Participating In Straight Racing Helping Train Dogs for Being in the Public

Trainee Demonstration Dog Devon and Program Ambassador Rhys participated in straight racing practice this weekend with the awesome Mr. Greg Gammie and the Greater Chicagoland Whippet Club.

All varieties of dogs are welcomed and the group is very supportive of newcomers to the sport - one of many great ways for your dog to get exercise, follow it's natural instincts to chase, and have a great day out with you.

This was Devon's second practice and he is showing keen interest! The American Kennel Club sanctions Fast Cat races, which is a 100 yard dash for dogs of any breed! Look for 2018 updates on Devon's first experiences in Fast Cat!

Rhys, a rare breed Silken Windbound is a sighthound breed such as Greyhounds or Whippets, which hunt by sight rather than scent. Rhys was born to run! As a sighthound breed, Rhys can compete in numerous types of racing through http://www.lgra.org or http://www.notra.org/ for example.

Today was Rhys' first experience of a starting box. The front of the box is left open just to get him used to the idea of the box being ok and just an avenue to get to the lure. The first time through he was a bit wary, but once he realized that he was going to get the lure, going through the box was no problem at all. At a future practice he will also become accustomed to the starting box "door" being closed - it opens all the boxes simultaneously so that each dog starts at the same time. Rhys is gaining confidence with his racing and LOVES chasing the lure.

Actual straight racing meets are competitive but do NOT involve gambling - the dogs run for the thrill and glory.

At meets or when multiple dogs practice racing together, they wear racing muzzles to ensure that they are safe - at the end of the race, when the lure stops, some dogs eagerly attempt to claim it as their own - and defend it from other dogs. With racing muzzles on, everyone stays safe and has fun. The lure itself is a combination of shredded plastic bags and a fur-covered squeaky toy that the dogs treat as "prey."  

For both Devon and Rhys, racing is another way to have a great time and stay in shape. It also gets them accustomed to being around lots of other dogs and people - an important aspect of training for any dog that is regularly out in the community or has public access.

Tawni Lescher