Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lure Coursing!

Much like flirtpole, lure coursing is an incredibly lazy way to exhaust my dog. Obviously laziness is why I get up before dawn and drive for hours to spend all day helping run lure coursing events. Brisbane runs with Tired Dog Good Dog all-breed fun lure coursing. Tired Dog Good Dog events are usually held along with agility trials and other dog events in the greater Los Angeles area. Tomorrow we will be at Woodley Park in Van Nuys.
Photo by Pawz in Action

What is Lure Coursing?

In a nutshell, lure coursing is chasing a bag on a string. 

The sport was invented as a way to simulate a running rabbit, originally as a way to test sighthounds for their hunting ability. Chasing live rabbits is complicated, difficult, and cruel to the rabbits, plus it's highly imprecise. How do you accurately compare one hound's ability to run versus another? 

Photo by Pawz in Action
The answer is to make the 'rabbit' run the same path for each dog. The lure is almost always a plastic grocery bag because these look the most like a running animal. Some lure coursing machine have a long piece of string with a bag on the end, and a motorized wheel that can wind the string up very fast. This is called a drag lure. Drag lures can go in a straight line, or they can make turns by going around pulleys. The drag lure must be unwound and reset for every run.

Photo by Pawz in Action
Tired Dog Good Dog uses a continuous loop lure course. There is one giant loop of string, 600-800 feet long, turned by a wheel on a motor. The string runs around several pulleys in the field, and can go around and around without stopping so the dogs can run until their legs fall off. The top-of-the-line machines can also reverse effortlessly, so dogs that aren't confident enough to go around the entire course can run back and forth while get the idea.

Photo by Pawz in Action
I help out with TDGD events so Brisbane can run until he is well and truly tired (also because I love all the other people involved and their dogs). We know that, unlike most dogs, Brisbane does not actually lose interest in the lure. He eventually gets tired enough that he walks instead of runs after it, but even when the batteries and Brisbane are both completely drained, he likes to lay there and stare at the lure just in case it starts moving again. Briz also never quite gets tired enough to quit stealing food, but he still loves Tired Dog Good Dog lure coursing.

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