Canine sport lapped up

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Vanessa Joy with Daisy.
Camera IconVanessa Joy with Daisy. Credit: David Salvaire

A competitive sport for dogs is gaining momentum in the Rockingham area, giving owners the chance to test their furry friends’ abilities in a safe and fun environment.

Lure coursing involves chasing a mechanically operated lure, usually a plastic bag, around a field with points awarded in five categories — speed, enthusiasm, follow, agility and endurance. The lure darts around unexpectedly as the dogs give chase.

The sport was designed to test sighthounds’ ability to chase but these days it has grown to include breeds of all shapes and sizes.

While the sport has been operating in Australia for more than 25 years, the local scene is starting to flourish as more events are held.

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Lure Coursers Anonymous and West Coast Dog Sports recently held their Battle of the State speed competition in Warnbro with a solid turnout of local talent taking on the shorter 100m course. Most lure courses are between 500m and 800m.

Lure course enthusiast Vanessa Joy has been involved with the sport since 2014 and her dog Daisy was the first of four competitors in WA to be titled an ALCA Field Champion. She is also one of only two dogs in the State to have what was previously the highest title in the sport — ALCA Lure Courser of Merit. Ms Joy said she was attracted to the sport because of the benefits it gave to Daisy.

“It’s great to see her do what she was bred for in a safe way. She’s just chasing a plastic bag so it’s harmless,” she said.

“As soon as the bag comes out or the lure machine starts up, she’s immediately in the zone and focused.

“It’s just like chasing a tennis ball except over a much longer distance and it’s not so repetitive.”

On top of being a local lure champion, course legend Daisy is also a sledding champion.

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