If you’re looking for a class that offers your dog an ample supply of mental and physical exercise, then look no further than Lure Coursing.
Whether your dog is naturally bred to chase or they have a case of the zoomies, luring is a great way to burn off extra steam and give them the daily exercise they need. To help you learn more about the sport and its benefits, we created the ultimate beginner’s guide to lure coursing.
What is Lure Coursing?
Lure coursing is a humane, modern sport based upon the ancient sport of live game coursing, or the pursuit of game by dogs that hunt by sight rather than scent. In this sport, dogs chase a mechanical lure, which is usually a white plastic bag tied to a string. The lure is quickly pulled by a machine through the grass or course. Run by a lure operator, the mechanical lure has a string run through a set of pullies. When the plastic lure is pulled, it replicate a small animal running, stimulating your dog’s natural prey instinct.
History of Lure Coursing
The sport’s long history can be tied back to 4,000 year old Egyptian tombs depicting coursing with long-legged hounds. In the 1800s, lure coursing became popular in the United States and was changed from a hunting event to a competitive coursing event using live game.
Modern lure coursing events were not developed until the early 1970s by Lyle Gillette and other open field coursing enthusiasts. Due to the fact that few states allowed pursuit of live game with dogs, and that urban sprawl and the sparse supply of wild game would soon limit their sport, they searched for an alternative. Gillette, a California breeder of Borzoi and Salukis, envisioned a coursing system that would be portable, could be set up in a wide, open area and did not rely on the availability of live prey. With trial and error, he designed the mechanical lure, where the “prey” is a plastic bag or artificial fur.
Which breeds can do Lure Coursing?
Lure coursing was first developed for Sighthound breeds, since it provides them a great outlet to use their natural ability to run fast and visually focus on something in motion. However, it’s a great exercise option for dogs that loves to chase or just has a ton of energy. Many breeds besides Sighthounds enjoy the thrill of chasing the lure. It’s quite common to see terriers, retrievers, corgis and other breeds competing in the sport.
Benefits of Lure Coursing
Not only is lure coursing a great exercise, but it provides many physical and mental benefits. According to Rhonda Feinberg, CPDT-KA trainer, lure coursing is an amazing way for your dog to burn off some steam. “Lure coursing is great exercise for all dogs, not just Sighthounds, and it also helps build the dogs’ confidence and stamina,” says Feinberg. Dogs also get the thrill of chasing in a safe, controlled environment and the opportunity to build their recall.
Chase & Capture Class
Fitdog is now offering a lure coursing class called Chase & Capture, led by Rhonda Feinberg! Unlike AKC Lure Coursing, this a low-stress, non-competitive class and all breeds are welcome to participate. If your dog loves to chase squirrels or just has lots of energy, this class is a great option.
We’ll have a Swift Paws mechanical lure set up in our daycare yard and dogs will get the chance to use their natural instincts to chase the plastic bag lure. The lure is set for 30 second intervals so your dog can take necessary break so they don’t overwork themselves. Each dog will get about three timed runs on the yard for each class. Although they may be unsure in the beginning, it takes about two classes for your dog to gain confidence. Some dogs might need some coaxing but eventually they’ll get it and follow along with great enthusiasm.
The dogs will also learn other skills such as the “leave it” and “get it” cues and recall. If you’re interested in signing up for the class, visit app.fitdog.com to book or create an account.
To see the mechanical lure in action, check out this great video from Swift Paws: