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Manual for canicrossar beginner's and other individual musher


The popularity of individual mushing disciplines and the large influx of new faces into the sport raise concerns about how it will be in compliance with the rules of the sport and the racing rules. The rules should not be the prerogative of licensed competitors, but of course for all race organizers and anyone who stands at the start with their dog.

In addition to the racing rules, which you will find in the link at the end of the article, we have decided to write many useful tips gained through years of experience as a competitor, but also a race organizer. It is not only about my experience, I will also describe the shared know-how of the members Musher klubu MK JCC.z.s.

This manual is aimed primarily at beginners and intermediate competitors. Many current races are only partially or not governed by the ČASS (Czech Sleddog Sports Association) racing rules. Let us realize that not only the organizers of the races, but especially the competitors themselves significantly influence the quality of the given race and in a way participate in the development of the sport as such. Therefore, the goal should be to educate all of us and thus strive to develop sport in the right direction.


  1. I want to race - how to choose a race?

  2. Arrival at the race / acceptance / tour of the track

  3. Follow the instructions of the organizer and helpers at the race

  4. Preparing to start

  5. In the race

  6. Finish and behavior after the run

  7. Results announcement

  8. Conclusion and links

I want to race - how to choose a race?

Many of us participate in the race, both as a competitor and as an observer, and the so-called "dog holder" as known as dog handler. We all have a duty to behave in accordance with the rules and regulations throughout the race.

  1. When choosing races, look for references from other competitors. Very often they have interesting comments.

  2. The safety and health of your dog is the most important thing. Therefore, we do not recommend races in the summer with a start in high temperatures. Even a guarantee of enough water at the start and finish will not prevent the dog from overheating. Experienced organizers have a shortened track in reserve in case of warm weather and other tools to reduce the risk to dogs' health.

  3. Many races do not hide the fact that their target group is just beginners. Please take into account the high concentration of inexperienced dogs and handlers and thus the increased risk of complications. This can lead to a paradox where a race for beginning athletes is the least suitable for them.

  4. Official races organized by registred musher clubs are not just for elite athletes. On the contrary, beginners are welcome here, regardless of the size of the dog. the most you will learn here is usually by observing other athletes.

  5. Always consider your dog's abilities. Track length, temperature and track profile should not be anything you are not prepared for.

Arrival at the race / acceptance / tour of the track

Our sport quite often requires a sacrifice in the form of your comfort. This is doubly true for races. The propositions almost always state the time required for the acceptance / presence of the competitors. That is why we go to the race to catch up with the acceptance in time. This will significantly save us such complications as a long queue 10 minutes before the end of the inspection and a huge group of roaring and attacking dogs at the inspection site. From personal experience, we highly recommend driving the day before and spending the night in the adjacent camp / boarding house or under a tent. This will help acclimatize you and your dog.

All you need for the acceptance is a vaccination card, still filled in for official races "Chip list"

Leave the dog in the car or at the stake-out before you go for inspection. If this is not possible, entrust it to the care of someone who will not go for the acceptance. If you have no choice but to take the dog, then try to shorten the stay among other dogs as much as possible. You will save him unnecessary stress in the form of a queue of roaring dogs, whose owners often do not respect their comfort and needs. We take the dog for acceptance only if the organizer directly requests it or if a veterinary inspection / acceptance of dogs is performed before the race.

  1. If you arrive on time, you can choose parking near the start and in the shade.

  2. Make plenty of time to walk the track and keep your dogs on the leash at all times! Some competitors ride the route before the race with a dog and there is no worse collision than with a dog without leash.

  3. Check the route markings and identify potentially dangerous sections.

  4. Adjust your time with the time of the starter / organizer. This time is commanding and your sleepy start is your fault.

  5. View the starting point and finish and prepare your start and finish and subsequent activities at the finish of the race. This will prevent confusion and mistakes.

Follow the instructions of the organizer and helpers at the race

Each race organizer will always specify the specific rules for their race in the propositions. No matter how meaningless these rules are or in conflict with the race rules, they have their justification. You, as a competitor who registers for the race, have a duty to know these rules and, most importantly, to follow them!

Preparing to start

  1. In recent years, the interval form of a start with a time interval has been a frequent way of starting. Always be ready with your dog on time at the start point with the start number and chip attached. (Timely means at least 5-10 minutes before the start.)

  2. Always follow the organizer's instructions at the start.

  3. Keep your dog under control and keep it short so that he cannot contact other dogs unnecessarily and vice versa.

  4. If you can wait for the start in the shade, use this option, it safe your dogs energy.


When you are already at the starting line and waiting for your starting time, we recommend the following:

  1. Always keep your dog short and in control. When starting on a scooter or bicycle, it is better to have one helper to keep the dog at the start.

  2. Stay focused to yourself and your dog.

  3. In the orher hand also keep track of what is happening in front of you and behind you. Knowledge of the opponent and the behavior of his dog can help you evaluate the situation on the track.

  4. Try to keep in touch with the organizer responsible for starting the competitors. At least eye-contact is important.

  5. In the case of a mass start, choose carefully where you stand. Be objective to your abilities and the abilities of your dog. Not everyone has to stand in the first wave of a mass start.

  6. At a mass start, keep the dog short for as long as necessary. Keeping your dog under control until a bunch of dogs and runners is torn apart.

  7. Once you have run out, remember that the race is won at the finish, not at the start!

In the race

Now it's up to you and your dog. However, even in this situation, there are some tips that can help you a lot:

  1. Follow the track in front of you, but also behind you, so that you have an overview of the upcoming faster team.

  2. In the event that someone overtakes you, it is your responsibility to immediately allow this team to overtake smoothly, even at the cost of having to stop and clear the track yourself. We recommend that you pay more attention and watch over your dog so that you are able to respond to the situation.

  3. When you overtake your opponent, always make sure that your dog does not contact the dog of the overtaken opponent in any way. Always indicate when overtaking that you intend to overtake. Make sure your opponent and his dog know about you. It is common practice and decency to report the side from which you intend to overtake your opponent. Basic comand / signal for overtaking is "Track" or "Trail"

  4. Calm your ambitions and overtake only in places where it is safe for you and your dog, as well as for the opponent and his dog.

  5. Consideration and self-reflection are always in place

Finish and behavior after the run

We all know what euphoria, pain, joy and confusion can occur in the finish. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Never, NEVER and NEVER again, drag your dog to the finish line. If he no longer has enough strength, run at a parallel pace.

  2. You already know the finish place, so you know where the water is, where you drop the chip.

  3. Do not stay at the finish line longer than necessary and free up space for other competitors.

  4. Take your dog away immediately or make sure he is taken to a quiet place. Here he can breathe in peace, relax and prepared fresh water.

  5. As soon as the dog is properly cared for, ie it is calm, well-trotted, watered and ready to rest, then immediately put it in the car or in a place where it can rest calmly and undisturbed.

  6. Do not drag your dog with you in the race area and give him peace!

  7. All actions associated with taking care of your dog should take absolute precedence over your personal needs!

Waiting for the announcement of results and the ceremonial itself

It may sound ridiculous, but this part of the race has its unwritten rules.

  1. If you are going to complain about the behavior of a competitor, now is the time. The organizer is no longer obliged to deal with your later protests on Facebook.

  2. Is your time wrongly measured ? Notify the organizer immediately. However, the rule is that the organizer and his timekeeper are always right and it is up to them to assess your complaint.

  3. Let your dog rest and don't drag him out unnecessarily unless you have a podium.

  4. If you still insist on a photo with your dog from the podium, then try to keep your dog out of the action and calm as much as possible.


Don't be ashamed to ask the more experienced and don't be afraid to contradict and discuss their claims with them. More experienced competitors have already built their own rituals, which may conflict with this brief manual. However, this does not mean that the manual or the competitor's ritual is wrong. Everyone has to find a way to deal with the race day. However, the health and comfort of your dog should come first.

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Important links:

Race rules (Czech) - ZDE

Czech association of sleddog sports - ZDE

Musher club JCC, z.s. - ZDE

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