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Does anyone do Fast CAT?

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  • Does anyone do Fast CAT?

    My mother sent me a magazine article on Fast CAT (link included for those who, like I was, are concerned about the wellbeing of felines) with the suggestion that it might be the perfect sport for my dog. Indeed, Astrid excels at the 100 meter dash, although the idea of running in a straight line (instead of doing everlasting donuts) will be new to her. Does anyone do this with their dog? How did you get started? I read that people who do this seriously have a training routine for their dogs, but the distance involves suggests that a house pet in good physical condition can partake without any additional fitness work provided no one has any competitive ambition. Is this true?

    My goals here would be to get her out to see new things, and giving her more opportunities to enjoy her great passion, running really fast after things that move.

    There are a few events upcoming in our area in the next couple of months, and I'll be visiting to watch one in action before signing her up- even better if a local club offers a practice course, as although she is faster than a speeding bullet, I can see her spooking at the lure.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

  • #2
    We just finished up 3 days of Fast CAT. The dogs really love it. I don't think you really need to train. When you run your dog for the first time, tell them that you both are new and they will get the lure closer to your dog and tease her a little bit to get her interesting in chasing it. You do need to take someone with you because you'll need a releaser AND a catcher with a leash for your dog at the end of the course. My somewhat timid girl has handled the lure fine; she just gives it a bit of a wide berth while running.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      DoubleClick Thank you! How did you get started- are you involved in lure coursing in any other way or did you just show up at an event with dogs in tow?
      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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      • #4
        I have volunteered at FAST CAT and, at least at this trial, I would say it's 50% people who train for it, 25% people whose real discipline is agility/rally/obedience and who just do this for fun, and 25% people who don't seem to do any training at all and just randomly show up. We make accommodations for new dogs, trying to get them to chase the lure if they don't immediately get the idea. Honestly some aren't even chasing the lure, they are running to the catcher who is calling them and ignoring the lure. The only thing I'd do is train your dog to leave you (if you're going to release) and run to someone else OR vice versa. Sometimes dogs don't want to leave the person releasing them and/or are nervous about being caught by the catcher.
        ~Veronica
        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          vxf111 , since you've volunteered- are there common things the "just randomly show up" crowd does that you'd prefer they do differently/do their research on/work with their dog on in advance? This would be my first experience with any kind of dog sport, so I fully intend to read the rulebook, watch competitions on YouTube, go watch one live before we show up to get a feel for how things are conducted live and what level of activity to prepare my dog for, etc.

          I would be my dog's catcher and either my husband or my mom (who is contemplating getting into it with her Corgi once he's old enough) would release. We do a version of catch and release at home in the backyard, so Astrid understands "I run really fast after the ball and then I go to Mom." Not sure if the part where she's supposed to sit at Mom so that she can have another ball thrown is going to be a bug or a feature here...
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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          • #6
            1. Check in
            2. Be within hearing distance when it’s close to your yirn
            3. Be within HECKIN hearing distance when it’s close to your turn
            4. Have your dog under control
            5. Park where you are told to and generally follow directions

            that’s about it.

            FYI female dogs need to demonstrate they’re not in heat with a wipe test. We don’t do that in agility so it came as a surprise to me.
            ~Veronica
            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
            http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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            • #7
              And there I was thinking this was a dieting program for cats.

              Or training your cat to race.

              Oh, well.
              Rack on!

              Comment


              • #8
                I run my dogs in fast cat often. For my sighthounds I use it as training/fitness when they are not lure coursing. For my shepherds they just enjoy it! Does your dog have an AKC number? If not you will need to get either a PAL number if purebred but not registered or an IPL number. However, if you want to see if they will do it first, many times the Fast Cat trials will let you practice for $5-10 at the end of the day or when they have no one waiting.
                Be prepared if your dog likes it they may turn into a lunatic about it! Screaming, pulling, etc.
                Be prepared for weather, if hot things to cool your dog down (typically the host will have pools set up for the dogs), bring water. If cold you'll need to ensure you warm your dog up with walking around and then cool them down, similar to a horse.
                Bring two leashes for catching/releasing.
                Some trials have better set ups, they are all fenced but the fencing can be weak (snow fence, etc) so make sure your dog won't try to escape
                Go to www.akc.org and event search, then under performance Fast cat to find trials near you. Most clubs will run two trials a day.
                It's fun for the dogs. I don't think an average fit dog (could go for a 3-4 mile walk without getting tired) needs much more fitness for it.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  vxf111 So basically, if it would be rude at a horse show, it would be rude at a dog show? That should be easy enough...

                  jreventer Thanks for the great tips! My dog is not registered yet but I know I’ll need to get her a PAL number. She would only be the second Finnish Lapphund with results recorded, as far as I can tell!

                  How long do trials generally take? Is it like a horse show where I should plan to bring a shade tent and enough water for 18 hours? The prize lists make it look like the order of go is drawn and posted day of.
                  "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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                  • #10
                    They take ALL DAY, though you can rule of thumb your time a little bit by the entries. A little bit. It always seems to be scheduled so EVERYONE is there ALL DAY... it's not like they cluster things logically.

                    Being at the ring to stand on deck, in the hole, etc. is even more important than at a horse show. The dogs run one after another and each run is done FAST. It's super annoying when I need the vizsla "Rusty" next and I am yelling "Rusty... RUSTY?" and every 3rd dog is a vizsla and they ALL LOOK THE SAME TO ME (I'm a collie person). Then I have to decide to try to take dogs out of order or send someone looking for you, and either way I piss other people off.

                    So check in. Pay attention. Go up to the starter and since you have an uncommon dog breed, point to it and say "this is the lapphund" and then make sure you stay in hearing distance to get on deck when they need you. It goes FAST and it is really tough when dogs/handlers aren't where they are supposed to be. Send you catcher down way ahead of time so make sure she makes it to where she needs to be-- just help it all run smoothly.

                    In agility we call mixed breeds "all american dogs" and in FAST CAT they call them something like "canine partner." Nothing is more annoying than it says CP, so I don't even know what it LOOKS LIKE and no one is responding when I call its name. I so appreciate when people introduce the dog in the morning so I can make a note that Fluffy CP is the chow mix and spot is the hound mix, etc.
                    ~Veronica
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would plan on being there most of the day. Most often they do two trials a day, so you could just run one if you wanted.
                      But yes bring water and shade.
                      My sister runs her Bichon and there are only three with results. Fun with an unusual breed!

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                      • #12
                        So... how do people train for Fast CAT?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by knightrider922 View Post
                          So... how do people train for Fast CAT?
                          You don't really need to train. Your dog either has the drive to chase or doesn't. I have one dog that loves it one that doesn't, the one that loves it loves fetch and has a high prey drive. I prepare her by playing lots of chuckit to get her sprinting. It's not a super long distance, not really high for injuries if they're decently in shape.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by knightrider922 View Post
                            So... how do people train for Fast CAT?
                            I’ve read articles and blogs about Fast CAT where people say they put their dogs on treadmills to help them stay fit and build endurance. I would imagine that these are dogs for whom it is difficult to arrange outside walks for the requisite distance, whether because the person has a knee injury, the dog lives downtown, or the dog has too much energy and is unfit to be seen until he spends an hour running. I did think (for 20 seconds) of training Astrid to run on a treadmill, since it’s difficult to meet her exercise needs in the summer without risking heat stroke, but a hallmark of the Lapphund breed is the strong startle reflex. It wouldn’t go well.

                            I’m going to check out a trial at the end of this month. Is it generally okay to bring a non-competing dog onto competition grounds? It might be good for Astrid to go be a non-showing horse one day to see the sights and get a sense of whether her excitement at something new might exceed her current level of training. She’s generally well-behaved in public with novel stimuli but I don’t want to be That Person with That Dog.
                            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                              They take ALL DAY... It goes FAST .
                              Until the line breaks!

                              Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                              I’m going to check out a trial at the end of this month. Is it generally okay to bring a non-competing dog onto competition grounds? It might be good for Astrid to go be a non-showing horse one day to see the sights and get a sense of whether her excitement at something new might exceed her current level of training. She’s generally well-behaved in public with novel stimuli but I don’t want to be That Person with That Dog.
                              If you look the part (flat collar, no dangling tags, 6' leash) and stay out of the way, none's the wiser and folks don't usually mind. Staying out of the way also means not dragging Astrid around everywhere all day.

                              To add to her list of skills for lure coursing:

                              - being butt wiped by a stranger, as vxf said
                              - hanging around a lot of excited dogs calmly. Social etiquette is dogs do not sniff or interact
                              - crating in the car quietly
                              - allowing herself to be caught/recall/down-stay

                              Stuff to bring:

                              - confirmation of entry
                              - copy of Astrid's registration
                              - copies of rabies
                              - flat collar
                              - two 6' leashes
                              - poop bags
                              - bowl
                              - water
                              - treats and maybe a stuffed kong or bone to work on in the car (downtime can be hours' long)
                              - beverages and food for humans
                              - chairs
                              - crate for car
                              - shade for car/dog

                              People are happy to video, so don't be shy! It is not unusual to hand your phone to a stranger and ask them to video. Oh, another unique etiquette thing: it is not unusual to find someone sitting in your chair, or you sit in some stranger's chair. Just get up when they return to their chair.

                              To help prepare or test her prey drive, you could work on chasing a flirt pole and running to someone else so she is running away from you. Ensure she is fit and her nails are trimmed.

                              Choose your trials or fun days strategically, because you may very well pull a slot in the heat of mid-day. Either way, you will be there. all. dang. day. For a couple 30-second runs.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                It's fine to bring a non competing dog, I always bring both of mine but only one competes. To be honest I think you're reading into it way too much just sign up and go have fun! There are lots of beginner dogs, clueless dogs, clueless owners, crazy dogs etc etc. There's a good handful of "those" people and in the end it doesn't matter. Some dogs run halfway, turn around a run back, some trot along looking for their owner, some refuse to be caught at the end. The whole point is to have fun and it's very laid back with a great group of people. I do try to sign up for events asap because the earlier you sign up the closer to the front you will run which means in the afternoon you get to leave earlier.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I forgot to add your dog will not be trained after they get the bug for FastCAT. My dog is a pretty well behaved pup on a leash but at FastCat she lunges and barks everytime she sees the lure and hears the whirring. I just have to pretend I'm not seeing her pull and bark in public lol it never translates to home she walks perfectly off the property of a competition. I certainly can't punish her for wanting to chase the lure that I want her to chase.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Bicoastal Thank you- that list is fabulous! I'll rig up a flirt pole to get her used to chasing something novel, though I'm not sure her drive needs practice. She'll be delighted to have her very own big cat wand- normally the cat toys are verboten (it starts an argument she invariably loses.)

                                    I'm thinking that at the end of the month, she and I will pay a visit to a trial. We'll spend an hour walking across the grounds and watching the event to confirm her brain remains intact in a new environment, sit quietly a reasonable distance away as if she were in queue, and then go home to chase balls in the backyard. Then if that goes well we'll sign up for a trial in September. Probably will still have to do just the morning event and go home... I don't think I can keep a double-coated black dog cool enough in September to hang out at a trial all day, shade or no shade, summer cut or no summer cut! If nothing else, it'll be a new experience to add to the things she knows about life.
                                    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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