Kipawa's lure course adventures

  • Yesterday as we were approaching the acreage where the lure coursing is done, Kipawa started to go NUTS! We've only been there once before. I swear he has a GPS system inside of him! I?ve never heard so much squealing and whining, peppered with lots of ?talking?.

    I set up an x-pen my sis lent me. Kipawa had been so good in it last week when I was doing some front yard gardening. I don?t think jumping out of it even occurred to him. However, we are talking about other dogs running after the bunny/plastic bag where Kipawa could see them. All of a sudden I hear ?loose dog?. I turned around knowing it was Kipawa. I just KNEW it!

    The lure course area is all fenced off, but that didn?t bother Kipawa. He had at least an acre of grass to run in and he was going nutso doing it. 🙂 All of the other dogs were in their pens. Kipawa would zip near the pens as if he was challenging the other dogs to run after him. This is a game he plays all the time when we meet dogs on the dikes (very safe for off leash). I did get him back into the pen fairly quickly though.

    When they were organizing who would run when, I put Kipawa down for 2 runs on the straight course and 1 run on the random (is that the right term?) course. I knew this amount of running would be fine for him because he runs tons every day. Kipawa only has 1 speed ? GO! He just loved the random course. Darn that bunny (white plastic bag)! It would deke him and he would have to change directions. But he's good at that. Yes, I did take my camera but couldn?t get any shots of him running. He?s so fast! I?m going to ask some friends for pointers on how to do this. I know I need a fast shutter speed, which I did have, but there's other stuff I should be doing too.

    Then, rookie operator error. I remember Kevin (his breeder with wife Therese) mentioned this last summer when we were introduced to coursing at their place. Don't be anywhere near the cables. So of course when I was retrieving him after the random run, like an idiot I got too close to the moving cable and now have one nasty burn/tear on the back of one of my feet on the achilles tendon. A searing hot cable cutting into you does not feel too good.

    Kipawa slept all the way home, laying comfortably in the back seat. When we got home he checked out HIS backyard and then plopped down on the couch with me. I was exhausted too, from the excitement of watching him and from the socializing. There were a lot of people there yesterday. I'm a little bit of a hermit, so having tons of people around is a challenge for me.

    We certainly will go there again. It's every weekend unless the owners of the property are at lure competitions. I might have to get a taller x-pen or a cover for the one I have. The funny thing is that they had a little agility course set up and Kipawa only jumped over the lowest jump. But jumping out of the x-pen? No problem. :)

  • @Kipawa:

    Yes, I did take my camera but couldn?t get any shots of him running. He?s so fast! I?m going to ask some friends for pointers on how to do this. I know I need a fast shutter speed, which I did have, but there's other stuff I should be doing too.

    It's hard to concentrate on photography while you are concerned with managing the dog. Best thing is to enlist a friend…...hopefully someone good with go along with you and cover the picture angle. A long lens is great, but also difficult to keep the running dog in frame. Most good digital cameras have decent auto focus these days, but it has its limitations. Personally I like to use a wide open aperture, which makes for a shallow depth of field which will blur the background and make your dog stand out. The downside is, you have to nail the focus, so sometimes it is better to sacrifice the effect and maximize your chances of getting a useable shot by using a smaller aperture (set the camera to an automatic setting or the "sports" setting should help). Perhaps you can practice this technique on your dyke walks when Kipawa is running. A video camera is another way to go.

    Too bad I don't live closer to you. I get enlisted by my friends all the time to take photos of horses at Eventing and Dressage shows, so I keep in practice, Of course, dogs are smaller and potentially trickier, especially at a distance!

  • I use a top and bottom on my ex-pen to keep my dogs in. They are quite persistent if they believe there is way to get out at that "bunny" but relax and rest when they know they cannot.

    Most amateur photographers that I know that shoot lure coursing, start by just trying to photograph as many dogs as they can, often not their own. As they get better, they get a knack for how to shoot their own dog too but at first there is such a learning curve it is just too chaotic juggling both.

  • Kipawa certainly had a good time. How's your leg?

  • eeeefarm… oh how you are bringing back my photography knowledge. YES! Depth of field needs to be considered, not just shutter speed! Next weekend I will do a video of one of the runs and not zoom in so much. I think I was just zoomed in waaaay too far. The camera I am using does have the availability to make your own custom settings, so I'll work on doing that this week. Then all I will have to think about is how tight to focus.

    Patty - Thanks for asking about my leg. My ankle area (cut/burned by lure cable) will form a nice scar. It went in pretty deep. I think I didn't react fast enough - too busy trying to get Kipawa and also my head seemed to be working quite slow ("oh, THAT doesn't feel that nice, what the heck is happening"). When I got home I cleaned it really well and put some 'liquid bandage' on it. When I flex my ankle I still am reminded of my stupidity! 🙂

  • @Kipawa:

    Next weekend I will do a video of one of the runs and not zoom in so much. I think I was just zoomed in waaaay too far.

    I know the feeling! When Perry did his crow chase in my field that I videoed (my avatar is a still from that video), I was on maximum zoom because he was quite a distance away, but the video is almost unwatchable because it was so hard to try to stay on him at that magnification. (Of course, the flip side is if you don't use enough zoom you see this tiny, unrecognizable dog racing around.) Unless you are really good at keeping extraneous motion out of the camera, it ends up being very jerky. (yeah, a tripod would be good!) I have the same problem for a different reason when I video while snorkelling. If it's wavy, it is so hard to keep the fish in frame when you are bouncing up and down! 🙂

  • Sounds like Kipawa had a lot of fun and will be a good courser! Be sure and post pics when you have them. He's such a handsome boy.

    Hope your leg is better! That sounds awfully painful.

  • Hi Kipawa, as i understand you live around cloverdale area…I live in surrey and have been looking for Lure activity for my basenji who loves chasing and being chased. I think it would be a great fun for me. If you could provide me with some info on this please.
    thanks in advance

  • Hi Joti and Karen,

    We live in Ladner, but we have done lure course practicing with Kipawa in the Cloverdale area. The people who host the lure course practicing have whippets. They have a large acreage and often set up two styles of courses - one straight and one 'freeform' (not sure if that is the right word for it).

    Can you email me at and I will give you more information. They are holding a practice tomorrow, August 12 that begins at 10 a.m.

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