British Sighthound Field Association. Lure Coursing in the UK.
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Beginner's Guide




How Safe Is Lure Coursing?

Lure Coursing is a high energy, high speed activity, and as such, is not without risk. It is expected that owners understand this. The BSFA anticipates that attendees will do everything possible to avoid injury to their dogs, themselves and others. The BSFA can take no responsibilty for loss or damage to property, people or dogs whilst at any BSFA event.

Any dog, especially a sighthound, off lead on open ground is at danger from any number of hazards. Lure coursing allows us to minimise these hazards up to a point. The field is kept in good condition and fenced. The courses are designed with safety in mind and the speed of the lure is controlled. Owners can help mitigate any risks by ensuring their dog is fit to lure course to begin with (see 'Fitness') and by observing the rule that no dogs, aside from those running, are off lead. We encourage owners to help check the course for any hazards before we start running. This is important because once a sighthound has a moving target in it's view they can become oblivious to all else. We can supply details of the nearest on duty vet if needed.

- There is a risk of sporting injuries - strains, sprains, cuts and abrasions to name a few. Dogs maybe carrying a prior injury which may not be apparent beforehand and only becomes an issue once they are running. We reccomend that owners check their dogs over for any signs of tenderness, hot spots or anything else that may indicate an issue before they run them and after the dogs have run. If you are in any doubt, do not run your dog. Walking a dog around to warm up muscles before running and afterwards, to allow them to cool down, is recommended.

- There is a risk of gastric torsion (bloat) if a dog has eaten or drunk a significant amount two, or less, hours before running.

- There is a risk posed by the pulleys and the line. Dogs do not generally collide with these objects but it can happen. A dog can clip a pulley or get tangled in the line, usually this causes no problem but injuries are possible.

- There is a risk which comes with two dogs running together at high speed after the same target. Dogs generally manage to avoid colliding but in theory this could happen and at high speed can be very hazardous.

- There is a risk of aggression sparked by competitive rivalry and clashing personalities. We expect owners to be realistic about their dogs behaviour. If there are any doubts then the dogs should be muzzled. Collecting your dog quickly from the finish helps to avoid arguments over the lure.

To minimize risk to owners, we advise owners to remove their dogs leads BEFORE the lure starts moving and hold the dogs collar firmly being aware that the dog may twist. The leads should be dropped on the ground behind you where they are well clear of the dogs. Extending leads are NOT allowed on the field.

We ask that owners report any injuries that may have happened on the field to us. This information is kept and available for anyone who wishes to view it. Injury reports are discussed by the Committee with the inention to identify and remove any previously unforeseen safety issues.

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