I grew up with Afghan Hounds, so am familiar with lure coursing. But it has been a while since I have done any coursing with my own dogs. Lure coursing used to be offered for sighthounds only, but years back AKC started offering Coursing Ability Tests, to test the coursing ability of non sighthounds. In CAT, the dogs run alone always. Caos, my standard poodle, was a coursing fool until arthritis in his neck forced retirement from any sports.
Lure coursing tests the prey drive and focus of dogs. A plastic bag is on a string that is run around a course/through a field and ran by person who can control the speed of the lure. The idea is that the dog chases the lure and stays on course. Many dogs start out great but loose focus as the lure changes directions/speed/etc. It's a blast to watch and amazing to see the speed and athleticism of the dogs. Of course the dogs need to be fit and healthy to do this.
Recently a sighthound club was offering practice runs for non sighthound breeds. So I headed out that way with my guys. Moon, the Rottie, had coursed a bit as a puppy and always showed great enthusiasm. Needless to say she remembered it and was very happy to be back coursing She got excited as soon as she saw the lure! When it was her turn, she ran beautifully, staying on course, until the lure got stuck. But she definitely has a future in coursing.
As I expected, Cayenne didn't see the point-why would she leave a crowd of people who might pet her to chase a plastic bag? Silly people to think that! But Salza, her daughter, loved it. Salza's favorite thing in the world is squirrels, so I was not surprised by this. The biggest compliment was that she ran better then some of the sighthounds!
We will be back to lure course again! For more info on lure coursing visit AKCs website www.akc.org. Then have recently introduced FAST CAT, straight lure coursing for non sighthounds. I can't wait to let Moon and Salza give this a try!
Boo Donoho, DVM