(It’s no secret that Dogs like to chase.... sometimes maybe from boredom they chase their own tail... but did you know that the chase is actually a natural instinct for most Dogs... we looked into this further and found a guy who calls himself the WooFDriver and he actually has built a chase kind of course for his Dogs.....what does this mean you may be asking yourself, well we asked the same thing! The WooFDriver, who has a team of Huskies, has told us that Most Dogs Chase because of their prey drive.... in fact they will chase almost anything that runs away from them.... he says that if your Dog ever runs away it’s our natural instinct to chase them but a lot of times if you can grab the dogs attention that is running away from you and show him or her that you are not chasing them and can turn away from the dog and go the opposite direction, your dog will than most likely chase you... we thought that’s an interesting approach than we found WooFDriver has a lot of interesting approaches... as he tells us he got the name WooFDriver as he is driving at a Dogs passion to satisfy their needs, especially his dogs with such a high energy drive that without enough energy outlets they can become very problematic... the only problem for us humans with Huskies in today’s modern day world is trying to keep up with them and being able to challenge their fire to burn it off by finding activities that will engage and motivate them enough to purge that power! That’s where he says appealing to that chasing instinct is an opportunity to do an activity he calls the Mazing Chase! Now WooFDriver informed us, that his sport called the Mazing Chase is actually based on a little known dog sport that’s been around for many years called lure coursing..... lure coursing is where dogs chase a flag or toy that is attached to a string on a pulley system and as the string is moved by motor the lure moves and the dog is supposed to chase it... this sport as WooFDriver understands it was originally designed for sighthounds because they hunt predominately with their keen eyesight and therefore can track the lure visually as it can travel over 1000 yards away.... so other breeds of Dogs such as WooFDriver’s Huskies who predominately hunt with their nose are less likely to chase a lure like this as it is harder for them to see and it has no scent to appeal to the kind of hunting they typically do... that being said WooFDriver tells us there are still lots of Dogs that aren’t sighthounds that will still be very interested in chasing this lure and engaging this activity. WooFDriver is proof of this because 2 of his Huskies just LOVE it!! By the way the lure is designed to run over 50 mph as some sighthounds like the greyhound can reach speeds over 40 mph.... Huskies usually max out around 30 mph.... so this is a fast moving activity that can usually ware most Dogs out after a few runs.... but again because of the Huskies endurance it seems like they can do this lure coursing all day... that’s why WooFDriver had to customize the lure course to be able to keep up with his Huskies so he built his own machine that could keep his Huskies busy for many of hours, this is why he changed his version of lure coursing and calls it the Mazing Chase... he says he actually tracked one of his Huskies for over 15 miles chasing the lure on the Mazing Chase course... how do think your dog might do with lure coursing? WooFDriver tells us that in some areas there are lure courses open to the public where you may be able to give your Dog a spin and satisfy his or her chasing instinct!
Lure Coursing for Dogs
What is Lure Coursing and How Does it Work?
Lure coursing is a dog sport that simulates the chase of live game. It involves dogs chasing a mechanized lure, typically a white plastic bag or a colorful fabric, attached to a line and pulled across a designated course.
The course is usually laid out in a large open area, like a field, where dogs can run freely.
During a lure coursing event, dogs are typically released in pairs or small groups and are judged on their abilities to follow lures with enthusiasm, speed, agility, and focus. The lure is operated by a lure operator who controls the speed and direction of the lure to challenge the dogs and simulate a realistic chase.
What it Looks Like
The course itself is designed to mimic the unpredictable movements of live prey, with twists, turns, and changes in direction. Dogs compete on a point-based system, with scores based on criteria such as speed, agility, enthusiasm, and overall performance.
Lure coursing provides dogs with exercise, mental stimulation, and an opportunity to showcase their natural hunting instincts. It is a thrilling and engaging sport for both dogs and their handlers, and it is popular among various breeds, especially those with sighthound ancestry.
History and Origins of Lure Coursing Dog Sport
Lure coursing as a dog sport traces its origins back to the early 20th century. It was developed as a way to allow dogs, especially sighthound breeds, to showcase their natural hunting abilities in a controlled and competitive environment!
The sport gained popularity in Europe, particularly in England and Ireland, where it was practiced before formal competitions began. It was initially designed for sighthound breeds such as Greyhounds, Whippets, Afghan Hounds, and Salukis, as these breeds have a strong prey drive and excel in chasing game.
In the Beginning
In the early days, the coursing events involved dogs chasing live hares in open fields. However, concerns for the safety of the dogs and the hares led to the introduction of a mechanized lure to replace live game.
This transition allowed for a safer and more controlled environment while still allowing dogs to showcase their remarkable speed and agility.
The first official lure coursing competition occurred in 1919 in the United Kingdom. It was organized by the National Coursing Club, which was responsible for coordinating formal lure coursing events and establishing rules and regulations to govern the sport.
Over time, lure coursing gained recognition and popularity worldwide, leading to the formation of various organizations dedicated to promoting and organizing this unique dog sport!
Lure Coursing Today
Today, lure coursing has evolved into a well-established and highly regulated sport, enjoyed by enthusiasts and participants worldwide. It allows dogs, regardless of breed, to engage in a sport that celebrates their natural instincts and athleticism.
Different Dog Breeds that Excel in Lure-coursing
Lure coursing is a fantastic form of exercise for any breed with a high prey drive! The sighthounds listed below are simply a few particular breeds that would most excel with the sport.
Greyhounds are often considered the epitome of the lure-coursing sport. They are known for their incredible speed, agility, and focus, making them one of the most successful breeds in competitive lure coursing.
Whippets, often called "miniature Greyhounds," are smaller in size but share many athletic qualities with their larger counterparts. They are swift, agile, and have a strong prey drive, making them competitive contenders in lure-coursing events.
Salukis are an ancient breed known for their grace, elegance, and endurance. They have a keen sense of sight and are naturally inclined to chase fast-moving prey. Salukis often excel in lure coursing due to their exceptional speed and stamina.
Afghan Hounds possess remarkable speed, agility, and a strong instinct to chase. Their long, flowing coats and regal appearance make them stand out in the lure-coursing field, where they can showcase their hunting prowess.
Originally bred for hunting large game in Africa, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have the strength, endurance, and keen prey drive required for lure coursing. They exhibit determination and speed, making them formidable competitors in this sport.
Irish Wolfhounds, despite their giant size, can surprise with their agility and athleticism. They have a history of hunting large game and possess a strong desire to chase. While not as fast as sighthounds, their endurance and tenacity can make them successful in lure coursing.
Borzois, also known as Russian Wolfhounds, are elegant and powerful sighthounds. They have a long and slender build, aiding their speed and agility. Their hunting instincts and ability to cover ground quickly make them a breed often seen in lure-coursing competitions.
It's important to note that while these breeds are known for excelling in lure coursing, individual dogs within any breed may vary in their aptitude and interest in the sport. Training, drive, and physical condition also play significant roles in a dog's performance in lure coursing.
Lure-coursing for Dogs: Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Lure coursing provides dogs with both physical exercise and mental stimulation, making it a well-rounded activity for their overall well-being. Here's how lure coursing can benefit dogs in terms of exercise and mental engagement:
Lure coursing involves high-intensity running, sprinting, and changing directions, which helps promote cardiovascular fitness and builds strength and endurance in dogs. The sport allows dogs to engage in a natural and instinctual form of exercise, catering to their innate need for running and chasing.
Regular participation in lure coursing can help dogs manage a healthy weight, enhance muscle tone, and enhance overall physical fitness.
Lure coursing engages a dog's natural hunting instincts, providing mental stimulation and satisfying their desire for chase and pursuit. Dogs must focus on the moving lure, anticipate its direction changes, and make split-second decisions to follow its path.
This mental challenge helps keep dogs mentally sharp and engaged, preventing boredom and potentially reducing destructive behaviors resulting from pent-up energy.
Bonding and Relationship Building:
Lure coursing can strengthen the bond between dogs and their handlers. Participating in the sport promotes teamwork, communication, and trust between a dog and their owner.
Working together towards a common goal, such as successfully navigating the lure-coursing course, can create a sense of accomplishment and strengthen the human-canine relationship.
Lure coursing events often allow dogs to interact with other dogs and their owners. Dogs can socialize before, during, and after the races, allowing them to meet and interact with different breeds and individuals. This socialization aspect can benefit a dog's social skills and overall well-being.
Outlet for Energy:
Many dogs have a natural need for physical activity and mental stimulation, and lure coursing provides a structured outlet for their energy. Regular participation in the sport can help prevent behavioral issues that may arise due to excess energy, such as excessive barking, restlessness, or destructiveness.
It's important to note that like any physical activity, dogs should be in good health and have proper conditioning before participating in lure coursing.
He’s going after his “prey” of course, and he’s doing exactly what sighthounds are supposed to do. They’re born and bred to chase their prey! Their natural inclination to hunt by sight, not smell, is literally in their DNA.
American Kennel Club. Lure Coursing. https://www.akc.org/sports/coursing/lure-coursing/
Training Techniques and Tips for Lure-coursing
Preparing a dog for lure coursing requires a combination of physical conditioning, training, and exposure to the sport. Here are some techniques and tips to consider:
Equipment Used in Lure Coursing
Lure coursing requires specific equipment to ensure safe and fair competition. Here are some common equipment used in lure coursing:
Lure machine: A mechanical device to move the lure along the course. It typically consists of a motor-driven spool or pulley system that controls the lure's movement.
Lures: Different types of lures are used to simulate the movement of prey for the dogs to chase. These lures can be made of artificial materials such as plastic or fabric, and they often resemble small animals like rabbits or squirrels. There are several styles of lures, including continuous loop lures and drag lures.
Coursing jackets or vests: These vests are typically brightly colored and designed to hold the lures securely during the course. They allow the lure operator to attach the lure and control its movement along the course.
Slip leads or lure coursing collars: Special collars or slip leads are used to connect the dogs to the lure during the coursing event. These collars ensure the dogs can be released quickly and safely for their run.
Coursing blankets: These are soft blankets or mats used at the start and finish lines of the course. They provide cushioning and protection for the dogs during the release and capture process.
Coursing field equipment: This includes markers or flags to indicate the boundaries of the course, as well as brightly colored obstacles or markers to guide the dogs along the course.
Timing equipment: Timing devices such as handheld stopwatches or electronic timers may be used to accurately measure the time the dogs took to complete the course.
It's worth noting that the specific equipment used may differ slightly depending on the various organizations and rules being followed for the lure coursing event. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the equipment and rules of the specific event or organization you are participating in.
Fast CAT, or Coursing Ability Test, is a popular dog sport that showcases a dog's natural instinct and speed. In Fast CAT lure coursing, dogs chase a mechanically operated lure that is attached to a pulley system. The lure, typically a white plastic bag or a strip of fur, travels in a straight line and mimics the erratic movement of prey.
The course is usually set in an open field, typically around 100 to 300 yards in length. Dogs are lined up individually to run the course, and they are released on a signal. The goal is for the dog to chase and reach the lure as quickly as possible. The dog's speed is measured through electronic timing equipment, which records their time to the nearest hundredth of a second.
Lure Coursing for Dogs Summary:
Lure coursing is an exciting dog sport that simulates the hunting instincts of sighthounds and other breeds with a strong prey drive! Dogs chase a mechanical lure that mimics the movement of small prey animals, typically through a designated course.
The sport originated from the traditional hunting practices of these breeds and has evolved into a competitive activity that showcases their speed, agility, and instinctive abilities. Lure coursing events are organized by various kennel clubs and organizations, providing a controlled and safe environment for dogs to demonstrate their natural abilities.
The sport not only offers physical exercise and mental stimulation for dogs but also strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners! With specific training and conditioning, dogs can participate in lure coursing events, competing for titles and recognition based on their performance, speed, and overall skill.