Subject: lure training at home - 3 U bolts
From: Adele Monroe
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 14:03:09 -0500
To: "SESRA-L@yahoogroups.com"

This approach is suitable for young puppies of all sighthound breeds and Italian Greyhounds and Basenjis of all ages. It can be used to build lure keenness in adult dogs of all breeds. This technique can also be used to train a dog to pounce on the lure when the lure stops, if the dog is in the habit of leaving the lure at the end of a run.

If a lunge whip or fish pole with a lure has been used for training, the three U bolts technique is a logical next step because it prevents the dog from learning to cut corners, which can happen easily with continued use of a lunge whip. If a lunge whip or fish pole has not been used for training, it is a good idea to get the puppy or dog interested in white plastic bags as toys before using the three U bolt approach.

Equipment needed
* two or three U bolts (approximately 3 inches wide x 5 inches long)
* hammer
* string, 200 to 300 feet, or more if a large space is available
* white plastic bags for lure

Optional equipment
* garden hose reel
* OR reel for electrical cords plus a long nail or spike. If you use these items, you need only two U bolts.
* squawker lure (used in straight racing). Play with the squawker as a toy first and use it as a lure only after your dog thinks it is a terrific toy. Squawkers are available from The Greyhound Store, see supplies (http://www.ngagreyhounds.com/).

* Also optional, but handy, is something to wrap the string on for storage if you are not using a garden hose reel. A reel or plastic frame for storing long electrical cords will work well. Even a piece of cardboard or a plastic juice bottle would work.

U bolt arrangement in the yard

U2
                                        U1
U3

The distance between U bolts is determined by the size of available space, but the distance between U2 and U3 should be at least 20 or 30 feet so the dog does not get distracted by the string. If you are not using a garden hose reel, leave yourself room behind U1 to turn and run in the direction opposite the lure (that is, away from the U bolts).

Setup when using three U bolts
If you are using three U bolts, hammer the first U bolt into the ground at position U1, leaving space under the U bolt so the string can move freely. Tie one end of the string to the U bolt in a knot you can easily untie.

Using three U bolts, you now have string tied to a bolt at U1, underneath bolts at U2 and U3, and continuing back to U1. Untie the string from bolt U1 and tie the lure (either white plastic bag or white plastic bag plus squawker) to the string. You are finished with the bolt at U1. Pull it up so you do not trip over it.

Setup when using a reel
If you store the string on an electrical cord reel or you use a garden hose reel, put the reel at position U1. If using an electrical cord reel, put the center of the reel over a spike you drive in the ground so the reel releases string as you place U bolts at positions U2 and U3.

Staring at position U1, walk with the end of the string to position U2 and hammer the second U bolt in the ground, capturing the string under the U bolt as you do so. Repeat with the third U bolt at position U3. Walk the string back to position U1.

You now have a reel at U1, and string running under U bolts at U2 and U3, and continuing back to U1. Tie the lure (either white plastic bag or white plastic bag plus squawker) to the free end of the string. Pull up the spike that held the electrical cord reel so you do not trip over it.

Training tips
Initially, just pull the string by hand, rather than reeling string onto a reel, because you will have a finer degree of control.

Standing at position U1 and facing U2 (or U3), hold the dog's collar in one hand and the string in the other hand. Start with the lure close to the dog at first (right under the nose of a puppy). Tug the string just enough to make the lure move, but not any distance. When the dog looks at the lure, release the collar and tug the string hard or turn and run in the opposite direction. (If you are using a reel, make sure the reel releases string freely if you turn and run.) Stop when you feel that the dog has pounced on the lure, or tension indicates the lure has reached the U2 bolt.

With young pups, you can move the lure small distances to keep the pup interested and pouncing on the lure. Play tug with the pup when the pup grabs the lure. Let the pup feel like it is winning as it pulls the lure backward.

With larger pups and adults, start with the lure close to the dog, but increase the distance of the lure from the dog quickly so the dog has to run a bit before it catches the lure. Your ultimate goal is for the dog to run and pounce on the lure when it is at least 25 to 35 feet away at the start.

[LGRA rules specify that the lure operator should keep the lure approximately 30 feet in front of the lead dog in a race. WRA rules call for the lure to be approximately 25 feet in front of adults and 15 feet in front of puppies. The NOTRA rule book calls for a drag lure to be 20 to 30 YARDS in front of the lead dog, so the lure appears to be moving along the inner rail.]

Stop after only two or three repetitions. As a general rule, sighthounds become bored rapidly, and you want to quit while the dog is eager for more. For example, at one training session, if the dog has two good runs and then is not as keen the third time, stop after only two repetitions the next time you train. Training three to five times per week, with one or two good runs each session, is more productive than training numerous times during one session per week.

If you are training young puppies or one of the small sighthound breeds, you can advance to using a garden hose reel once the dogs are reliably chasing the lure as soon as it moves. Using the hose reel allows you to watch the dog while reeling the string in, but will not move the lure very fast.

You do not need a large area to accomplish a great deal. Even a distance as short as 40 or 50 feet from U1 to the other U bolts is adequate to build lure keenness, which is the purpose of the exercise.

-- 
Adele C. Monroe, DVM
GraceGift Whippets, Naturally Reared
North Carolina, USA
http://www.gracegift.info