I knew as soon as I took Risa herding (a.k.a. ‘chase sheep when they move’) that she was a natural born coursing dog. She’s always enjoyed running free and I honestly think nothing makes her happier than sprinting at full speed. I’m so fortunate that I’ve been able to take her to lure coursing and allow her to do what she’s designed for.
Sure, she’s a mixed breed mutt but it’s highly likely she’s got sighthound in her background. Her body shape, her foot construction, the double suspension gallop, and her fixation on chasing fast-moving objects point to that ancestry. If nothing else, she’s a natural at lure coursing.
The weather finally cooperated and allowed us to get out for our first coursing day this season. Risa could not have been happier. And I could not have been happier with her. It seems she finally ‘gets it.’ When the plastic bag ‘bunnies’ stop moving, she grabs onto them and tugs like crazy. This is the ideal outcome; I don’t have to try and recall her if she doesn’t run away! All I had to do was walk up to her and take hold of her collar. Amazing. I guess all of our work with the flirt pole has helped! Because she was so good, I let her run a third time. 😉
Today she earned her WCE (Wylde Courser Enthusiast) title. To earn this, she had to successfully course three times. She earned one leg last year and two today (plus a leg towards the next Wylde title). It may only be a local title, but I’m just as proud of her for this one as any of the others. One thing I’ve always enjoyed is watching a dog do what they were born to do (even if, being a mutt, Risa wasn’t bred for any particular purpose).
On top of her outstanding performances in the field, she was equally impressive off the field. I was unable to keep her in my car (the noise of the lure moving sends her over the edge and I feared for my vehicle’s safety) so I crated her. Since we weren’t staying for more than a few hours, I didn’t want to set up everything so I didn’t put up the visual blockers. Risa watched one dog pass by her crate without a single change in her behavior. I praised her from where I was standing and then went to the car to get her a treat.
A short time later, another dog came right up to her kennel to sniff her! I was waiting for the explosion but it never happened. Instead, Risa sniffed the dog through the bars of her crate! At that point, aside from praising/treating her, I asked her “What have you done with my dog!?” I couldn’t believe it. Though she later snarked at passing dog while kenneled, two outta three ain’t bad!
For fun, here is a video of Ris’ third run of the day. I apologize for the shoddy camerawork; I haven’t practiced with my video camera much!