Lure coursing allows your dog to follow a lure through a course, going for the fastest time. Competitions are usually limited to sight hounds like Greyhounds, Afghans, and Whippets, but there are some clubs that allow all breeds and even non-pedigreed dogs to participate.
The course is set up to simulate a dog chasing prey, so it includes turns and sometimes jumps. The lure – usually a plastic bag – is sent along the course, and the dog chases it to the finish line, covering a distance of up to 1,000 yards. Events are sanctioned by the American Sighthound Field Association. Do not run your dog until he or she is at least 1 year old, as competing at younger ages can cause joint problems later.
Dock diving, which was originally conceived as a filler for ESPN, involves getting your dog to run down a dock and jump into a pond or pool. Usually, the handler starts at the far end of the dock, puts his dog in a sit / stay, then goes down the dock to the pool end and throws in a toy while releasing the dog. The dog, in theory, will run down the dock and leap into the pool to catch the toy in mid-air or to retrieve the toy from the water.
Most dogs and handlers compete for distance or height, but the fun parts of the competitions are the dogs who aren’t so sure about going in the water. They may simply balk at the end of the dock, or give a half-hearted leap into the water. One dog at a recent competition simply walked the side of the pool, trying in vain to get the toy out of the water without getting wet.
Any dog can compete, regardless of pedigree or size, but retrievers typically win the competitions. The major sanctioning organization is DockDogs of Medina, Ohio.
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