Lure Coursing: You and Your Dog 101

Wikipedia defines Lure Course as, “A sport for dogs that involves chasing a mechanically operated lure. Competition is usually limited to dogs of purebred sighthound breeds.”

Lure coursing is becoming more popular everyday as the popularity of luring grew so did the demand for courses that a llowed non-sighthounds to run. Sighthounds are a class of about 13 breeds like greyhounds and rat terriers that have the natural instinct to chase prey by sight.

What is lure coursing?
Lure coursing is a pre-designed course that has at least four turns and is approximately 600 yards. The course has a mechaincal lure, usually a piece of cloth of a fox tail. The operator moves the lure by remote and entices the dog to chase “the prey.” Many dog find luring enjoyable and wait very impatiently for their turn “to play.”

How do I begin lure coursing?
Before spending any signifivant amount of time or money in luring you first need to determin if your dog will enjoy luring. You can test your dogs prey instinct by tying a piece of cloth or plastic bag to the end of a rope. Does your dog immediately chase the prey? If so he/she will probably jump right into lure course without hesitation. Once you have determined that you dog will indeed enjoy luring, you will need to find a local lure course club. If your dog is not of a sighthound breed be sure you find a club that allows all breeds. For dogs that are running the course just for fun and exercise you will not need any special equipment.

Does my dog need special training?
There is no special training for lure coursing, however veterinarians do recommend that you condition your dog before running. Just like a marathon runner your dog needs to be conditioned and healthy. You should not run your dog more than one or two times to start. You can keep your dog conditioned or get your dog conditioned by taking walks, playing fetch, running, bike riding, etc. Any form of cardio exercise on a daily basis will keep your dog condition and reduce the chance of an injury.

What if my dog is injured?
Just like people dogs can be injuried while playing. I recommend having your veterinarian give your dog a health check before starting lure coursing. You may also want to pick up pet insurance if you plan on running your dog often or if you decide to compete.

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