Have you tried this dog exercise?

IMG_5623I love Sundays because sometimes “Mum” takes us Lure Coursing in Oberlin Ohio. If you stop in the store on a Sunday and we are not there to greet you and grandpa is holding down the Bakery there is a good chance that the girls and I are doing our favorite thing – running. Actually Jane & I are the only ones that love to lure course. Knight, Cookie, and Fergus just run around and pretend to follow the course but they always finish the run off with a dash to the finish line and “Mum”.

For those of you that are not familar with lure coursing I’ll do my best to explain it. Lure coursing is a sight performance sport to simulate hunting for sighthounds. Sighthounds hunt by sight and if we do not see the game we do not hunt. In this event the game is simulated by a plastic bag on a 1,000 yard track that takes multiple turns. A scent hound hunts by smelling the game so only sighthounds cannot participate in this sport.

On this Sunday Jane & I were really eager to run. Jane was injured last year and Mum wanted to see if she was her old self, which was very good. Mum loves to watch Jane run and says she is poetry in motion. We were the last dogs to run on this day. We both got an excellent start at the starting line and I followed the lure without cheating (cutting corners and distance and picking up the lure on another leg). Mum said I ran like I was two instead of nine and I could see she was really proud of me. On the last leg I got a cramp and cried out, mum asked the lure operator to stop the run and she and the Vet that was at the event ran out to check me. After a rub down with liniment I wasn’t even limping any more. Guess these old bones need more warm up before running long distances. Mum decided to hold me out of the final run.

Jane ran the final and of course she won but I really think that on this day I could have beaten her. Jane always wins at these lure coursing events and I always win at the straight racing events.

We all had a fun day and I put on my best act of being hurt when we got home so that Mum would give us all a few extra all natural dog treats from One Lucky Dog Bakery. This made it a perfect end to a perfect day.

What is Lure Coursing?

IMG_5623Sighthounds are dogs that were bred to chase game by sight rather than track game by scent. Lure Coursing is a humane performance event for hounds that duplicates the chasing of game and is great exercise for the dogs and a lot of fun for dog owners and the dogs. You will know how much we love it when you attend an event and see the owners struggle at the starting line to hold their dogs back until the starter announces the release. We just can’t wait to get after that lure.

Currently the breeds accepted at lure coursing events are Purebred Afghan hounds, Azawakhs, Basenjis, Borzoi, Cirnecho dell’Etna, Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Ibizan Hounds,Pharoah Hounds, Salukis, Sloughis, Scottish Deerhounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Whippets. Limited Stake Breeds chart Polskis, Galgo Espanols, Magyar Agars, Peruvian Inca Orchids, Portuguese Podengros, and Silken Windhounds. Lure Cousing events are sponsored by American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and American Kennel Club(AKC).

A local club that is licensed by one of the three sponsoring organizations hosts a coursing trial. You can find these local clubs by visiting the sponsor’s websites at www.akc.org (click on performance events, lurecoursing/clubs) and www.asfa.org (click on member clubs).

You need to practice your dog and get the dog certified to run in a trial so check with the club to see if they will have certification/practice runs at the trial. Some other things to remember:

· Get good directions, these events are not easy to find.

· Bring a lot of water and a water dish for your hound.

· Purchase a quick release for the leash.

· Bring a chair and shade for the car. The day is long. Some Clubs have lunch available.

· Bring some great gourmet dog treats.

· Wear layers of clothing since the weather can change from cold to rainy to warm very quickly.

Dogs run against their own breed and if they win their breed will run against the other breeds to determine the best in the field that day. The dogs earn points toward titles. Jane (we both live with the Baker of those great gourmet dog treats) and I have our Lure Coursing Championship Titles. Please do not tell Jane I said this. Jane is better than me in Lure Coursing but I am the best at straight racing.

Get involved and have fun, it is a blast.