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Poppy's Thrilling FastCAT Debut: What to Expect from Your First Race

FastCAT, short for Coursing Ability Test, is a heart-pounding event that lets your canine companion embrace their natural instincts and boundless energy. Recently, our beloved Border Collie, Poppy, took her first leap into the world of FastCAT racing, and oh, what a memorable adventure it turned out to be! Join us as we recount Poppy's exhilarating experience and share some insights on what to expect when venturing into the world of FastCAT.

dog running

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Essential Items for a Successful FastCAT Experience

To ensure your dog's comfort and safety during the FastCAT event, a few key items are essential:

  1. Leashes: You'll need two leashes - one for the walk to the starting line and another for when your dog crosses the finish line

  2. Water: Keep your pup hydrated between runs. FastCAT can be quite intense, and staying hydrated is crucial.

  3. Fan: Bringing a portable fan can help keep your dog cool, especially during warmer weather.

  4. Flat Buckle Collar: A flat buckle collar is recommended, as it allows for secure leash attachment without restricting movement and won't get caught on the lure. Make sure to remove ID tags etc. prior to the run.

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What to Expect During FastCAT

FastCAT events have a unique structure that combines excitement and bonding. Here's what you can anticipate:

  1. Check-In: Before each run, you'll need to check your dog in for a brief physical assessment. This ensures that your furry friend is ready and raring to go.

  2. Two-Person Team: A successful FastCAT run requires a two-person team: a catcher and a releaser. The catcher, usually the person the dog adores, stands at the finish line. The releaser takes off the dogs leash and holds on to the collar until the release signal.

  3. Release Signal: As you prepare to release your dog, a spirited yell of "tally-ho!" echoes through the air. This is the cue for your pup to chase the lure and make a dash for the finish line.

  4. Cheering On: The catcher becomes the ultimate cheerleader, calling for their dog and encouraging them as they sprint towards the finish line.

Poppy's FastCAT Debut: A Day of Speed and Joy

With wagging tails and eager anticipation, we embarked on Poppy's first FastCAT race day.

Poppy participated in a total of five runs throughout the weekend, three of which counted towards her AKC record. The journey began with a mix of curiosity and uncertainty, as she observed the track and the lure, trying to comprehend what was about to unfold.


Poppy's first run was.... adorable. She couldn't see me at the finish line and couldn't hear me calling for her. She smelled every bush and kept running back towards the "releaser". The releaser eventually ran down the track with her to cross the finish line.

Her second run went...better. She got sidetracked by a bush, and jogged her way down to me at the finish line.


After her first two runs, Poppy's bewilderment led us to sign up for a "fun run". This allowed both the catcher and releaser to be at the start line. I then ran down the track, making sure Poppy was watching me the whole time and wanting to catch up to me. This time, Poppy knew exactly where I was, and she took off as soon as she was released. Witnessing her chase with a blend of determination and sheer excitement was an unforgettable sight. This initial experience paved the way for her subsequent runs, where her understanding of the game deepened. And knew exactly what to do at the "Tally-HO"!


Rewards and Progress Tracking

FastCAT events celebrate your dog's achievements with ribbons awarded after each run. These ribbons aren't just souvenirs; they symbolize your dog's accomplishments and growth. Furthermore, you can track your dog's progress and level by tallying the points earned from each run, offering a tangible representation of their journey.


Poppy's first FastCAT experience was an adrenaline-fueled odyssey that deepened our bond and left us both exhilarated. As she crossed the finish line, her tail held high in triumph, we realized that FastCAT isn't just a race; it's an unforgettable adventure that celebrates the pure essence of our pups.


If you're considering diving into the world of FastCAT with your furry companion, anticipate a day filled with speed, joy, and a stronger connection with your dog. With the right essentials, an understanding of the event's structure, and a heart full of excitement, you and your dog are ready to conquer the FastCAT track, one thrilling run at a time.


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