Two more myths to break

Thanks to a comment to the recent “Myths and myths“-post, I found two more myths to break about lure-coursing. The first is that the owner of the dog has to be competitive personality to participate in a lure-coursing event and the other is that the dog has to be trained especially to be able to course. Both are myths and support each other. Let me tell you why I think so.

Lure-coursing isn’t competition in the first place: in FCI ruling it is the working class trial for sighthound. A way to measure the dog’s natural affinity to the work it was originally created for. In this pretext it should be mandatory for a sighthound owner to be at least vaguely interested in how the dog they own does show this natural instinct in action. The owner doesn’t have to be competitive to take the dog to a lure-coursing event, only interested in the natural instinct and performance of their dog.

Sadly the system is such that the dogs are rated on points, and when there is a numerical evaluation, there is always a competition of sorts. In lure-coursing the owners are rewarded for their dog’s performance much like in dog racing: the best will get the merit of being the winner, even though each and every dog passing the set point limit to qualify have passed the test!

Like I mentioned in the earlier Myth post, training is not hard work as such: what we consider training is just normal living with big sighthound. Long walkies in the woods, dog running free as much as possible. The main thing is that the dog is fit enough to run the 700-1000m on one stretch, at full speed. What I would like to add to this, the dog should be able to handle the warming up (30-60 min.) and cooling down (another 30-50 min) walkies. And all this twice in a lure-coursing event day.

That is the fitness the dog requires to participate in a lure coursing event. It doesn’t require a set training schedule or planned training. Instead, it requires continuous interest in the dog’s general health and adequate walkies to maintain that level. I saw one TV-program from the series “It’s Me or the Dog” in which dog trainer Victoria Stilwell tackles problem dogs which are straining families’ or couples’ lives. In this show the couple had a boxer which was terrorizing the house. In the show Ms. Stilwell stated that a healthy active boxer requires 2 hours of exercise each day to keep it calm at home.

2 hours aday.

Sighthounds, especially larger ones like Irish Wolfhounds, are deceiving in this regard: they are very calm and ‘uninterested’ at home (except for the food bowl). So it’s easy to think that the 15 minutes walkies for them a couple of times a day is enough. It’s enough to keep them alive, that’s all. It is not enough to keep them healthy, fit and in good enough condition to work the way they have been intended to do.

By breaking the myth of competitiveness and high training requirements in your head you are easily one step closer to participating a lure-coursing event. If your dogs can handle a couple of hours walkies aday (give or take few in a week, the dog has to rest, too!) for a month or so before the event, then they are ready to take the trial for sure.

And who knows, by taking part in a lure-coursing event you may well catch the lure yourself: a new and exciting way of seeing your own belowed pet. An Irish Wolfhound chasing the lure is a sight worth seeing.

It’s the way all sighthounds were meant to be, after all. Working dogs, chasing the prey.


4 thoughts on “Two more myths to break

  1. now i can’t agree in all points, first time. 🙂

    i can have a walk of a hour a day with my senior enya – but she is not fit enough for 100m coursing! she is walking very, very slowly now, so it needs a hour a day. and this walk is enough for her. sometimes we can’t walk for a hour …

    and – i am one of the owners, who goes jogging with the coursing-hound. 2 or 3 times a week before we go to an event. every jog is about a hour.

    long jogs are good for endurance, i think. and you can’t get it just with walking with your hounds.

    and: i enjoy jogging with hound! it is good for me, too.

    • Of course it depends on the dog, but one hour in the woods/free CONTINUOUS activity with sprints and take offs is my view of the minimum a dog should be able to do to participate a lure-coursing event. Then again, we’re discussing about different kind of participation: your point of view is very strongly the competitive one, where the dog has to be at the best possible condition, my point of view in this post is that of minimum condition to participate the sighthound working class test called lure-coursing.

      My personal view is somewhere inbetween: dog has to be in good enough condition that it can perform at the best possible level and enjoy the event. This means also that the better the dog’s physical condition, the more we can prevent the injuries and soreness to the dog during and after the trial.

      The main point of the post was to lower the mental threshold of an sighthound owner to participate in a lure-coursing event, not to create more anxieties over the condition -and it being sufficient enough- of the dog.

      • hi again!

        o.k., now i understand your intention much better. 🙂 the example enya is an extreme one, because she don’t sprint anymore. and if she does – it don’t look like. 🙂

        it is right, it depends on the dog. a greyhoundowner and breeder told me, when we started trackracing (for fun) with enya, that an irish wolfhound would stop, if he can’t run anymore. a greyhound would not stop anyway, he would “run with 3 legs”. so it would not be as much important, to train an irish, than it is to train a greyhound.

        when enya became older i recognized, that she is – mentaly – a greyhound! enya would never stop for herselve …

        so, what i wanna say: if the irish is “mentaly a greyhound”, he has to be trained well, otherwhiles he would run even if it would be better for him to stop.

        but: at coursing trainings everyone has the chance to shorten distance, so – yes, you can start, even if your hound is not in perfect condition. so you can learn, what kind of dog you have.

        at the beginning enya run 300-400m at the track without special training.

      • Well, an Irish Wolfhound with proper instinct will do the same as any sighthound and run with three legs if need be. It’s all about the instinct and it’s power over the discomfort the exercise causes.

        An Irish Wolfhound doesn’t really need ‘special training’ to compete even at high level: we don’t have a special training of any sort, just steady set of walkies regularily, in variable routes and grounds, with the dogs running free – or not running at all. To most respectable dog owners that is just ‘normal way of life’, going out with the dogs for more than the mandatory walkies to the lamp-post and back.

        Special training is what I consider training the dog with a schedule, training program and/or specific training types at specific times (speed, strength, stamina), and that is completely different from my thinking of how I want to live with my dogs. But everyone lives and does how they like, and I’m in no position to say that this is better or right than some other way.

        The main thing is that the dog is healthy, stays healthy and lives as long and as healthy as possible.

        Anything else is nonsense. 😛

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