fun facts about urban mushing.
Dry land mushing, also known as urban mushing or dog scootering, is becoming more and more
popular in the U.S. It’s a great way of exercising your active dog. The dog is typically harnessed to the front of
a specialized scooter or “rig” in the same manner as they would be to an arctic dog sled.
There are various types of harnesses used to hook the dog up with. The most
common is called the X-back harness. This is what is usually found being used by mushers in Alaska. This type
of harness distributed the weight evenly across the back and the center of the pull is close to the base of
the tail. This is much more comfortable for the dog and allows for an unrestricted gape when running. The
drawback is that it is less secure and can be backed out of.
The second type is called a universal or Urban Trail Harness. This type of
harness gives more control and security as it is designed similar to the standard harness you find in stores
but with extra padding for comfort.
The harness is hooked up to what is called a gang line. This is typically a
nylon line with clips at both ends and some sort of shock absorption. They can be designed for single or
double. You can also add gang line sections together to be able to hook up multiple dogs at once.
Rigs and Scooters
There are four wheel rigs. These are designed primarily for rough terrain
and various weather conditions. Three wheeled rigs are designed for a rougher terrain but mostly for dry
weather conditions. And finally the two wheeled scooter design. This is what is typically called the urban
scooter as most are designed for pavement and moderately rough conditions.
As an added note there are side winder hookups that can be hooded to bikes and scooters that
allow the dog to run next to you.
Although urban mushing is great fun, you first need to be prepared. You can’t expect to
hook your Siberian husky up on the first day and have them know what they are supposed to do. The first step
in training a Siberian husky or any other dog
to dry land mush is to teach them the commands.
“Hike” it the command typically used to go forward, usually full speed. You can also make a
kissing sound to
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get them to go faster. “Gee” is to turn right while “Haw” is left. “Easy” is the command used to have them slow
down and “Whoa” is to stop. Another useful command is “On by” which essentially means to pass by a distraction
I would suggest first walking them on a leash and start training the commands. After that
walk them on a leash, but hook the leash up to the harness, again re-enforcing the commands. Next keep them on the
leash and harness and walk the scooter/rig with you so they get used to being near it.
After they have the commands down and seem to be comfortable near the scooter hook them up
to the scooter with the gang line and “walk” them with the scooter. After they get the feeling of pulling and you
know you can control them then jump on and let them pull you short distances at a slow pace.
Before long you will be zooming down the sidewalks and trails like the inner musher you
by Phillip Congleton - March 11, 2011
Phill has been a volunteer for the South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue since 2007 and has lived with the
breed for several years. The experiance he has is from experts in the breed, personal experiences as well
as the countless hours helping others who have the breed.