Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Fox & The Hound

Yesterday was the RRCEC lure coursing day. Despite the weather's determined efforts to convince us the night before that it was going to be a miserable day, the sun came out at about 8am and although the field was soggy, it was a gorgeous day to be outside with the dogs. We had in attendance about 16 dogs and 3 of Cora's siblings managed to come so she got to play with someone her own size for a few hours.

Since no one had ever coursed their dogs before we weren't sure who would chase the 'bunny' but the only way to find out was to try. We didn't have a particular order of go, just whoever was ready so I can't remember who ran when. I think Shiraz was first up and she is pretty gamey as a bitch but didn't really understand what the fuss was about with the plastic bag - she wanted to know why Momma Tara was running through a field with her. 

Next up Leeloo who, in true Leeloo form, did precisely the opposite of what was expected. She took one look at the plastic bag on the line and promptly ignored it.  I ran with her a little way, I'm sure there's video and photos (to come), until she decided that "This is stupid" and just bounced along with me much like Shiraz did with Tara. She did investigate the bag when it was stopped and if she could have shrugged her shoulders she would have. I have no doubt about Leeloo's tracking and coursing ability with real critters, but a plastic bag just isn't her gig.

Ruby pulled out all the stops and showed dem bitches how it's done. She wasn't sure at first but once the lure picked up speed she was off. She followed it pretty closely for most of the course and it was an impressive demonstration of a dog that "get's it".

I ran Archer for his owner Sandra and although at first he was confused and anxious, as Archer tends to be, once the lure gained some speed it caught his eye and he was off. I ran with him a little way and shouted encouragement but when I stopped running he glanced back and left the lure to come to me. We caught it again as it rounded the corner but by then he'd lost some interest. We did do a second run with him but he was not so game - best not to over do it.

Mayla also had a go but she had a bit of a problem focusing, a bit like the other bitches, and didn't think the lure was all that interesting, more fun to visit people and get attention. Mayla is a bit of a social butterfly so no surprises there!

Ruby and Pearl are housemates and did a run together which was neat to see. Ruby showed Pearl how it's done and they ran very well together. A 'demo dog' can sometimes make the lightbulb go on ... certainly I think it helps. Unfortunately Ruby cut her foot on the line and couldn't run again, that sometimes happens when they step on the line while they are running and it slices them open, just one hazard of chasing the plastic bunny.

Junior took a turn and although he didn't get it the first time he was a little more game the second time and chased it fairly well and it was a good introduction to the lure. He caught it up when it slowed down and he was running along side watching it.

The comedy of the day was provided by Boy - he was the largest dog at the event by several pounds and not exactly the picture of cowardice. As I walked to the start of the course bunny was moved into position and as it did the line made a zinging noise on the pulley. Boy thought the bag made the noise and spooked backwards. He then refused to step over the line to come inside the course to start. I took off his collar so I wasn't dragging him across the line but he wouldn't come to me. Scared Boy. John, who owns Zeppelin(one of the puppies) put the slip collar on him and encouraged him over to me. He was very leery of the line but once the bag started to move Boy was off. Phew. He chased it very well and got up some good speed, lost it on the corner and then picked it up again up the other side. He stayed true to the lure but shied back away from the line every time it made a noise, he didn't like that noise! I had waited until later in the runs to bring him up so I suspect if I'd brought him sooner so he could hear the line for longer he'd have been okay. Since there were lots of people taking photos and video I know there is proof of the cowardly Boy and his redemption as a courser!

Tannin is almost 10 years old and he was also given a chance to prove his ability. He is a multi-titled dog in agility and obedience as well as being a Canadian Champion, Tannin is a truly versatile Ridgeback and he proved that he also has what it takes to be a coursing dog. He bounded along with the lure although he had a habit of spotting people taking photos and going to visit them!

Including the photographer in the middle of the field.  

Rhone is Tara's other male dog and he was also very game to the lure but like The Boy he was unsure about the sound the line made so while he stayed on course fairly well he didn't get too close to the line. At least we know Boy and Rhone won't cut their feet! Hopefully someone got photos of Rhone because I didn't!

The puppies had a chance to do a 30 foot puppy scramble and most of them chased the lure pretty well and then the fell to playing. They spent most of their time wrestling and getting to know each other again. I certainly know that Cora was completely exhausted and spent the entire evening comatose. I'll post some photos of them tomorrow. The boys are certainly big!

In all it was  great day, very fun and the dogs had a marvelous time. It's nice to get together with everyone and their dogs with no pressure of competition, to talk about training, habits, tips and tricks and to share stories about how great each of our dogs are. Huge thank you to the RRCEC for hosting such a wonderful event, to my parents for the loan of their property and to everyone who came out to enjoy the day. I hope it was worth it enough for you to want to attend another and hopefully we can do this again before too long.

No comments: