Since I last wrote about the Mazing Chase I have gotten some extensive equipment knowledge!! Especially for what I am doing. This sport again is traditional and professionally known as Lure Coursing. Again Lure Coursing being designed for sight hounds which have a high top end speed around 40 mph but not so much the endurance. This equipment is designed to run in that capacity. Quick speeds for short time running!!
I do think most dogs will enjoy and engage this sport with very little training because of their natural affinity to chase. So depending on your breed and physical abilities and conditioning will determine equipment and course requirements. I am running sled dogs with high endurance potential, certainly not as quick as a sight hound. My dogs have taken very well to this sport!! My only problem has been the equipment currently available. Since this is not a main stream sport you only have smaller manufacturers and suppliers creating and producing the equipment necessary to get involved. My dogs can run all day chasing the lure!! The equipment available can only run for 10 to 15 minutes without taking a break.
I have burned up many motors trying to satisfy my dogs appetite for this sport!! My nature is to think outside of the box!! I love to be creative in case you didn’t know!! Well I was on a mission to solve my dilemma!! First I looked at the design of the equipment. It is designed to be relatively portable (most people are using this in a place where they have no outlets or access to electric power). Therefore it is made to work off of battery power. We are talking car batteries which is a 12 volt system. Obviously the motor to run the string is a 12 volt motor. In fact some of the motors that are being used are starter motors from older automobile designs. This design will definitely work for non continuous running, like when you do a run of the course just a few times max and than rest the machine. A starter motor is meant to start the car and than is at rest. Not designed for continuous use!!
Well again a good challenge to find a way to run this equipment continuously so my dogs with their high endurance can run as many laps as they so desire without equipment limitations. One of my crew members and good friends happens to be extremely handy, knowledgeable, and smart!! He is very persistent like me and thinks outside of the box also!! He loves a challenge. It also helps he is a Master electrician!! His first instinct was to try and cool the motors!! 12 volt based equipment usually runs hot which limits its running time. Since it is 12 volt we decided to use water to cool it!! We designed a system to use misting heads to spray the motor while it is operating. This doubled or more the running time without putting to much strain on the motor. Again it wasn’t designed to run like this but if we kept it cooler we could get more running time!! It was our only answer in the intern to give my dogs extended running time on the course!! I still did manage to destroy some motors from working them still too hard and, we sealed the vital parts with silicone and rubber adapters the best we could but the water eventually found its way in like water does, and after some time also ruined a few motors!!
We had to find another solution!! We decided to research and try to find an electric motor that could do what we were trying to achieve here. Electric motors tend to run cooler than battery powered ones, but don’t usually have the torque of the battery motors. Torque is needed to get a quick start on the lure. If it starts slow, a dog (and my dogs do) can grab the lure on the string. Especially when, or if you need to entice the dog, the quicker speed can help you when you stop to essentially dangle the lure so the dog will realize he is supposed to chase it! Also some machines have a reverse option, so you can make the lure go back and forth. This also helps entice some dogs as well as if the string or lure gets bound up along the course you may be able to back it out and avoid a longer down time!! !With a lot of thought, research, and experimenting we have found an excellent solution to this situation!!
We have found a relatively inexpensive readily available electric motor that we are able to customize and alter to fit this Mazing Chase application!! Forward and reverse are also incorporated on this motor!! We had to play with finding a way to regear it without altering the motor itself which was a bit challenging. This had to be done to make the speed conducive to work for the dogs!! The only setback is that it is a little slower on start up on a larger course. Top speed is very similar to the battery operated motor!! One major advantage besides not needing the batteries (but of course you need a place to plug it in) is that this particular motor has a thermal protection cut off built in to it. That means when it gets hot it cuts itself off automatically. After it cools down it will operate perfectly again!! This prevents the motor from being over heated and therefore destroyed!! There is some recovery time involved on the cool down, so I have incorporated that into my setup!!
I have purchased two of the highest quality Lure Coursing machines I could find. They actually have built in fans for cooling down. It is a good idea similar to our water cool down but doesn’t give a whole lot more run time. It certainly does help though. I also have two of my custom designed machines with the electric motor. So I have a total of four machines which provides me with hours of uninterrupted running!! Again I am running sled dogs with incredible appetites for running!! My one guy Zarro has run 12 miles on the course in one outing and could still do more!!
I do have a smaller course set up at our Shenandoah Property which I am using one of my electric motor designs. This machine works perfectly there!! Because it is a smaller course the start up speed is very similar to the battery powered motor!!
Please ask me any questions about this Lure Coursing (Mazing Chase as I have nicknamed it). I have done the research and feel I am pioneering a more extended version of the original concept. Again this was originally, and even now, almost exclusively designed for Sight Hounds. I think almost all dogs could benefit and truly enjoy this sport but there is not a lot of information on how to do it so please ask me, I would love to assist!! Also, I will advise as usual, to check with your veterinarian before engaging in any physically demanding activity especially one like this. Also always go slowly with your dog, even though he or she may want more don’t over do it, it can be fatal!! Finally I don’t recommend any of the motor or equipment experimenting I have done myself. We have had a minor fire and other mishaps that can be dangerous to you or your best friend (all of my motors and operating equipment is sectioned off from the dogs reach) so please be aware. Again anything I venture in to I do with the utmost safety in mind and never subject my dogs to any avoidable risks!!