My two-year-old small standard dachshund, Rhonda (Goodwood Help Me Rhonda B Good, NW1, BH-O, AKC SWN, TDA) recently discovered the joys of chasing zooming, flapping white plastic-bag-bunnies!
Friday afternoon started out with a promise of nice weather, so Ronni and I looked forward to hanging out watching our friends play this dog sport called CAT (Coursing Ability Test). It used to be called Lure Coursing … I’m not sure if it still is or not.
I hadn’t decided if I was going to let Ronni try it or not – the dogs run free in a really large grass field and Ronni has been experiencing a rough patch in her recall training lately. She is a very Nose-driven pup.
But, they were offering “fun runs” for only $5, and Ronni seemed seriously focused on the plastic strips that stood in for running bunnies … so maybe.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this sport; they set up a 300-600-yard zig-zag course that takes up a lot of the large grass field. They run a strong cord attached to a generator and motor so the cord whips quickly along the ground, around pulleys, changing direction and speed as erratically as a fast running bunny.
Plastic strips are attached to the cord and a person with a remote sits high on a ladder to have a view of the whole course – he controls the speed and erratic movement to the lure. The goal is to keep the plastic “bunny” lure running ahead of the dog chasing it – not an easy task when the salukis and grayhounds show up!
This encourages the dog to run as fast as it can – and the event is timed. The dog gets to catch the plastic lure at the end of the course, leaving them wanting more, more, more!
Sooo … back to Rhonda. I had no idea if she’d take to chasing plastic strips. I only committed to one fun run, just to see if she liked it.
I should’ve known better. If it runs – it must be chased, and if possible, caught!
We ended up staying all evening, signing up for the actual trial. Rhonda had a blast. The next time I set her at the start line, there was no hesitation – she knew exactly why she was there and what to do when the plastic bunnies (as she sees them) skittered off across the grass. Game on!