And why do dogs love doing it?
The answer is quite simple lure coursing gives your dog the opportunity to do what comes naturally . . . to chase, sniff the ground, jump, pivot and chase again.
Regardless of the breed of dog, they are able to run and enjoy themselves in a safe and controlled environment. There are no dangerous obstacles which they can run into and the area is enclosed within the KCC Park, owned by DOGS Victoria. This area is fully fenced and gives the dog the perfect opportunity to play a sport that comes closest to what they do naturally...to chase off lead.
The equipment used is quite simple and consists of 300 metres of fishing line strung around several pulleys set into the ground to form the course. A plastic bag is tied to the line and is powered around the pulleys by a battery-operated motor. The operator can stop the lure at any time and can change direction as well.
For those dogs that regularly attend, we have developed a system of tin pipes, which the lure will go through and then stop inside. The dogs will then frantically search for where it has gone by sniffing the ground, looking in the pipes or try to look under the pipe. The lure can either proceed through the pipe or can reverse and trick the dogs by coming out of the opposite end.
The smaller dogs endeavour to put their heads in the end of the pipes to see where the lure has gone, while the bigger dogs just try and flip the pipes over. Others will cut the corners and wait for the lure to come to them. Little do they know that the operator will stop and reverse the lure. The chase is then on once again.
This is a sight to behold and every dog owner is encouraged to give his or her dog the opportunity to give his or her skill at this sport. Words cannot describe the expressions on owners' faces when they see their dogs stride out in full flight and chase the lure. Even if they don't run the whole course it doesn't matter. It is not competitive and the purpose is simply to give your dog a great workout while participating in a fun activity.
This sport appeals to both big and small dogs and often several different breeds run together. Imagine seeing a long legged Deerhound bounding along with a short legged Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They both have their own styles and are a joy to watch. If your dog is unsure of what to do, it can be run with an experienced dog so that they get the idea. The crowd encourages the dogs and, if confused, their owners are encouraged to show them how to run. This can cause quite a few laughs as well.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Victoria runs lure coursing events in Victoria. Please visit the club website.