Activities For Lurchers

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Introduction

What is a "lurcher", you ask?  I found two definitions for a lurcher, but only one really relates to the canine species: "a crossbred dog, typically a Retriever, Collie or Sheepdog crossed with a Greyhound, of a kind originally used for hunting and by poachers for catching rabbits".  These crossbred dogs are good hunting dogs with intelligence, speed and excellent eyesight.  It is precisely these traits which require that they are involved in activities which can challenge their intelligence, exercise their speed and hone their sight hunting skills. While these types of activities will challenge their intelligence, speed and eyesight, they will likely challenge you to keep up in all of these areas as well.

Exploration Walks

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Good walking shoes for you
Activity description
Your Lurcher has a great nose!  Their sense of smell is part of what makes them good at the hunt and pursuit of prey.  They have excellent eyesight and the intelligence to put it all together, making any walk, of any distance to any place of your choice perhaps the most interesting part of your day.  You pick the route and destination and your Lurcher will do what comes naturally ... sniffing and exploring to follow all of those interesting and unusual scents that you had no idea existed until your walk began.  Be prepared to leave the beaten path as your Lurcher takes you on a most interesting walk, whether that was your plan or not.
Step
1
Plan your route
You should determine, in very general terms, where you’d like to walk and how long you would like to do so. Keep in mind, however, that this plan should be very general in nature as your companion will likely make some minor (or maybe major) adjustments as they follow those oh, so interesting scents or small animals which are noted along the way.
Step
2
Collar and leash your dog
This step is generally pretty simple, unless, of course, your Lurcher has already figured out what comes next … and they are intelligent enough to figure out very quickly. If your dog has deduced correctly what is to come, they may be literally dancing around the dining room excitedly, envisioning much-anticipated pleasure.
Step
3
Go, go, go!
Open the front door and step out onto the front porch or stoop. Prepare yourself for a pleasurable walk in the sunshine and fresh air. Your Lurcher’s nose will probably have already kicked in by the time they exit the house, already having a plan for the walk … in a perfect world, that plan would be identical to yours. But, alas, you probably didn’t plan for the neighbor’s cat to parade down the walk or for that squirrel to dart up that tree in the front yard across the street. Hang on and try to maintain some semblance of your initial planned route….and have a great walk with your best friend!
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Lure Coursing

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
2 - 4 hrs
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Snacks
Toys
Drinking water
Activity description

Lure coursing is an activity in which any canine would likely love to participate but, in the case of the Lurcher, this type of activity is literally their bread and butter, having been bred for it.  What is “lure coursing”, you ask? Basically, lure coursing is any sport which involves dogs chasing a mechanically operated lure. This is the basic training of the racing Greyhound in which the dog is trained to follow the mechanical lure as it travels around the track.  Lure Courses can be a simple oval, or a figure eight, or it can have any number and type of obstacles over, under and around which the dog must maneuver. It is generally done as a timed event and not only works the speed of the animal but also helps to develop the problem-solving capacity of your Lurcher.  The cost of the lure course opportunity will vary depending on how the course has been developed, so it will likely be a moderate expense for you.

Step
1
Seek out lure courses
Go on a search online or in your telephone directory for lure courses in your area. You could also get some recommendations from your veterinary professional or even your groomer. Some of the best course experiences can be found by word of mouth referrals. Check out the facilities of several courses, getting your details down on paper, including but not limited to length of course, whether it’s inside or outside, shape of course, whether or not there are obstacles built into it and, of course, the price and distance from your home. Pick your best option.
Step
2
Gather your tools
Be sure to make sure you are taking sufficient drinking water for both you and your Lurcher, as it is never a good idea to assume that it will always be available to you. Take snacks along not only for nourishment for your pet (and take some for you, too) but their favorite snack may be needed to get them interested in the experience if it’s the first time for lure coursing. Their favorite toy could also be used as a lure to get them to participate if necessary. If your Lurcher is collared most of the time, they probably won’t get excited until you attach the leash, signaling that something outside or away from home is coming. The prospect of going outside to walk or play will generally excite any canine and your Lurcher is no different in this respect. They are likely anticipating something fun and exciting to follow.
Step
3
Lure Coursing
Get into the car and drive to the preselected lure coursing site, check-in, pay fees and get registered. Instructions will be provided at the site which are germane to the specific course. Prepare yourself to enjoy a spectacular afternoon watching your Lurcher achieve amazing results and have a good bit of fun yourself!
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Obedience Training

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Collar
Leash
Drinking water
Activity description

Obedience training is a great activity which can serve several purposes.  It is great exercise for both you and your Lurcher because you, as the handler, will need to walk and run with your dog as you train them for the various commands they are required to learn.  It is also a great safety net for your beloved pet - there have been many a pet saved from being hit by a car by using the command, “down - stay!” And, then there’s the issue of you or one of the kids being literally dragged down the street as your pet chases a small animal during a walk period. Obedience training is also a major exercise which requires the Lurcher to utilize that intelligence which was bred into them as they learn to behave based on certain cues given in verbal language and body language by their handlers, with the goal being to be able to control them off leash.

Step
1
Locate local obedience training classes
Many local dog clubs will have information on obedience training classes, as will your veterinary professional or groomer. Many dog clubs actually offer these classes themselves, frequently utilizing indoor facilities to avoid issues which can be caused by inclement weather. There is usually a cost involved in the classes which can vary from entity to entity. They generally meet once a week for the class and instruct you on how to practice that week’s lesson and any preceding lessons during the week to follow. Daily practice is usually recommended because repetition is the key to creating any new habit, whether humanoid or canine.
Step
2
Locate your pet’s immunization records
Most dog clubs or entities who would provide the obedience training will be interested in making sure that all parties are protected, whether human or other canines, from injuries and diseases which could accompany a canine who is not properly and regularly immunized. This is a question which you should ask when you speak to the provider of the obedience classes if it is not communicated freely as a requirement during your conversation with them.
Step
3
Collar and leash your pet
Gather your “tools” which should include not only the collar (usually a choker type) and leash (usually 6 feet in length) but also good walking shoes for you. You will be walking at various speeds during the classes and those 3-inch clogs or spike heels just won’t get it! Whenever you take your pet away from the house, you should always go prepared with snacks and drinking water (for both of you) because you just never know…
Step
4
Obedience class
Go to the preselected obedience class site, check-in and register your lurcher. Your immunization records and your entry fees will be requested at this time. Arrive early so that this will all be done in time for you and your lurcher to start the class on time to get the full benefit of training. Once the class begins, you will be instructed at each step and interval throughout the class and the expectations will be explained for the subsequent classes throughout the training period.
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More Fun Ideas...

Go find toy

This game teaches your Lurcher to identify food items, toys, treats and other items by associating what they look and smell like to the name or title you're giving them.  It teaches them to associate words or names with these objects - an important connection in the original purpose of their breeding.

Nose Work Games

Playing a variety of types of "find the treats or toy" games will hone the search and rescue skills of your lurcher.  These canines have been bred to have great noses and eyes, getting these traits from the sight-hound and working breeds from which they were bred.

Dog Puzzle Toys

Lurchers are highly intelligent canines, being bred to ensure intelligence and reliability.  This high level of intelligence requires mental challenge and stimulation as often as possible, ideally on a daily basis.  Puzzle toys enable your lurcher to get great practice in problem-solving, a task they dearly love!

Food Dispensing Toys

A great way to take boredom of feeding time is to put their food into a toy that will dispense the food when properly manipulated.  The Lurcher is a very intelligent animal and loves to be challenged especially in problem-solving areas.

Conclusion

Your Lurcher is an amazing animal.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how intelligent they are or how speedy a hunter they are.  The most important thing to remember about your Lurcher is, because they are so intelligent, speedy and have such a sensitive sniffer, they will likely require more activities which will challenge these traits.  These activities which we have discussed today are only the tip of the dog’s tail, there are so many more which your imagination can invent once you see how your Lurcher will enjoy and thrive on these types of activities.