Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lured Away from the Holiday Madness

At this time during the holiday season,  it's not always easy to find time for activities that you and your dog can enjoy but I recently received an email from a wonderful establishment that does dog training and other fun activities and was drawn to a Lure Coursing event.

We all know Labrador's are hunting dogs so this type of class seemed perfect for my four legged family members.  Dogs chase an artificial lure across a field, following a pattern that is meant to simulate a live chase.  The chase is generated by a continuous loop line through a series of pulleys in a non-uniform set of turns.  When I saw the lure itself (a white plastic grocery sack) I had some doubts.  Would the dogs be attracted to a moving plastic bag?  The answer was, absolutely!

Four dogs were signed up for the event (I think that was the maximum number for the class) and Chuy (my two year old black Lab) was up first.  Of my two dogs, Chuy is the most laid back; I wondered if his instincts would kick in.  The dogs are released to chase the lure one-at-a-time.  The minute the plastic bag moved Chuy took chase.  It was great fun to watch.  It took him a few seconds to catch onto the chase pattern and then he tried to cutoff the lure.  The instructor has a great time playing keep away.  The other dogs in attendance barked wildly because they wanted to chase too!

Nikki, my six year old yellow Lab, has strong hunting instincts.  She has caught several small wild creatures and displayed them proudly.  She immediately took chase after the lure and at the end of her run was whining with impatience (she did not want to stop the chase).  She also figured out quickly how to work the course to try and trap the lure.

The two other dogs in the class also gave great chase.  A young Chow actually caught the lure (a new bag was needed after that run).

The dogs were allowed to give chase three or four times (it's important that they not get over-heated).  All-in-all it was a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  We'll try to do it again soon.

My camera skills need some work!  But you'll get the drift.

P. Miner
Heart of Texas Lab Rescue, Volunteer Coordinator