Exciting and often hilarious Jack Russell Terrier racing is a popular event for dog owners and spectators. Not requiring huge expense to build, the racing equipment can be set up on grass or dirt to give the dogs good footing. Exiting a hinged six-section box, the dogs run the chute-like course, chasing a lure and jumping over hurdles to the finish line. Enjoy Jack Russell racing by setting up your own course. The starting box and lure puller are generally purchased rather than constructed by hand, in the interests of safety. Go to the websites referenced for rules, regulations and safety tips. Dogs should always wear muzzles. Race, laugh, but don't blink or you'll miss it.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Six-slot starting box
- Tape measure
- 500 linear feet of rigid plastic fencing--3 feet high
- 100 rebars--4-foot lengths
- 100 rebar caps or slit tennis balls
- Cable ties
- 12 to18 4-inch PVC pipes--10 foot length
- Loosely packed straw bales
- Fur strip
- Lure puller with plenty of string
- Car battery
- 8 spikes
Mark an area with an 8- to 10-foot width for the racetrack. Set the six-slot starting box in the middle of the width at one end, making sure it is on dirt or grass footing.
Start the fence slightly behind the starting box. Pound the first rebar into the ground, with another directly across from it at a distance of 10 feet. Place a cap or slit tennis ball (a tennis ball with a slit large enough to snugly fit over the end of the rebar) on top. Continue every 10 feet (no more or the bars will not support the fence) until all rebars are used and two straight lines of rebars are formed.
Run the plastic fencing inside the rebars (so the rebars are on the outside of the track). Attach the fencing to the rebars with cable ties, making sure no edges are inside the track. The track should look like a chute.
Drill a small hole in the top and bottom one inch from the ends of a 4-inch PVC pipe. Make equal holes at opposite ends. Thirty feet from the starting box, fasten the PVC pipe with cable ties to the fence using both holes drilled, placing the pipe two inches above the ground. Make sure the cable tie ends face outside of the track. Both ends should sit above the ground in a snug fit to the two fences. Place another 4-inch PVC pipe two inches above in the same way (there should be no gaps for dogs to run through). Jumps should be 12 inches high. Continue every 20 feet minimum (for maximum safety, a 30-foot distance can be used, with no less than five jumps) until six to eight jumps have been built.
Place a barrier of loose straw bales at a distance of no less than 30 feet from the last jump. At the bottom, centre is a gap 8 inches wide by 20 inches high for the dogs to run through at the end of the race. Cover the hay bales lining the gap and outside it with a bright-coloured tarp--yellow or orange, so the dogs can see the dark gap. The tarp is to protect dogs from stalks and eye injuries.
Attach a fur strip (or tail) to the end of several hundred feet of string that is attached to the lure puller, which has been staked by 8 spikes to the ground, attached to the car battery behind the fencing. Relay the string to the centre of the track. The string runs through the hole in the straw bales barrier, over the middle of each jump to the centre of the door opening of the starter box.
Tips and warnings
- The course length should be minimum of 150 feet to 225 feet, with a minimum catch area behind the bales of 15 to 20 feet.
- A post driver can be used in place of a sledgehammer for rebars.
- When showing the lure to the dogs, hang it low so the dogs are looking down at it and will exit with heads down.
- Leather gloves are recommended for hammering the rebars into the ground.
- Only use loosely packed straw bales. Do not use dense bales as they can cause injury to the dogs.
- The centre gap in the straw bale barrier should be at least 20 inches high, no less. Not abiding by this rule could result in injury to the dogs.
- The course should be minimum of 150 feet long, with a minimum 30-foot distance from the last jump to the straw bales barrier marking end of the race.
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