The competition season in FCI Lure Coursing is soon starting: in fact, the first competitions in FCI Competition Calendar have been already in January, and the local competitions must have started earlier, too, but summer is the competition season. For us the competitions start in mid-May, when the qualifiers for the European Championships are ran.
Because of this, the training season should be well away. It takes about 12 weeks for the dog to gain the best shape and fit for running after the cool down which occurs after the competition season. And the training should be progressive, so that the results will get better the closer the first competitions come.
This is the time of year, too, when the newcomers should be primed for the training season. According to FCI, most of the lure-coursing breeds should be 18 months before they can take part in the competition. This means that the young dogs which were born in November 2007 -or earlier that year- are able to compete in May already. Depends on the date, however, when the actual competition can take place.
Younger dogs could be trained already with the competition in mind: gentle playing with a lure simulcrum, free playing and running on their own should be part of the everyday routine for the dogs who are considered to be competing later on. Never underestimate the power of the dog’s own, free exercise. The more the dog can play and compete with it’s kind, the better: young puppies, be they what ever size possible, can naturally take care of their strain levels. Very young pup may well take a sprint, sit for a while and then take another. The possible breakage comes from the time when we owners try to force the pup to move when she wants to rest. Refrain from forcing the pup to work more than it wants to.
Irish wolfhounds are no exception to this rule. Though the older they become, the more they know how things are: if they have experienced pain and discomfort after training or competition, they are sure to act accordingly next time.
Pain is our enemy as owners, for when the Irish Wolfhound encounters it in competition -or in training-, she will remember it forever.