The sport of Lure Coursing … maybe in the Spring, definitely not in the Winter.
(That pun would be so much better with a photo or two to illustrate it, but I can’t run my dogs and photograph them at the same time. Sorry for the let down.)
Have you ever been lure coursing? This is a super fun sport! It goes like this:
This guy has this nifty little motor thing:
The motor operates a zippy fast nylon line that has these attached to the end:
All dogs want these things.*
(*”all dogs” does not include Winter)
These dogs REALLY want those things:
So you set some of them doggies up on this end of the field:
and then motor guy makes the plastic bag bunnies run away, and all hell breaks loose!
It’s pretty amazing … the dogs are SO FAST! They really want those plastic bag bunnies in the worst way, so they run like stink. That’s some exciting shit.
Unless you are Winter. If you are Winter, you are either way too smart to confuse a plastic bag with a bunny, or you are way too stupid to figure out the rules of what is probably the easiest game in the entire world.
Each of my dogs got two turns today – first separately and then as a team. Spring’s first turn was pretty sketchy because while chasing the “bunny” was kind of fun, there was a stranger THAT MUST BE BARKED AT! BARKBARKBARK! at the finish line waiting to catch her, so she turned around and came back to me and grumbled about the strange lady being a bunny hog.
So for Winter’s turn, I let someone else loose him at the start line and I waited for him at the end, thinking it would encourage him to run in my direction. Except the “course” is L-Shaped, and I guess when he was dragged (against his will, thankyouverymuch) around the corner of the “L” to the start, he assumed I had disappeared out the gate we entered through, so he ran straight to the gate and then tried desperately to dig his way out. Fuck the plastic bag bunny!
For their next turn, I decided to run them together, hoping it would engender some confidence…after all, they hunt real bunnies together, so I thought maybe they’d be bolder if they chased the plastic bag bunny as a pair. I got them all hyped up and the bunny took off – Winter ran in the opposite direction and started frantically peeing on ANYTHING he could find. Spring, OTOH, chased the bunny for a little while, but her Invisible Mommy Bungee Cord is apparently only 50 feet long and she then had to come back to me.
So not so successful at lure coursing, akshully. Apparently there is something that goes by the nefarious name of The Squawker that can be attached to the bunny and this gets the bloodthirsty Sighthound juices flowing, which we will try with Spring next time. Alas, next time will be most like be some time in the Spring, as this was the last practice of the year. I always jump on the bandwagon too late :(
There is however a lure coursing trial next month, and I am thinking about renting a really good telephoto lens and attending to photograph it. Mine just can’t handle high speed and low light, plus its focus is being all funky lately, so getting decent shots was a challenge. Not being rich enough to buy expensive photo toys sucks.
Still, we had fun. It was really cool to see the super fast dogs do their super fast thing.
I know it’s kind of redundant to say, but they are really built for this kind of game/sport. I mean, everyone knows that already, but then you see it in action and it’s like, wow!
But this group is very accommodating. A few years ago I contacted a breed specific sighthound group that I knew did lure coursing and inquired about setting up an all-breed lure coursing day as a fundraiser for their club. My SINGLE GOAL in contacting them was to find a sport for Wootie in his pre-fat days.
Come on, you know you want a piece of this sumpin’-sumpin’, chubby chaser!
The group rep essentially replied that their dogs were awesome, all other breeds – especially mutts – sucked and they had no interest in playing with us. Harumph.
The folks in this group recognize that a) lure coursing is a not-very-popular sport and b) people can only get interested in it if they play it and c) most people don’t have sighthounds so d) if they invite people to play, they will like it, and buy sighthounds, and the sport will get more popular. They were incredibly welcoming and friendly, even though my dogs sucked. I bet Wootie would have been AWESOME at it. I almost brought him, but I was afraid I would be shamed because he’s so fat!
Anyway, we were invited because our friend TDBCR Skye plays, along with some other mixed breeds.
Skye is AWESOME at it!
This Great Dane X German Shepherd Dog – also awesome!
Even the Doodle put my dogs to shame!
So yeah, it was good times. We’re psyched about going back next year.
Teeny Martine tagged along too, because on the way home she got her stitches out.
She says her face is feeling much better, thank you!
She continues to be a most delightful puppy. I enjoy fostering the littles when they need me, but there is something about a herding breed puppy that just trumps them all. She is so much more connected, and personable somehow. She’s wonderful, I will miss her greatly when she is ready to leave me.
Piper won’t miss her either, because MOOOM, she has the ball AGAIN.
And because you often complain that you can’t tell how small my dogs are, here is a photo that gives you some scale. Spring is slightly larger than a 3 month old Collie pup, and Wootie is slightly taller than a Spring.
There. Now you can sleep at night :)
Bonnie, Beep, Poppet and Noodle says
I took my Border Collies to try lure coursing and they liked it, although the learned how to cut corners pretty darn quick.
Try them again in the spring. (Although by then one hopes that Winter will have found his home!)
They let me run *with* my dogs the first time at the place I go* (which is a training facility, not a club, so they like EVERYBODY’s money … go figure!) and the rat terrier/chi was clueless. The chi/minpin however, did some half-following the first time. When we brought her out the next time? SHE WAS ON FIRE.
So do not despair, fun will be had (if you can find accommodations!)
*which must have looked hilarious, because Wootie and I have something in common…
Thank you for the photos! The dogs look amazing. It was probably awesome to see. Off to youtube for *research*.
BTW, puppy is super cute, and is Wootie really that long??
Teeny weeny Martine is so lovely. And you’re right, there’s nothing in the world like a herding breed pup to melt you. My tricolour, Emily, slept on my stomach in the back seat the whole ride home and she’s been my family’s resident suck ever since.
Um... Mystery Woman says
So fun! I had no idea, thanks for the post…. except the Great Dane X German Shep is creeping me out!!!!
Is this the group in Surrey? I heard there’s a lure coursing group open to mixed-breeds and purebreds of any breed. I REALLY want to take Dennis. He would be on fire, but would also stop like Spring to BARKBARKBARKGROWL at the stranger at the end. I would have to have one of the only three Dennis club members allowed to even look at the little asshole white dog either releasing or catching him and I would have to be at whatever other end. I think it’s awesome that you tried both of the mini lurcher mutts out at lure coursing. Also, holy crap Afghans flowing in the breeze!
you should try Dexter, my border who couldn’t care less about sheep, loved it the first time, did incredibly well. but he wouldn’t go for the kill, lol.
thanks for taking pics of those gorgeous beasts. so awesome to see dogs doing what they are built to do.
i would however just like to say if ever i saw 3 giant schnauzers running in my general direction like that I might die of the fright. in fact I peed a little just looking at the picture.
I am however smitten by the wire haired ibizan. wowza.
>>I am however smitten by the wire haired ibizan. wowza.
I loved the pictures, they are awesome!! I grew up with an Afghan (and now I have Border Collies!) I tried lure coursing with my two previous Borders. The male was on fire. . . until he caught the bag and realized it was trash he was chasing and that was it. The female was somewhat interested but not interested enough to go any distance away from me. I’d like to try it with the current two. My male is like Dexter and I’m thinking he might enjoy the chase so much that he won’t realize (or care) that it’s a trash bag. And I think if the female is with him she may chase it just to get it before Logan does. You should try it with Dexter. It would be fun.
I think you took some beautiful pics of these dogs!