On Saturday, several friends from our training class with Dorothy Webb, went to another part of the Longview fairgrounds to see how the Barn Hunt was doing. It was the first day of the three day Barn Hunt event. The officials of the club did not have a very good turnout and they acted happy to see us. I had already entered my three boys for the Sunday trials.
Liz wanted to enter her Anatolian Shepherds, and Dorothy thought she might enter Charlie, her young Tervuren. We watched for a while.
Sunday morning we met at the trial, about 9:30. We were all having a good time. The Barn Hunt people seemed to be having a good day and everyone was pleasant. Liz's dog did well and he got his RAT1 Instinct Title. Dorothy's Charlie was very close to titling and will most likely title next time.
Andiamo did not seem to be as interested in the rats as he was at the last hunt. He did qualify though he was not all that anxious to find rats. Once I asked him to climb a hay bale and he did. I praised him and he proceeded to get the "zoomies" jumping from bale to bale as he was happy to please me. He did not qualify in the Novice class. He did not want to do the tunnel, and I did not properly identify the rat tube.
Lucca was very distracted. He did smell each tube, but there was one he didn't like. I wanted him to go back and check the three tubes again, (the empty one, the one with rat litter, and the one with the live rat). I was looking for a little stronger indication from him as to which tube held the rat. I had a hunch which one it was, but it was his reluctance to smell that tube that convinced me it was the rat tube. He got the funniest expression when he smelled that rat. If he could have talked I believe he would have said "ewwwww". I think perhaps Lucca does not really have great potential as a rat hunter.
Journey probably did the best. Maybe due to his success in agility, he went through the tunnel every time he was in the ring and he had no problem climbing the hay bales. He identified the rat tube with a slight tail wag. He also qualified once again in the Instinct class.
In the other trial Lucca was even less interested. He refused to smell another tube after once smelling the rat tube. He snorted and made a face registering extreme dislike! He did not identify the hay bale tunnel as a "tunnel" like his agility tunnel at home, which he loves. He did not understand what I wanted him to do as far as climbing on a hay bale. We are not allowed to touch the hay bale to encourage our dog to jump on it.
He finally went over to where the Judge was standing and he sat politely by his side. It seemed I was the only one hunting the rat.
Andi was trying to have a good time in spite of his basic lack of interest. It is kind of strange in that my dogs do so many different activities and have always enjoyed them all. They love nose work and all three are excellent at finding different scented items. They also find hidden items that I have touched. They do car searches and will hunt almost anything, inside or outside. They never get tired of this. They love swimming; lure coursing; rally, and obedience. Journey was a super agility dog until he had an injury. Andiamo was involved in agility until I was unable to manage it.
I really expected them to like hunting rats; especially I thought my little Lucca the wild boy would go for it. Guess you never know.
Personally, it is not one of my favorite activities. There is no chance to introduce the dogs to what they are looking for, as they do not get to see the rat. If I could once coax them through the tunnel in training, I don't think it would be a problem. If I could practice them on climbing a couple hay bales so that they understood what I was asking them to do, they would catch on fast. I am unable to handle loading and unloading hay bales or toting them around on my property. If we have any rats on our property, they are not interested in introducing themselves to my dogs. I am not a potential rat handler, so would not be a good rat owner.
Many of the people participating in the rat hunting are very nice, but unfortunately several of the people who are running the trials just seem to always be having a bad day. One person is so rude to the spectators and entrants, that they feel humiliated and embarrassed at being yelled at or otherwise verbally abused loudly, in front of so many people. I don't know if it is just their normal way of acting or if they dislike most people. Who knows why people act the way they do. But unlike so many other activities that are available to do with your dogs on a weekend; this one is not that much fun, in my opinion. My friends only entered the morning trial. They just witnessed a couple uncomfortable tirades. I believe our last Barn Hunt was about a year ago. It may be a while again.