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Barn Hunt - AJ earns 2nd and 3rd legs towards Masters title June 28,'20

Discussion in 'Schutzhund and Ring Sports' started by obbanner, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    AJ earned his third leg of five required towards his Master title with a High In Class. His run was 2:41 of 4:30 allowed.

    Master class is where judges throw all their tricks at you. It's the same course for dogs going for their first Masters title as it is for dogs going for their multiple Champion titles. Judges will put two rats very close to each other to see if the team will get both rats. The tunnels are long, dark with multiple turns. There's often a Distance Challenge where the handler can't enter an area until the handler calls RAT, but the dog has to enter it and search it. As with all other classes, there's dummy tubes with soiled rat bedding as well as the rats.

    We had a very difficult Distance Challenge. It was almost the entire length of the barn. I couldn't always see AJ on the Challenge if I wasn't at the far entrance. Handlers get a non-qualifying score if they touch a hay bale in all classes, so I couldn't lean over the hay bales to see what he was doing.

    Barn Hunt has a specified number of rats for each class. Novice has 1 rat, Open has 2 rats, Senior has 4 rats. Masters has 1 to 5 rats, but the handler doesn't know how many rats are placed on the course. He has to call CLEAR when he believes all the rats are found.

    AJ came on the course and worked like a maniac. He shot through the tunnel (required) and then went to work searching for rats. He found the rats and I could tell he was done, so called CLEAR, and it was one of the most satisfying runs we ever had.

    The previous day he earned his second leg. The tunnel was more difficult as it had three turns and was about twenty feet long. Our time was much longer, and we took over 4 minutes.

    Proud father and son. I haven't had a haircut since March due to the shutdown and I was standing under a fan when I was working as a rat wrangler in the earlier classes.

    A view of the Distance Challenge. I can't pass the mat, and the area from the mat to the far wall and around the corner is off limits to me. See the map below for the boundaries. I can observe AJ from where the picture is or try to watch him alongside the stacked hay bales where the judge and the rat wrangler are standing.


    Course map showing the first level of hay bales. The red triangles mark the prohibited areas. I can't enter them unless I call RAT, then I have to enter to retrieve the rat and exit immediately. (Ignore the symbols outside the black boundary. They're part of the software.)


    I'm working towards being a Barn Hunt judge and need to put in my indentured servitude hours at trials. The owners let me put AJ in a comfortable pen and he didn't mind being there all day.

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  2. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    That’s really awesome. Sounds like he really gets into it..

    How do you train them to just slow down and methodically work? Prob just time in and experience. I believe Ragnar Would go nuts and overshoot everything.
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  3. Ravenbird

    Ravenbird Notable member

    Wow describes it! Congratulations! This is like nose work, just hunting a tube of rat instead! The empty tubes that smell like rat but no actual rat are like wafting odor in NW, but the dog has to go past that & find the actual source. Also not knowing how many rats tests your knowledge of the dogs behavior. You guys are doing great!
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  4. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    That's awesome! :congrats:
    Tombstone? :spit:
    It looks good like that!
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  5. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    I love your breakdown of how courses work! Reading a rules book is a snooze fest... What a challenging course!

    Congrats to you guys and it makes me even more excited for Rubie's class to start up and we can test her nose out!!!
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  6. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    It depends on the dog. Anna is now retired, but she used to run wild on the course, but still found rats. AJ is a more deliberate hunter. The handler has to make sure the entire course is covered by bringing the dog back to areas not searched thoroughly, directing the dog up on top of bales he didn't cover.

    I had to teach AJ to indicate on rat tubes only and not on dummy tubes. A method that worked was started after I read an article that dogs can detect heat as well as scent with their noses. I made three practice tube. I put a piece of microwaved hot dog in one tube and put that tube with the other tubes. That trains AJ to look for both heat and odor. When AJ paws the tube with the hot dog, I open it and give him the hot dog. He hasn't called a dummy tube since I started doing that.

    Sometimes a rat is noisy in the tube. It will sing or will be noisy chewing something.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  7. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Yes, the odor travels and can mislead the dog. When AJ is fixated on an area that I suspect doesn't have a rat because he's not indicating, I look to see if an odor could be coming from someplace else.

    I like barn hunt because of the teamwork. We really have to do our own jobs. The handler must let the dog work and not interfere. As a rat wrangler, I see many handlers and the ones who over control their dog often call the dog off just when he's about to find a rat. I find myself wanting to tell them to keep their mouths shut and let the dog work!
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  8. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I agree. Very youthful!
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  9. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    I joke that I was a yuppie when my contemporaries were hippies, so now I'm going through my hippie phase! :D
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  10. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    I agree that reading the rules is boring. I started knowing just enough of the rules to keep from doing stupid NQs. Then the more I got into it and participated in handler chat, I learned the nuances.

    Knowing the rules is critical in dog sports as well as other sports. A handler who didn't know the rules made her course more difficult for the dog last weekend because she didn't hold the dog to allow me to pick up the rat tube. She held the dog while I approached, then released the dog and moved away to hunt for more rats before I picked up the tube. So the rat tube had to stay on the course and the dog kept coming back to it which both wasted time and likely detrained her dog.

    My favorite example because it's easy to explain of how knowing the rules can help you even if you think you failed is in Obedience. In the Recall, your dog comes to FRONT. The judge tells you to FINISH, you give the command and the dog just sits there looking at you. If you don't know the rules, your instinct is to make the dog finish the exercise and you give a second command so the dog goes to heel, and you NQ. But the rule says if you keep your mouth shut, you'll get a substantial point deduction and still qualify.
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  11. Panama

    Panama Hot Topics Subscriber

    AWESOME! Congratulations.
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  12. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    Good work as always! Is there a wound on AJ’s front right leg?
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  13. obbanner

    obbanner $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Thank you! AJ has a licking granuloma. He's seeing the vet tomorrow because it grew very big recently. It's the bane of my existence. It was almost healed this Spring, too.

    He wears a muzzle when I can't watch him. He'll chew off and eat his bandage if I don't keep a close eye on him. Dogs with bandages can't run in Barn Hunt, so it was off during the trials.
    • Empathetic Empathetic x 1

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