Talking with a friend a day or two ago, and it got me to thinking. Seems there was some very poor lure operation going on…………dogs being badly dumped in corners (a breed that normally corners very well), dogs being brought in way too close to the motors, dogs unsighted for no reason other than crappy lure operation. Complaints were made, but apparently no entries were pulled. Why? Why would someone NOT pull their entries if you saw that the lure operator was a dumbass……….is the cost of entry fees worth more than your dog? There seems to be a recent trend to have folks lure opping who have had less than a years experience, and that experience being rather limited. I know we have a shortage of lure operators out there, but using bad lure ops will not only hurt the clubs entries, it could hurt someones dog. People bitch and whine constantly about judges, and there are judges they will not run their dog under. But they will put their dog on the field with a bad lure op. This is not the correct way to be thinking. A bad judge can only give your dog a bad score (and losing is NOT fatal), a bad lure op can injure your dog, sometimes permanently. There are judges out there that I do not like, and there are lure ops out there who are horrible. If I have to make a choice, I will take the bad judging every day. I will NEVER enter under a crappy lure op……………NEVER. It’s not worth the risk of injury. Injuries are always a specter that we have to face and deal with in a performance event, but there is absolutely NO reason to stack the odds in favor of injury. If you get to a trial and you see that the lure op is an inexperienced twit, and the club doesn’t have enough sense to remove them from the ladder, then remove yourself, and your hounds. Tis better to lose the entries and run another day, than to lose the dog to an injury that could have been prevented.
The same rule applies to weird ass course designs. If you get there, and the course plan has been altered to the point of being dangerous, leave. Obviously, talk to the club first, voice your concerns. If they choose to not address them, pack up and go home. And if you see a bizarre ass course plan in a premium list, just stay home. There is absolutely no reason to run your dog on a course design that looks like it was laid out by a centipede on crack.
And one final note, if you pull your hounds or do not enter a trial due to shitty lure operation or crazy course design, tell the club. They cannot fix something if they do not know it is broken. Sometimes clubs are led astray by one single person, and simply do not understand that this person does not have their best interest at heart, but rather is interested in getting their friends and buddies involved where they should not be.
You are the thinking human. Your dog is a sighthound. They do not understand that so and so is a shitty lure operator, or that a particular course design looks like it was specifically laid out to injure a dog. That is your responsibility, to recognize dangerous situations and remove your dog from them. Sighthounds will chase, no matter what. Make sure they chase safely. You would not intentionally enter and run your dog with one that is known to be dirty, don’t put your dog in harms way with bad lure operation or poor course design. You have the bigger brain, use it.