What Is Lure Coursing?


On the hunt!


Dogs have an innate desire to hunt, regardless of what they were bred to do.  Events are held inside or outside in a barn-like setting in a fenced in area. The maze course uses hay or straw bales stacked up to create climbing and tunneling obstacles for dogs to navigate through. The goal is to find the rat hidden in the hay.

Luratics doesn’t have any rats so we’ve added a twist to the standard Barnhunt routine: instead of a live rat, we put a scented lure on a line and run it through the maze of hay bales.  To make the hunt more challenging, empty rat bedding areas are also hidden in the hay. Dogs need to move through tunnels and climb hay bales to find the actual lure, which can also move since it’s on a line.
Events are open to all dogs at least six months old. No ratting history is required, but the dog must be able to fit through an 18” opening between two bales of hay, which is the width of the tunnels, and the height of a bale of hay, approximately 22”.

The challenge for the dog and her handler is to find the rat in a specific time period. Dogs are tested on speed, agility and ability to keep their footing.  In our hybrid version of this sport, both handler and dog are a team and the handler must signal when their dog has found the correct location of the lure/”rat”. However, this rat moves and the dogs can follow it as it goes around the outside of the maze (the dogs cannot get to the line or pulleys on the outside of the fence) and then catch it at the end when it returns to its lair; they need to work to find it.  This is a sport where the handler needs to know their dog well enough to recognize signs that indicate a rat has been found, including subtle signals that can be harder to pick up. Handlers have no idea where the nests are hidden or which ones contain a rat, and must wait for their dog to find the correct nest.

The object of this sport is to have fun whether you are participating or just watching. It’s a sport that celebrates the working ability of dogs and the bond and communication between a dog and his owner. Barn Hunt doesn’t require a lot of running on your part or extensive training for your dog. Barn Hunt is a good outlet for excess energy and provides stimulation for the mind as well.


Dogs enter the maze and are encouraged to hunt for the “rats.”  There will be two lures on the line: one (L1) at the first false nest (N1), and the other (L2) at the place where the dogs can grab it (RAT).  Each lure will be movable but the dog will only be allowed to catch the rat in the tunnel between bale 3 and bale 4.
Lures will be placed on the line in such a way that only one will be visible to the dog at any time, but the lure will be able to “run for cover” between bale 1 and bale 2 and the dog will be able to hear the “rat” moving around.  The dog will then have to find the rat in its lair at the end of the last tunnel.