After training on Sunday, we headed out to KCC park for the SHCV's Christmas party. Celebrations included trying out the agility equipment, a BBQ, competitions like Best Trick, Waggiest Tail and a costume competition. It was a great opportunity to mingle and catch up with friends we haven't seen much since the racing season finished, and a party where huskies were welcome too!
I was really looking forward to the Agility course, but as it was set up in an unfenced area, I wasn't game to try any of the dogs on it - they really can't be trusted off lead. However, the large Off Lead area was set up with another exciting new activity to try - Lure Coursing! Lure Coursing involves chasing a lure, in this case a white piece of plastic attached to a fishing line that runs along the ground. Not all dogs have that urge to chase a strange, fast moving object down, but many huskies, with their prey drive, love it.
While in grey hound racing, the lure might be an artificial rabbit set to run on a rail at the dog's eye line, this was set along the ground. The fishing line ran from a battery powered motor, along the ground to a pulley, where it turned a corner and ran to the next pulley and the next and so on until it returned to the motor. An operator, standing alongside the motor, could use a series of levers to control the speed that the line ran around the circuit on, and the direction. A white plastic bag was attached to the line, and looked like a shiny white flag being dragged around the circuit by the almost invisible fishing line.
When I first took Bolo over to the Off Lead area, I really wasn't sure what to expect. We stood and watched another dog run around after the strange white flapping thing, and Bolo was very very keen to run for it. When it was our turn, he took off like a shot. The operator was very good at keeping the lure just out of reach, but always within eye line. Bolo did a couple of laps and then the operator ran the lure under the blue plastic barrels to finish the chase. Bolo, of course, wasn't fooled, and tried to flip the barrel over to find it. Cheeky boy!
Later on I took Czar to have a turn. Czar's nickname around the house is the Great White Hunter, as he is always keen to find any small creatures that might try living under the nose of four huskies. I was pretty confident that he would get the idea very quickly, but the operator suggested that we start him out next to the first pulley. I held him, and watched the lure rush towards him. It hit the pulley and suddenly streaked away on an angle. I let go and Czar took off, running so flat out that he looked like he was flying. After two laps, the operator stopped, suggesting Czar might be better not to over do it on such a hot day. However, when he looked at Czar, he noted that Czar wasn't even panting, so the Great White Hunter got to take off again.
Both dogs looked incredibly excited by this opportunity to chase. It was delightful to see their alert expressions and whipping tails. Czar was actually quite sulky about not being allowed back to have a third go, and kept trying to drag me back to the Off Lead Area. I think that next time Bolo has too much energy for sitting around the house, we might have to look out for a Lure Coursing event to attend. Big thanks to the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Victoria for running this for the SHCV on Sunday!