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Coursing Ability

Raevyn lure coursing title
Cindy letting Raevyn go
Cindy and Raevyn
Take off
End of the line
Raevyn can run!
Raevyn luring
Raevyn Wine Country
Kelly's turn!
Keely running
Raevyn caught the 'bunny'
Raevyn CAA end
Friday lure
Saturday lure
Sunday lure

Do you have a Kees who loves to chase things? Maybe play fetch? Perhaps run after the ball but not quite bring it back? I recently found out about lure coursing, and even better, that it is also offered for non-sighthounds in an event called a Coursing Ability Test. Below is a description from the AKC website, with some pictures of Raevyn during the weekend when she achieved her CA title, which is described in the information. 

The American Kennel Club recently created a new event that allows all dogs to discover the excitement of lure coursing.


"The Coursing Ability Test can provide a wonderful community outreach opportunity, an enjoyable experience for dogs and owners and a way to expose a wider audience to the sport, " said AKC's AVP of Performance Events Doug Ljungren. "Most dogs will chase a lure and have fun in the process."


The Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is for any dog of any breed, including mixed-breeds, as long as it is at least 1 year old and individually registered or listed with AKC.


To pass the test, a dog running alone must pursue a lure, completing the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a given time.


Dogs that pass the CAT three times will earn a Coursing Ability (CA) title. Ten passes and a dog earns a Coursing Ability Advanced (CAA) title, and 25 passes results in a Coursing Ability Excellent (CAX) title.


AKC Coursing Ability Tests do not require dogs to run as far as dogs in lure coursing trials.

They also do not have to execute extreme turns, with no turn being more acute than 90 degrees.

Dogs under 12-inches at the withers have a course of approximately 300 yards. Dogs more than 12 inches at the withers race approximately 600 yards. The 600-yard course must be completed within 2 minutes and the 300-yard course within 1½ minutes.

Lure coursing often requires no training. Many dogs see the lure move and immediately want to chase it, Phillips said.

"Some dogs need some practice and some coaxing, but eventually, with repetition they will get it," she said. "If your dog has already displayed a pretty strong prey drive by being attracted to squirrels or wild birds or other small animals, their chances of liking the lure are higher."


Examples of some courses:

For those of you who plan to give the test a try with your dog, Phillips offers the following tips:

  • Make sure that your dog is physically healthy and in good shape to run a course. If you are not sure, make an appointment with a veterinarian to get an opinion.

  • Take your dog to a practice to introduce your dog to the lure or make your own lure for practice. "If you cannot get to a practice, you can try to play tug with your dog with a plastic bag or another type of lure pole. This is similar to what is used to play with a cat, but on a dog level. You can get a type of plastic lure and attach it to a springing pole and have your dog practice chasing it around your yard or a 

  • nearby park, on leash, or course."

  • For the test, bring lots of fresh water, a strong, soft leash, and maybe a portable crate if the lure field is a long ways from the car.

  • Handlers should wear comfortable shoes and be physically able to hold and release their dogs, as well as catch them.

  • Teach your dog the command "come." "If you don't have control over the dog when it is just laying around the house and not fully aroused, you will have a heck of a time trying to catch them when they are super excited about the lure and running loose."


Source: AKC website on Coursing Ability Testing

Canadian Kennel Club


The CKC has also begun the process of implementing a similar program, though they are looking at having a different name for it. A recent news release by the CKC states they are seeking feedback for interest in this program, and also volunteers who might be interested in helping develop the program. From the CKC website, here is the overview of the program.


Chase Ability Program (CAP)

1. The purpose of the CKC Chase Ability Program is to provide all purebred and mixed-breed dogs with a chance to earn a title in a field event that all dogs are capable of performing. Dogs run singularly and are required to complete their course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a maximum amount of time. The Chase Ability Program is a pass/fail event. 


2. Chase Ability participation is open to all purebred and mixed breed dogs at least 12 months of age that are: 

(a)  Individually registered with the CKC,
(b)  Have an Event Registration Number (ERN),
(c)  Have a Performance Event Number (PEN),
(d)  Eligible for registration with the CKC, or
(e)  Have a Miscellaneous Certificate Number (MCN) if it belongs to a CKC listed breed
(f)  Have a Canine Companion number (CCN) if it is a mixed-breed 


3. Females in season may not enter. 


4. Any CKC recognized club is eligible to hold Chase Ability Program events. 


5. All applicable administrative regulations governing Lure Coursing Trials shall apply to the Chase Ability Program unless specifically addressed in this document. This document supersedes the CKC Lure Coursing Trial Rules and Regulations if there is a conflict. 


6. All CKC recognized clubs may make application to the Canadian Kennel Club to hold an event on a designated form downloadable from the CKC website (form to be amended to include Chase Ability Program). Applications shall be made a minimum of 180 days prior to the event 


7. Events may be either stand-alone or may be held at the conclusion of a club’s CKC approved event. The Chase Ability event must be applied for as a separate event. If a club limits the number of entries per event then the number of participants must be stated in the premium. A club may hold up to six Chase Ability events per calendar year. A club may hold no more than two Chase Ability events on the same day. The standard separation distance shall apply to CAP events as per all CKC events. 


8. If a Chase Ability event is held at the conclusion of an approved CKC event, the club may use the same premium however separate entry forms for each event must be submitted. A list of approved upcoming events can be found on the CKC website. 


9. Only CKC approved All-Breed Lure Coursing event judges are approved to judge a Chase Ability Program event. One judge is required per event. Event judge applications shall be submitted no less than 90 days prior to the date of the approved event. 


10. An inspection committee consisting of at least two persons who are members of the event committee shall inspect each entry for lameness, fitness to compete and females in season. In the opinion of the inspection committee, any entry found to be lame, unfit to compete or a female in season it shall not be allowed to enter and entry fees shall be refunded. 


11. The course shall be designed with safety for non-sighthound breeds as the primary consideration. There shall be no turns more acute than 90 degrees. The total length of the course shall be no less than 600 yards. The lure will consist of plastic strips or fur. Drag or closed-loop courses are permitted. Depending of the size and type of dog, the dog will run either the full course or a 300 yard course. The 300 yard distance shall be clearly marked. Safety is of utmost importance and this must be an important consideration in the design of a course. 


12. Dogs run singularly. There shall be two course lengths 300 and 600 yards. 

(a)  The 300 yard course shall be for dogs shorter than 12 inches at the withers and/or brachycephalic (“flat-faced”) dogs. A dog must complete this course 2 minutes or less. 

(b)  The 600 yard course shall be used for all dogs that are not eligible to run the 300 yard course. A dog must complete this course in 3 minutes or less. 

(c)  If there is a question which course length a dog should run, the judge will decide.

13. Dogs may wear a catch collar that is free of any item which may become entangled in the line. Prong or electronic collars are NOT permitted. The collar should be snug to minimize the changes of getting hung-up on the line during the run. 


14. The Chase Ability event is a pass/fail event. In order to pass, the dog must complete the entire course with enthusiasm and without interruption within the maximum amount of time for the course length. The judge keeps the official time and decides the merits of the dog’s performance. 


15. A club holding Chase Ability events shall offer a ribbon or rosette to each dog that passes the event. Ribbons/rosettes must conform to the CKC directed size and colour. The words “Chase Ability Qualifier” and the name of the event-giving club along with the CKC logo must be on the ribbon/rosette. 


16. Three titles will be awarded for dogs that pass the Chase Ability Program event the required number of times. For purebred dogs, these are suffix titles that will appear on a dog’s pedigree with a higher level title superseding a lower level title.

(a)  Chase Ability (CA) – Awarded to a dog that passes the Chase Ability event three times under at least two different judges. 

(b)  Chase Ability Excellent (CAX) - Dog passes the Chase Ability event a total of ten times. (CA+7 additional passes) 

(c)  Chase Ability Excellent 2 (CAX2) – Dog passes the Chase Ability event a total of 20 times. A higher numbered title will be awarded for every additional ten passes. 



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