AJ earns his RATCHX - July 17, 2022 and some war stories


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AJ earned his RATCHX in a two day, four trial event. That’s a total of twenty five Master Qs under multiple judges including his RATM and RATCH Qs.


Saturday the first trial was very unusual. AJ had the zoomies and for the first minute, I just stood there letting him get it out of his system. When he found the first rat, he hiked it between his front legs then started pawing it frantically. I didn’t want to get a stalling NQ, so ran over to it and gave it to the rat wrangler. We then finished the course, I called CLEAR after three rats and the judge said the course was cleared, but “YOU NQ’d.” Huh??? She said I didn’t call RAT before I picked up the first tube. The second run I called CLEAR after four rats, but there was a fifth. I took AJ back to the element twice and when he had no reaction, cleared it mentally. When we took him to the rat, he still showed no reaction until we practically rubbed his nose on the tube, then he lit up and went after the tube. It wasn’t a noisy or smelly rat.

Sunday was a great day – he got his RATCHX and a leg towards his RATCHX2. In the first trial, when I called RAT on the first tube, the judge called “RAT 2” instead of “RAT 1”. Oh, so there's at least two rats on the course. We found the second, AJ didn’t find any more, so I called CLEAR and Q’d. The second run was also two rats. We quickly found them and missed a REMX leg by a few seconds.

The trials Saturday started at 6pm and I didn’t get home until midnight. Then had to be back at 9’ish for a 10 AM start on Sunday. My tail was dragging a bit. I was sitting minding my own business trying to wake up and a handler I haven't met before sits next to me. She starts chirping that her dog does dock diving, FAST CATS, scent work, yada yada, and now she’s going to do Barn Hunt. She then asks if I ever did Barn Hunt before. I answered, “I’m the judge.” It was beautiful to see her face. But she’s a nice person.

An unexpected delight of being a Barn Hunt judge is I’m seeing things I never hear the equivalent of when talking to Obedience judges.

A handler with an ancient Lab was trying to get the dog to go through the tunnel and was bent over the Lab’s head. The Lab suddenly lifted it’s head and whacked the handler right in the snoot, giving her a Niagara Falls of a nosebleed. Hours after the trial was over, the handler posted on Facebook her nose is still bleeding a little bit.

The Novice tunnel is straight through about six feet long. A Novice dog wouldn’t come out of the tunnel – just sat down midway and was happy as a clam. I saw dogs not coming out of the tunnel in Crazy 8s and the higher classes, particularly when there’s a rat hidden on top of or next to the tunnel, but never in Novice or Open!

But this war story will live forever in my collection of dog trial war stories. A handler texted me the week before asking if a dog with stitches on its’ back is allowed to run. I was away from home and couldn’t quote the regulations, so told her that bandages aren’t allowed and I wasn’t sure about stitches. I assumed a growth was removed and there were a couple stiches that could be removed at the trial if need be. I then forgot about it. The dog showed up at the trial and it was Frankendog. The back and right shoulder were shaved and there were dozens of bright green stiches in an L pattern coming up the back to the withers, then going down the right shoulder. The dog ran under a trailer full speed and got sliced up by the license plate. Now let me think – NO, Are you nuts for even asking???
HUGE congrats!!! Wow, that lady with the stitches. Why do people push or rush their dogs???
Wow you two are really doing a great job! :congrats:
That's awesome!

Really - it takes the DPCA that long???
They take a very long time - at least six months. I don't even think about them. They just surprise me when they show up in the mail. AJ earned his CDX in May. If I remember, I'll reply to you when his DPCA certificate comes.