Barn Hunt Trials

I figured I would do a post about my 3 day Barn Hunt attempt with Nekora.

We tried Barn Hunt a couple of months ago when she was in season – which she protested by sitting there licking her crotch. So this weekend was a new beginning to say the least. Friday – Sunday I was up by 5:30am to make the drive to Lakeland in order to compete in our Instinct & Novice classes. I was praying to the dog gods that this would go over better than the last time. I’m getting discouraged in throwing away money in entry fees. Granted Nekora has no real formal training in Barn Hunt – she happily seeks out rats in my backyard so I figured it would translate. Boy, was I wrong!

Friday’s Instinct trial went well – 27 seconds is all it took her to find the rat. In case you’re not in the know about Barn Hunt, the Instinct class consists of a cradle with 3 tubes – one that’s empty, one with litter, & the other with a rat. Your dog must show you which one has the rat in it. You call rat & if it’s correct your dog has a new title. There is a time limit of a minute.

Her Novice trials didn’t go over too well. She found the rat the first trial but was so subtle in her cues I missed it so I didn’t call rat. She also wouldn’t go through the tunnel or climb the hay. So we wouldn’t have qualified anyways. (In Novice you have 3 tubes just like Instinct but they’re hidden. But the dog must also go through the tunnel & climb a bale of hay before the time limit to qualify) While I was trying to get her to do something she happened to find a fly. Which in Nekora’s mind all flies must be murdered & eaten.

The second trial she didn’t move from the start box…. No amount of coaxing would get her to move…. I can’t help but wonder if she was looking for that fly…

Saturday we passed Instinct again although a bit slower this time & the judge commented how she was very subtle when she finds a rat.

Novice 1 class went a bit like this: Let me stand in the start box & stare at you. Oh you’re pointing out a tube for me to sniff? Nope, I stand. You’re asking me to come & sniff over there? No, I stand. Tunnel? Does this look like agility? No I stand. Oh you ask me to sniff the same tube? No I stand. You’re walking around whispering & pointing to hay? Nope, I look pretty standing here. Afterwards the judge told me the tube I was pointing to had the rat in it – I told Nekora that I was a better barn hunter than her.

The second trial Nekora actually decides to follow me around the ring. It took me forever but finally I’m able to point to a clump of hay & ask her to sniff it & she actually sniffs it. For like 3 seconds. I start to think maybe that’s a rat – as she didn’t pass over it like she has been. I point out other piles of hay but she doesn’t want anything to do with them. She climbs on the hay, she actually goes through the tunnel (without me asking!) & I have her sniff the original pile again. She sniffs it but walks away. Time is up…. & guess what? I failed my dog – she found the rat.
The first time she’s done all three requirements & I was too stupid to call it. I was so frustrated with myself (actually I still am).

Sunday’s Instinct trial is passed with an all time slow of 48 seconds! We almost didn’t make it! She sniffed one tube & refused the rest. I asked her to sniff the one again & she refused. So I guessed the only tube she sniffed & guess what, it was a rat!

Novice 1 she went a round a bit & I pointed out corners & she only sniffed one spot. I’m so mad as I almost called rat but I wasn’t sure as she didn’t give her attention anywhere else. She ran through the tunnel. (She said F that to climbing on the hay). Time is up & once again no Q.
Novice 2 I was stumped – she was following me but giving me nothing to work with. No tunnel & no climb. After time was called the judge told me she’s extremely subtle as she walked towards the tube, stopped & kind of sniffed it. But then followed me. She said she wouldn’t have picked it up but since she knew that’s where the rat was she saw her cue.
So after 3 days of Barn Hunt all we got was our Instinct title X 3, but I learned a valuable lesson, working with a Shiba isn’t easy. Just because she goes nuts over wild, backyard rats doesn’t mean she’ll give me the same reaction towards sleeping, pampered Barn Hunt rats. She’ll give them a sniff & wonder why I was too stupid to pick up on her balantanly showing me the rat was right there. She shouldn’t have to show me more than once! & yes I did uncover the tubes to show her where the rats were & what she should be finding. She would give them a quick sniff, go off running around the ring barking & play bowing. So I think I might have to keep at it.

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Nekora’s first Instinct win – she’s now CH LeSand’s Karma And Effect CGC RATI

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