This section is from the book "All About Dogs - A Book For Doggy People", by Charles Henry Lane. Also available from Amazon: All About Dogs: A Book For Doggy People.
"The men acquire, from their youth, considerable expertness in the use of this whip. The lash is left to trail along the ground by the side of the sledge, and with it they can inflict a very severe blow upon any one of the dogs at pleasure.
"Though the dogs are kept in training solely and entirely by the fear of the whip, and, indeed without it would soon have their own way, its immediate effect is always detrimental to the draught of the sledge, for not only does the individual that is struck draw back and slacken his pace, but generally turns upon his next neighbour, and this passing on to the next occasions a general divergency, accompanied by the usual yelping and showing of teeth. The dogs then come together again by degrees, and the pace of the sledge is quickened; but even at the best of times,by this rude mode of draught, (and be it remembered the only one, in these inclement parts of the world,) the traces of one-third of the dogs form an angle of thirty or forty degrees on each side of the direction in which the sledge is advancing.
"Another great inconvenience attending the Esquimaux method of putting dogs to, besides that of not employing their strength to the best advantage, is the constant entanglement of the traces by the dogs repeatedly doubling under from side to side to avoid the whip, so that, after running a few miles, the traces always require to be taken off and cleared.
"In directing the sledge, the whip plays no very essential part, the driver for this purpose using certain words, as the carters do with us, to make the dogs turn more to the right or left. To these, a good leader attends with admirable precision, especially if his own name be repeated, at the same time looking behind over his shoulder with great earnestness, as if listening to the directions of the driver.
"On a beaten track, or where even a single foot, or sledge mark is visible, or occasionally discernible, there is not the slightest trouble in guiding the dogs; for even in the darkest night, and in the heaviest snow drifts, there is little or no danger of them losing their road, the leader keeping his nose near the ground, and directing the rest with wonderful sagacity.
"Where, however, there is no beaten track, the best driver amongst them, makes a terribly circuitous course, as all the Esquimaux roads plainly show; these generally occupying an extent of six miles, when with a horse and sledge the journey would scarcely have amounted to five!
"On rough ground, as on hummocks of ice, the sledge would be frequently overturned, or altogether stopped, if the driver did not repeatedly get off and by lifting or drawing it on one side, steer clear of those accidents. At all times, indeed, except on a smooth and well made road, he is pretty constantly employed, thus, with his feet, which, together with his never ceasing vociferations and frequent use of the whip, renders the driving of one of these vehicles by no means an easy or a pleasant task.
"When the driver wishes to stop the sledge, he calls out 'Wo, woa,' exactly as our carters do, but the attention paid to this command depends altogether on his ability to enforce it. If the weight is small and the journey homeward, the dogs are not to be thus delayed, the driver is obliged therefore to dig his heels into the snow, to obstruct their progress, and having thus succeeded in stopping them, he stands up with one leg before the foremost cross-piece of the sledge, till by means of gently laying his whip over each dog's head, he has made them all lie down. Even then, he takes care not to quit his position; so that, should the dogs set off, he is thrown upon the sledge instead of being left behind by them.
"With heavy loads, the dogs draw best with one of their own people, especially a woman, walking a little way ahead, and in this case they are sometimes enticed to mend their pace by holding a mitten to the mouth and then making the motion of cutting it with a knife and throwing it on the snow, when the dogs, mistaking it for meat, hasten forward to pick it up. The women also entice them from the huts in a similar manner. The rate at which they travel depends of course on the weight they have to draw and the roads on which the journey is performed.
"When the latter is level and very hard and smooth constituting in other parts of North America what is called 'good sleighing,' six or seven dogs will draw from eight to ten hundredweight at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour, for several hours together, and will easily, under these circumstances, perform a journey of from fifty to sixty miles a day. On untrodden snow, five and twenty, or thirty miles would be a good journey in a day.
"The same number of well-fed dogs with five or six hundredweight behind them, that of the sledge included, are almost unmanageable, and will, on a smooth road, run any way they please at the rate of ten miles an hour. The work performed, however, by a greater number of dogs is, by no means, in proportion to this, owing to the imperfect mode already described of utilising the strength of these sturdy creatures and to the more frequent snarling and fighting occasioned by the increase in numbers of the draught team or teams".
I have no doubt all owners of kennels have noticed the sudden antipathies taken by dogs sometimes to their own comrades and companions. I remember several instances, amongst my dogs; one was between two remarkably quiet and unassuming Bull Bitches, Louisa and Lucretia, who lived together in a roomy kennel for a long time, but one night there was such a great noise amongst all the dogs that I felt sure there must be something serious going on, so I got up and dressed sufficiently to go down, and found that although the barking and yelling was being done by the Sheep Dogs, Terriers, etc., the "business" lay entirely between the two ladies mentioned, who were simply locked together, and I had a nasty job to get and keep them apart, as it really wants two persons to deal with two determined "boxers," but at last, I got one outside, and the other inside the loose box, and then managed all right.