Volunteer Info

One of our most important jobs is helping the teams to the starting line. The following info is for those considering helping.  It is an exciting job and takes some athletic abilities.  Please bring a long leash if you own one.

10 Things to Know About Sled Dog Handling for Volunteers

1. SAFETY IS VERY IMPORTANT!  Dogs have teeth and they do bite.2. Wear protective clothing and gear for cold weather conditions: no pins or sharp objects which could harm the dogs.3. You will be assigned to a musher by the Dog Handler Coordinator.  Dog handlers are a very important part of sled dog racing.  For example, the musher or team coordinator may ask you to help hold the dog while he or she puts on the harness.

4. Always ask the musher or team coordinator for your assignment on the line up, as well as any questions on how he or she wishes your assigned dog to be handled.

5. Dog handlers are used by the musher to hold onto the dog while lining up and getting ready for the starting line.  Usually they will provide you with a dog leash with which to hold onto your assigned dog.  The dog leash should be attached to the dog’s neck collar or to the tug line.  One handler per two dogs is usually sufficient to prepare a small team.  However a larger team of ten or more dogs may require more handlers per number of dogs.

6. A couple of things to keep in mind during the event setup:  the dogs will be barking loudly most of the time, so remember to speak clearly and loudly as well when communicating with the musher or other volunteers.   Also, the dogs will be anxious to start and will pull hard while being handled.  If feel you are loosing control of the animal or need assistance, ask for help immediately.  If you loose control of the dog, you may end up being dragged forward by it.

7.  Watch out for dogs chewing or biting the lines, including the main tug line and their neckline.  Command the dog loudly to stop by saying “NO!” or “STOP!”.  As soon as possible, inform the musher or team coordinator to prevent any damage to the lines which may significantly delay the start of the team.

8.  At the starting line, the race announcer will count backwards from ten.  The musher will inform the handler when to take the leash off.  (This is usually done at the count of five.)  Take the leash off and step backwards and away from the dogs as fast as you safely can.

9.  Job well done as you see the musher head out to the trail with all their dogs.

10.  Please return the dog leash to their respective team coordinator.  And you are ready for your next assigned team.

If you are interested in helping at the races but cannot attend the meeting call our Volunteer Coordinator Cheri King at 530-261-1653 or write to info@siskiyousleddograces.net.

Volunteer Application 2013

We need volunteers to help in all aspects of the race – from planning, organization and operations, to media, public relations, fundraising and administrative work, and many various positions on race days such as timers, trail markers, parking and transportation help, dog handlers, and more! SSDSA activities are family oriented and open to the public.