|Call name: Fleet
Owners/Handlers: Erin McCorkell and Mike Maybee
Breeder: Helen Ferguson
How drew you to become involved in lure coursing? We became involved in lure coursing at the suggestion of our breeder, Helen Ferguson of Hyflyte Performance Whippets. I had previously been involved with other dog sports such as agility, obedience and rally with my herding breeds, but Fleet was our first sighthound and our first dog to try lure coursing. Right from the outset, what I loved about the sport is that the dogs who participate are doing what sighthounds have been bred to do, chase things! The joy of watching your dog doing their very favourite thing is addictive. Other reasons to love lure coursing include, it is the least expensive dog sport I have ever participated in, it is family friendly and it is held outdoors. Finally, with the Chase Ability program, you don’t even need a sighthound to compete.
When did you start? Fleet didn’t start lure coursing until she was almost three. In fact, she ran her first course in May 2019 and ended the season as Top Dog!
Did Fleet show early potential? Fleet definitely showed early potential as she won Best of Breed at her very first trial.
Why did you choose this breed? What drew me to Whippets was the fact that they seemed to be the whole package. They are athletic, affectionate, healthy and smart. Also, after years of herding dogs, they aren’t double coated, and at around 14 kilograms for a female, they are a nice mid-sized dog. They are known to excel at a number of sports other than lure coursing, such as: agility, dock diving, flyball, disc and racing. Honestly though, what they are best at is cuddling, and yes they can apparently sleep for 23 hours a day.
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training for lure coursing? When training for lure coursing you need to remember that your dog will be off lead in probably a five-acre field and in a state of high excitement. A reliable recall is a huge asset and in order to get one, you have to practise it. As well, for a dog to be fit enough to course, it needs to be able to run off lead, and it can’t do that without a recall. I have heard a number of people say, “You can’t let a Whippet off lead because sighthounds do not have a recall”. I say Malarkey! It might be a little harder to train with a Whippet than with a Malinois, but it is definitely doable. However, if your dog doesn’t have a reliable recall don’t let that stop you from trying the sport. If you are a little skeptical of your ability to catch your dog, let the course officials know and they will offer you some tried and true tips, as well as hands on help.
What was your most memorable moment in 2019? My most memorable lure coursing moment came in October 2019 when Fleet won the Championship Flight A Stake on the Sunday of the American Sighthound Field Association (ASFA) International Invitational. This event is considered by some enthusiasts to be the premier lure coursing event across all of North America.
Any tips for newcomers? For anyone interested in the sport, I would suggest doing a little bit of pedigree research, and looking for a kennel that has a history of breeding successful performance dogs. For Whippet lovers, Whippet: The Breed Archive is an invaluable resource. A supportive breeder is a great help to get you started. However, if sighthounds aren’t your thing, any breed, including mixed breeds, can compete under the CKC's Chase Ability Program. All you need is a dog that loves to run! Finally, go to a trial and see for yourself what it is all about, introduce yourself, ask questions, volunteer and just see how much darn fun it is!