Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A real racer!

I took Miles to his first race meet Sunday. This is a for fun short straight race of just 200 yards put on by the Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA). It is open to all sighthounds. The dogs win toys and sometimes ribbons. There is a point system so the dogs can get national rankings and titles. It is something that a lot of retired racers and their owners really enjoy. The dogs get exercise and still get the thrill of doing what they have been bred to do for thousands of years - chase.

This is Miles very first practice run behind the lure. He wasn't competing and only ran half the course. He enjoyed it though. His later runs were faster as he realized what was going on. He even did a few runs up and down the track without the lure because he was having such a great time.

Miles wasn't the one doing the barking and howling during the run. Those were the dogs that were watching and waiting very impatiently for their turn. The dogs get VERY excited watching. Miles was leaping around barking and whining while he was waiting for his turn earlier. The reason he was sitting at the start is because it has become a default behavior when the collar tightens up. He would get excited and pull then the collar would tighten and he would politely sit - still barking and howling wanting to chase the lure.

After the first run we taught him to run through the boxes you can see at the beginning of the video. We did that by leaving the front and back doors open. Someone in front played with the lure and got it to make noise then I released him to get it letting him run through the "tunnel". We did that a few times then closed the front put him in and popped it open so he could run out a few feet and grab the lure. He loved the game and picked it up fast. His final run was out of a closed box. There was just a split second pause when it opened before he ran out after the lure.

He will still need some more practices running alone after the lure the entire 200 yard distance before he is ready to run with another dog. I want him to be totally focused on the lure so he doesn't try to play with dogs running with him.

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