against ticks too. Some of these include organic double strength Apple Cider vinegar (with the mother culture), Neem Oil, Lavender Oil, Baltic Amber.

Food and water

Dogs should be well hydrated an hour or two before a race. Some mushers choose to do this by “baiting” the water  with food or an aromatic attraction like ground liver, fish or sardine oil. Generally dogs should not run on a full stomach as it can cause dogs to cramp, vomit or experience more serious complications like bloat (twisted stomach). Most Mushers choose to feed their dogs some time after a run, once the dog has recovered and is relaxed.


Just prior to running, many mushers do stretches with their dogs to loosen up muscles and increase flexibility. If you’re interested in learning more about stretches ask us on track or visit for a great guide to sled dog stretches.

Knowing your commands

There are different options for commands that you and your dog use on track. It isn’t that important what you use, as long as your dog understands what it is you want them to do. Some choose to use everyday words such as left, right, go and stop, which are all obvious in meaning, while other mushers choose to use traditional mushing commands. Below is a list of these commands and their meanings.

PawGEE! Command for right turn.
PawGO GEE! Command for the team to move to the right of the trail.
PawCOME GEE! 180 degree turn to the right.
PawHAW! Command for left turn.
PawGO HAW! Command for the team to move to the left of the trail.
PawCOME HAW! 180 degree turn to the left.
PawLINE OUT! Command for the lead dogs to pull the team out straight from the sled.
PawMUSH! HIKE! LET’S GO! Command to start the team running.
PawON BY! To ignore a distraction and keep running.
PawHIKE UP! Command to pick up speed.
PawWHOA! Command to halt the team. Accompanied by brake pressure.

Remember! Dogs have great hearing and typically hear you the first time you give a command. If you as a musher are constantly repeating commands to your team they lose meaning and may result in the dogs ignoring your commands completely. Always praise a positive response in your dogs. Running should be fun and rewarding and praise at the right time can encourage your team to perform well for you on track.

After you race or train

When you have completed a race you should move your scooter and team away from the finish chute in a timely manner so as not to interfere with other teams that may be coming home after you. It is best to return your team back to your car and secure them to your stake out line. Once here, there are a few things you should take care of to maximise your dog’s recovery and comfort.

For point score events there will be a vet present, and should you be concerned with your dogs physical state, have them seen by the vet immediately. For non-point score events, if you are unsure or concerned about your dog, please approach a committee member or experienced musher for advice.

Water should be given to the dogs but in a controlled manner. A few laps every few minutes is usually sufficient until their breathing and body becomes more relaxed. In between watering your dog there are a number of other tasks you should tend to.

It is handy to have a clean towel in you kit as forests can be dusty or muddy and this may end up on your dogs face. Dampening the towel may help you to wipe your dogs face after a run, particularly the eye area to ensure no foreign matter (dirt, grass seeds) ends up in their eyes. Always wipe from the outside toward the inside of the eye.

Also, check the pads of your dog’s feet for damage, burrs or ticks. If your dog’s feet are soft or the tracks are particularly rocky, you may wish to protect your dog’s paws with booties to prevent any damage occurring.  You can also get paw balms such as Mushers Secret to help keep their pads in good condition. 

At this time pay particular notice to the body language of your dog as they will usually "point" with their nose if there is an issue with any part of the leg/joints/pads. Taking your dog on a short walk to cool down and to stop the muscles from stiffening up too quickly after they have raced is also a good practice.

Happy mushing!

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