What Is Lure Coursing
Lure coursing is a dog sport where your dog will chase an artificial mechanized object over a designated area, usually a field. The object will simulate movement in a pattern much like a live object would. This sport is generally reserved for the sight hound breeds like greyhounds, afghan hounds, deer hounds, and basenji. A lure course usually is somewhere between 600 and 1000 yards in length. These courses may include obstacles and jumps. In order to simulate prey, a course is required to have a minimum number of turns. To determine eligibility for this event the AKC has a pass/fail course called the Coursing Ability Test. It is best to contact the AKC to obtain information about upcoming events.
Training Your Dog For Lure Coursing
Training for this sport is almost non-existent. Sight hounds usually don’t need training to chase prey. Their desire for the chase is pure instinct. You might occasionally run across a breed or two that requires minimal training to excite the dog into chasing an artificial object. The equipment required for this sport is minimal. In official competition events all dogs must be muzzled when running in pairs or trios. This stops the dogs from biting one another or biting the lure. Lure blankets are also required in competition. These blankets will be of various colors and will relate to the level of skill of the dog. And since there are no starting boxes for the beginning of the race, all dogs are leashed in some way. When a pup starts training for lure coursing, you can obtain a fishing pole and attach a favorite toy to a three foot length of cord which in turn is attached to the fishing pole. Dragging the toy around while you turn in a circle is the beginning of lure coursing training. Your pup should be chasing the toy with glee! When the pup becomes accustomed to chasing the toy, replace it with a plastic garbage bag as this is what is typically used in competition.
A dog must be at least one year old to compete in Lure Coursing. The quick turns and the speed needed to maneuver the course are hard on a developing dog’s joints and might cause damage later in life. Other health concerns might include being injured by other dogs. The sport of Lure Coursing brings a dog back to a very primal urge—that of chasing prey. A dog that is normally well behaved might interfere with another dog during the thrill of the hunt. Running at full speed, competing with other dogs, there are sure to be bumps, crashes, and potential injuries. Prepare your dog for this by practicing for a few minutes at a time with other dogs in training.
Watching your dog participate in Lure Coursing is watching your dog do something it has evolved over thousands of years to do. It is an amazing and awe inspiring experience.
Photo: Courtesy of Deb via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)