It's a bit hard to see, but Risa was covered in her own spit after her run Saturday.

Risa and I have been incredibly busy these past few weeks. First the Michele Pouliot seminar. Then trailing in APDT rally. We capped off our super weekends with an AKC Coursing Ability Test. Thankfully, I knew Risa wouldn’t need her brain for this one. 😉 Just her incredible prey drive.

When we arrived at the show site, she had no idea why we were there. As soon as she caught site of the moving lure, however, she knew. And she wouldn’t take her eyes off the field after that. 😉

The first day was a bit stressful at the start. They had to swipe her to make sure she wasn’t in heat (I know she’s spayed and is a Canine Partners mutt but it’s protocol). I didn’t know they would need to do this and Risa panicked. She had no idea who that person was and why they needed to check out her butt. (She is very uncomfortable with strangers near her rear.) I felt so bad for both Risa and the person who needed to check her. Eventually, I picked her up and they were able to check her. After that, they needed to watch her gait to make sure she was physically sound. Unfortunately, due to our close proximity to the field, she was straining and bouncing towards the lure’s location. No nice, pretty trot from her! 🙂

Her first run was beautiful. She was so happy. She’s never run so far after a lure before. Our usual lure courses are between 150-200 yards. The courses she ran Friday and Saturday were 675 yards long! Risa had 2 minutes to complete the course; it took her about 1 minute. She was SO happy. I could tell she was a bit leery about approaching the huntmaster as she swung wide at the end instead of slamming into the plastic bag bunnies like she usually does. It was also a bit difficult to catch her as she kept her distance from me. She also didn’t have a collar on; the dogs have to run naked.

The second day, she was amped as soon as we arrived. She knew exactly why we were there! I had to have her seat belted in the car when she wasn’t running because she probably would have destroyed my car otherwise. She gets that crazy about the lure. It was easier to have her swiped this time as I just picked her up right away. She trotted a bit nicer too but it was still difficult to keep her calm enough to do so! The weather was horrible. It was cold, windy, and rainy. But it didn’t stop her from being excited and run the course.

I think her second run was the nicest. She really got a good stride going. At the end, she still didn’t feel comfortable enough to rush in to grab the plastic bags. But she didn’t keep her distance as much and, once I crouched down and called her to me, she came right to me.

This morning was her final run. The weather was worse today than yesterday. It was cold, windy, and the rain was coming down hard. During our warm-up walk before we checked in, we met up with our friend and her three dogs. I slowly approached them with Risa to gauge her thoughts before we got too close. She seemed pretty comfortable so we eventually formed a walking pack. I watched her closely to make sure she felt okay. One of the dogs sniffed her face-to-face twice. I could tell Risa was a bit nervous about his advances but she didn’t react. She simply walked away. Way to go Risi! Awesome decision! I think she really enjoyed her early morning walk with some new friends who are also coursing crazies. 🙂

I was finally able to gait her nicely for her check in without her bouncing like a loony. Her final run was great though I’m sure she was pretty tired by that point. We took her final qualifying ribbon and she walked off the field with a new title. She’s now Risa W-FDX/MF RN RL1 (AoE) CA CGC WCM. Quite the alphabet soup these days! I think this was her most favorite title to earn.

Risa with her three CA qualifying ribbons.

I’m so proud of her for this new title. I like that it took no training for her to achieve it. It was completely her. Her instincts. Her drive. All I had to do was walk her out there and let her go. She acts like a complete, out-of-control, loon when we’re near the coursing field. She pulls, she barks, she wines, she bounces. And I let her. Risa is generally calm and she has great self control. So I’m willing to let her have this. She can lose her mind and I don’t care. This is one thing that’s completely for her and I love that she has an outlet for her natural instincts. 😀 Unlike almost everything else we do together, this one activity is totally about her. While she enjoys doing freestyle and rally, she does those things for me. Lure coursing she does for herself.

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
This entry was posted in CAT, Fear, Lure Coursing, Reactivity. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to CAT Dog

  1. I can totally see that Risa is enjoying herself. Does she have some sighthound in her? Out of curiosity, what happens if the dog catches up to the lure and bites it?

  2. Jamie says:

    I believe she may have some sighthound in her. She definitely looks like she might and her drive for the lure suggests it as well.

    It’s unlikely the dogs will catch the lure. The lure operators are pretty good at keeping it far enough ahead of the dog. If a dog did catch it, they’d probably just end up with a mouthful of plastic bag as the bag would rip as it kept going. Most of the dogs do catch the bag at the end of the course when it stops. Some of them just stop and wait at the end. Others grab the bag and release. And some grab the bag and tug. It’s not a big deal if the bags get destroyed; they’re just plain white garbage bags. 😉

  3. Anita says:

    I’d love to start lure coursing or nosework with our coonhound/lab mix, Ruby. However, I’m having a terrible time finding information on any classes (for nosework) or lurecoursing trials in our area (central Illinois). Are there websites or organizations I can contact to try to find more information on these types of events? How do you find out about all the events in your area?


  4. Jamie says:

    Classes can be tough to find. Nosework is a relatively new sport which makes finding people who can teach it difficult. Their official website is here: National Association of Canine Scent Work. If you click on the “Certified Instructors” section and search Illinois, there are three results. I’m not sure if anyone is close by but it’s a good starting point at least!

    As far as lure coursing, it can be tough to find clubs who are open to all breeds. It might become easier in the future now that AKC has created the CAT; there may be more interest in allowing non-sighthounds to course. UKC also offers lure coursing so you could check their website to see what they might have available. I know there is a person who does lure coursing in WI which might be a bit of a drive (I drive about 1-1.5 hours to go lure coursing myself–it’s worth it!). Her site is: Lure Coursing Fanatics.

    Most of the events I find out about either through local obedience clubs, AKC or APDT’s website, or through word-of-mouth from my dog friends. I’ve also gotten show premiums in the mail plenty of times informing me about upcoming events in my area.

    Best of luck to you!

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