I write for a local newspaper. Some times my works end up on line, other times, just the print version. Therefore, I will be sharing a lot of what I do for the paper on my blog as well – because I do not get paid for the paper 🙂 Here is the most recent publication. Please remember, I am limited to 600 words for the paper 🙂 If I write directly for the blog, I am not.
Work Your Dog: Introducing Lure Coursing
Dogs who are not getting their physical and behavioral needs met are more likely to develop undesired behaviors. Destructive behaviors, excessive barking, pacing, even behaviors that are called aggressive can all be caused when we fail to meet our dog’s needs. These dogs are not vindictive or bad; they are simply trying to meet their needs because their owners are not. Activities, both formal sports and informal fun games at home, are great ways to meet your dog’s needs. On November 8, my daughter and I attended her first Lure Coursing Fun Day. Therefore, I have decided to start off your introduction to different dog activities with Lure Coursing. Modern Lure Coursing is based on hunting with a group of dog breeds called sighthounds.
As the name implies, sighthounds hunt by sight. Over the centuries, and millennia, men began holding competitions to show whose dogs coursed game the best. However, competitions hinged on the availability of live game. In the 1970s, sighthound enthusiast, Lyle Gillette, worked to develop a sport where sighthounds could course without the need for live game. A motorized system drags lures, at speeds up to 50 mph, though a series of pulleys, this mimics the actions of a live animal. Today, Lure Coursing is a sport that can be enjoyed by all dogs. How do you get started?
Lure Coursing is a very physical activity with competition courses between 600 and 1,000 yards. Make sure your dog is in good shape – a vet check is advised – and carefully condition as you would any athlete. Use a flirt pole to get your dog chasing a lure (a flirt pole can be made using a horse lunge whip with a fleece toy tied to the end – lunge whips are available on Amazon). You can even purchase or make your own coursing equipment. There are various online resources for creating a lure course machine. Alternatively, Wicked Coursing Products carries a small machine called a ZippityDog which should be fine for home use. But for the pet dog, just dragging a lure across the ground is a lot of fun!
The American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club both recognize Lure Coursing and award various titles. There are also specialty clubs specifically for Lure Coursing. A quick internet search will help you find one. Though most Lure Coursing titles are for sight hounds the AKC and UKC have Lure Coursing events for everything from the best bred purebred sight hound to the sweet little cross you picked up at your local Shelter.
The girl, all of ten years old, knelt at the starting point. She gently held her puppy’s collar. The judge asked if she was ready, “Yes.” “Tally-ho!” – the call to start the lure and release the dog. The six month old pup took off after the white bags attached to the cord. Focused on the bags, the pup followed the lure around corners and across straight-a-ways. Eventually, at the end the pup “caught” her quarry. The young girl, who has had her pup for about five months, and who never did Lure Coursing, was very pleased at the performance her Standard Schnauzer pup gave. She is already talking about working towards a Coursing Ability title.
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