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.
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.
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
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:
- 2L of water per dog (extra water for yourself)
- A way to secure your dog while unsupervised (not chewable)
- A fixed or limited slip collar (full choke and prong collars not accepted)
- When staying overnight, food and refreshments for yourself and your dog
- Camping gear
- Torch and/or headlight for moving round in the dark
- Warm clothes/change of clothes and wet weather gear just in case!
What we can lend you when you're starting out:
- A scooter/MTB
- A harness for you dog
- A gang line
- Safety kit
- Adequate running lights
- A running buddy, just to make sure you’re ok!
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
- Always ask an owner’s permission before approaching another dog - some dogs may be uncomfortable with interactions by strangers when on stake out lines or drop lines.
- Your dog should be restrained when not closely supervised to avoid it approaching other dogs that are restrained and possibly causing issues.
- Children are welcome at events but need to respect other dogs and owners and must always ask before approaching another musher’s dog.
- When setting up your gear at the beginning of a race be mindful of space and the ability of others to move around the area without having to avoid your dogs or gear. It is always best to keep dogs on a short line to avoid them jumping out at passers-by. 0.5m is usually adequate.
- The areas we run at are State forests. Everything that enters the forest must leave, and this includes your dog’s excrement. Always pick up after your dog and take your rubbish with you. Smoking is also not permitted in the forest.
- It is always a good idea to regularly inspect your gear to ensure you don’t have any unnecessary trouble when you are out on track. Things can go wrong with lights, harnesses, necklines, gang lines, clips and your scooter, bike or rig.
On the trail/track
- It is your responsibility to keep your dogs under control. When running in groups, it is a good idea to tell other mushers about any concerns you may have with your dog’s ability.
- When passing other mushers on trail the overtaking team has right of way. You must ensure other mushers can pass you unimpeded. It is good practice, starting out, to stop your dog and pull them to the side to allow the a musher a clean pass. Once they have passed you may not pass them again immediately.
- If you are passing another team you must always call “Trail”. Call which side, "Trail left" or "Trail right", so the other musher is aware of your intention and you can react accordingly. The musher being passed should also acknowledge your call, "OK" or wave them through.
- Calling “Trail” should be done well in advance of the overtaking procedure.
- If an incident occurs on-track, ensure the other mushers involved and their dogs are OK. Help each other out when needed, and apologise if you are at fault. People aren’t perfect and dogs can be unpredictable. Be understanding and communicate with each other.
- …and HAVE FUN!
|Dog 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.||Gang 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: When running multiple dogs, necklines clip to the rings on each dog’s collar to keep them close and avoid tangles.||Scooter/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: Essential for running at night, we recommend one that gives you at least 5-10m of visibility.||Head Light: Essential for running at night, we recommend one that gives you at least 5-10m of visibility.|
|Stake 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.||
Whenever 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:
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.
Shampoos and rinses: Active immediately but offer poor protection. Better used after a race to kill any potential nasties your dog may have picked up.
Collars: 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.
Spot Ons: Offer good protection usually lasting 2 weeks for paralysis ticks. Activation on these is usually 24 to 48 hrs.
Natural 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 www.sleddogcentral.com/features/canine_massage/article.htm 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.
|GEE!||Command for right turn.|
|GO GEE!||Command for the team to move to the right of the trail.|
|COME GEE!||180 degree turn to the right.|
|HAW!||Command for left turn.|
|GO HAW!||Command for the team to move to the left of the trail.|
|COME HAW!||180 degree turn to the left.|
|LINE OUT!||Command for the lead dogs to pull the team out straight from the sled.|
|MUSH! HIKE! LET’S GO!||Command to start the team running.|
|ON BY!||To ignore a distraction and keep running.|
|HIKE UP!||Command to pick up speed.|
|WHOA!||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.