by Lita Long
Lure Coursing has been around for eons of time and is great cardio for all dogs. It can be endurance building, strength building and just flat out fun for your dog. A great way to relieve stress- a well exercised dog is a tired dog. About 5 yrs ago AKC opened lure coursing up to all breeds. It is a fun way to let your dog follow his instinct and I knew about this from letting my OES and Paps have a go at it way back when.
So when the opportunity arose to start it here in Salem on a great fairly flat piece of property, out came the donated riding mower and Mr Baggie was born.
Since we have started it, it has been planned according to activity based on field conditions, weather and time permitting.
How does it work?
A plastic bag is tied to a line and runs thru pulleys in a pattern. I use a basic rectangle pattern for the dogs to have 2 long stretches with 2 fairly medium corner turns as well. I think the dog should learn to look for the lure and movement over the field. So they can spot the big prey of the bag moving. We limit dogs runs to a max of 3 laps at a time for normal everyday dogs in general good health and they get up to 3 times up to the line to run, If they are fit. Sometimes even the most fit dogs run out of gas with even those limits. The reason being is that Dogs run hard after the prey and give it their all to try to catch the bag. Each lap is 450′ and then you do 3 of those at a time. that is a lot of hard running.It is nothing like running after a ball and bringing it back. Imagine you are a football player and you have to get to the end zone with the ball,well it is like that for the dogs. only they are trying to catch the ball to score the reward.
Now the reward- a simple plastic bag tied to the line.
Some people are concerned about the dog eating the back. I stop the run as close to the owner as possible so they can catch the dog. I have yet had a dog eat a bag, tear it up, and yes that is okay, after all they are tired and do not want it moving again, or they will have to go after it again.
What if my dog is not interested. This can happen, about 1 in 50 dogs just will walk away. Why, because they have been told not to chase anything, so you are an evil owner if you think I am going to chase that bag, No way, I do not see it.
In reality, they want to. Most dogs have an umbilical cord with their owners and the first time they run so far and run back. At this time I ask the owner to be still and quiet, let the dog think. we bring them back and try again. Sometimes just let them think about it for 20 mins or so and then try again. I enjoy watching dogs get started and how much they enjoy their visit.
Can my dog get hurt, will he run away?
Any dog that has shown interest in running and did the courser, is way too tired to go anywhere except to the shade to cool off. As far as getting hurt- every effort is made to be sure there is nothing on the course that a dog can get injured from.
Will my dog fall down?
It’s possible that can happen if they are not watching where the upcoming corners are,once they learn where the corners are they are in good shape.
If you want to earn titles by doing this fun activity, you can register your dog with the AKC as an All American Dog and by completing 3 runs at an Official Lure Coursing test, you then can put the letters CA behind his name. AKC now has started a Fast Track program that wins your dog a title based on how fast your dog can run a 100 yard dash. There are titles for each breed. I have not set that up as of yet, That is work in progress. For more information on all of the above check it out on American Kennel Club – The Dog’s Champion
For more information on Lita’s lure course, join her Facebook group Mr Baggie Lure Coursing