Last weekend was the first competition I was working in: for two days (and 200 dogs) I was either cheking the identities of the dogs before start or starting the lure coursing pairs on track. What a terrific learning experience as whole! About 200 starts of dogs, qualifiers and finals combined, with all the variety from a clean start to several starts on a trial.
If you really want to learn about lure coursing and how the gear should be, the muzzles and mantles set and how to avoid the common mistakes, go and join your local sighthound club and volunteer for the next coursing event. It’s such a learning experience that you will thank yourself for a long time after that.
What you will see: nervous handlers with patient and focused dogs, anxious dogs with trembling newcomers, excited dogs with very relaxed handlers and all the possible mixes and variations of these! You’ll see excellently fitting muzzles, adequately or poorly fitting ones (which have to be fixed before the start) and speedy changes of muzzles from one dog to another withing the few minutes the returning of the lure takes.
And the best of it all. You will see some fantastic and spectacular performances of the lure coursing dogs of different breeds and for certainly you will learn what is the difference between a mediocre performance and a superb one. And you will most certainly begin to appreciate the variety and difference of the multitude sighthound breeds, and their capabilities in dealing with the chase and the kill. I admit, that this experience has opened my eyes to the whole lure coursing the way I had never expected.
Highly recommended experience. Just remember to take it easy, give ample guidance to the competitors and remain calm when the competitors feel they have been treated wrong – sorry, when they feel that their dog has been treated wrong. That is the job of the judges to take care of, within the rules and such.
And the best part?
You can be of help without having your dog in the competition, so your dogs may rest the day in peace while you enjoy the show. And you will appreciate the people working in the next competition way more than before, making their work as easy as possible, thus speeding up the whole competition on your part!
Off you go!