Monday, May 16, 2011

Creole Coursing Club of Louisiana

A new "Creole Coursing Club of Louisiana" is starting up, with a huge practice field at the home of Deborah Bahm in Bush, LA, about 1.5 hours out of Baton Rouge, near Covington.  They are having their first AKC sanctioned CAT (Coursing Ability Test) on June 18th, and are holding several practice sessions before hand, free of charge, to prepare dogs for the test.

I've decided to involve Lucky in this activity, first to see how she courses, but mostly to give her a chance to run flat out for 600 yards or so.  I have no idea if she can do that. I agreed to join the club, as there is no fee for the first year.

Our first practice was yesterday, Sunday 5/16, from 10-1.   There were no trees in the field and the sun was hot.  I was unprepared for that, having no sun block, no canopy, no hat, no crate for Lucky.  I did have our water, treats, chairs, and an x-pen which I used to create a shaded spot for her.  There was no shade for me.  I managed to borrow some strong Sun Block for myself or I'd have burnt to a crisp.  Need to get some of that, and carry my 10' x 10' canopy with me next time.

Idea:  An umbrella attachment for my Ozark Trail chair!

Further, I had no idea what to expect.  Lucky was first carted 400 yards away from me in a golf cart, and when released was not at all interested in chasing a kitchen trash bag tied to a string.  She wasn't upset, but she made it her first priority to locate and lope right back to me.  Several dogs did this.  She didn't chase the lure, so didn't run flat out as I was hoping she would.

Realizing the bag held no value for her, I took her off to the side and put her rubber dumb bell into a Wal-Mart grocery bag and began tugging with her, then throwing the toy (wrapped in the bag).  After a few tries she got the idea of fetching her bagged toy and bringing it back to me, and the bag's crinkly sound plus it flapping around her face didn't bother her any more.  Then we tried running her again, and she chased the bag for 100 yards or so.  But she didn't run fast. 

On the curved course she showed little interest, so I tried running after the bag with her. She ran happily along beside me, but not after the bag.  By comparison, Amanda's 11 month old Whippet chased the bag at rapid speed all around the circle on her first try.  2 of 3 boxers seemed keen on chasing the bag, and ran pretty fast, as did a few others, but several other dogs besides Lucky didn't seem to catch on.  So now I'm tasked with how to build value in the bag.  Noel advised to fill a bag with chicken gizzards, throw it and let Lucky discover the prize inside.  Guess I'll try that next.

All I really want to do is condition her to run fast and build her stamina with longer runs that agility provides.  The CA title would be nice, but isn't my main interest.

Directions to the site:  Take I-12 to Covington/Mandeville exit (Hwy 190).  Go North into Covington (4.5 miles).  At the Y (near the Walgreens, just before the overpass), bear right, then slight right, then slight left onto LA 21 (Military Road).  This road is unmarked.  Go several miles to LA 1083, turn left.  Go 2.4 miles to Fauntleroy Road.  Go .3 miles, turn left onto Chat Blanc Lane .3 miles to the end, which is 23456 Chat Blanc Road.  You'll see a gate with a greyhound and a rabbit cutout on it.  Open the gate and close behind you.  Follow the driveway left to the back side of the house, turn right and park under the shade trees near the whippet runs.  There is a bathroom in the trailer behind the brown picket fence, but bring your own toilet paper.

Upwards and onward!

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