What is a ‘musher’, and why is it called ‘mushing’?

Dog Sports Australia

A ‘musher’ is the driver of a dog sled. With the unavailability of snow (?) here in Queensland, in our dryland version of the sport we extend ‘sled’ to include scooters, bikes, carts/rigs – really anything that you can do in tandem with your dog/s! Which is what you see SDRQ member Lorin doing in the picture! (attached)

So, the human of the team is the musher, and what they are doing together is ‘mushing’!

The term (by the most likely story) comes from the French word ‘marche’ (to walk), which over time mutated to sound more like the word ‘mush’ in the English language.

It may have been that drivers back then would shout ‘mush!’ to get their teams going, but in reality, you won’t find too many mushers using that as their go command. The sound is a bit soft. You’re more likely to hear a sharp ‘hike!’ or a simple ‘let’s go!’ at the start of a run.

So now you know how to get your dog to start…but you’re on your own for the end, because there’s not really any command that gets a sled dog to stop once they get going ?

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