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My Barn Hunt teacher hires a helper for classes and trials, Tim. Tim works trials from Crazy 8s through Masters as a rat wrangler and has done so for years. He doesn't trial or have any dogs. However, he's observed a lot and his opinion is valued.

We were discussing whether a very recent urination of a rat that leaks out of the tube can 'burn' a dogs nose. We were discussing sometimes a dog goes to a spot a rat just peed or finds a freshly wet tube, and sometimes seems a bit off searching for the next rat.

Anyone have any experience worth sharing?
 

Ravenbird

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We were discussing whether a very recent urination of a rat that leaks out of the tube can 'burn' a dogs nose. We were discussing sometimes a dog goes to a spot a rat just peed or finds a freshly wet tube, and sometimes seems a bit off searching for the next rat.
In nose work the emphasis is on the actual hide, called Source. So what might be lingering odor from a previous hide (your case the rat pee) would be called residual & the dog may want to alert on it, but you ignore the alert and encourage the dog to keep searching. I'm referring to training, of course, when you know the dog is wanting to alert on residual. There are all kinds of ways for them to smell a rat (hahaha) that isn't there, but the training would be to only alert on the live rat. The training I've had on nose work discourages blind hides especially for beginner teams so the person doesn't wrongly let the dog practice alerting where there isn't a source of odor, or in your case a live rat. Not sure if I interpreted your question quite right, but maybe this is what you are thinking? And also to say in Advanced NW training, some proof training could be an empty box that had odor planted in it, but removed and the box with actual odor in it just a foot away & the dog should pick the box with source, not residual. Fun stuff!
 

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In nose work the emphasis is on the actual hide, called Source. So what might be lingering odor from a previous hide (your case the rat pee) would be called residual & the dog may want to alert on it, but you ignore the alert and encourage the dog to keep searching. I'm referring to training, of course, when you know the dog is wanting to alert on residual. There are all kinds of ways for them to smell a rat (hahaha) that isn't there, but the training would be to only alert on the live rat. The training I've had on nose work discourages blind hides especially for beginner teams so the person doesn't wrongly let the dog practice alerting where there isn't a source of odor, or in your case a live rat. Not sure if I interpreted your question quite right, but maybe this is what you are thinking? And also to say in Advanced NW training, some proof training could be an empty box that had odor planted in it, but removed and the box with actual odor in it just a foot away & the dog should pick the box with source, not residual. Fun stuff!

It's more than a lingering odor. Sometimes there's a rat pee that seems to affect the dogs right afterwards. And the dogs seem to be 'blind' (can't think of a word for the nose) for a bit afterwards.
 

Ravenbird

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It's more than a lingering odor. Sometimes there's a rat pee that seems to affect the dogs right afterwards. And the dogs seem to be 'blind' (can't think of a word for the nose) for a bit afterwards.
So it's not making them want to alert on a rat being there, but something else? I know a "look" when search NW odor outside at a public park if a dog come across dog pee & they quit hunting odor, they become still and have a deep nose in the grass. It's a totally different look than searching and I repeat my search command to break it up. Some dogs wag their tails as they search, but when they get to dog pee, it will become still as they read whatever message is in the pee. Maybe the rat pee is confounding and awful & they are trying to figure it out?
 

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So it's not making them want to alert on a rat being there, but something else? I know a "look" when search NW odor outside at a public park if a dog come across dog pee & they quit hunting odor, they become still and have a deep nose in the grass. It's a totally different look than searching and I repeat my search command to break it up. Some dogs wag their tails as they search, but when they get to dog pee, it will become still as they read whatever message is in the pee. Maybe the rat pee is confounding and awful & they are trying to figure it out?

I was thinking about something I heard about decades ago in Obedience. I never heard anyone admit to doing it, but if it's joked about, there must be a reason. Handlers used to joke that if they had a dog whose nose went down in the ring, they'd rub Noxema on the nose just before going in the ring so they couldn't smell anything. That's the type of effect we were discussing, that sometimes a rat pee is so strong, it affects the dogs nose for a short period afterwards. It's like when you take a medication or eat certain vegetables, the odor changes and is stronger.
 

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So it's not making them want to alert on a rat being there, but something else? I know a "look" when search NW odor outside at a public park if a dog come across dog pee & they quit hunting odor, they become still and have a deep nose in the grass. It's a totally different look than searching and I repeat my search command to break it up. Some dogs wag their tails as they search, but when they get to dog pee, it will become still as they read whatever message is in the pee. Maybe the rat pee is confounding and awful & they are trying to figure it out?

What bait(s) do you use for nosework? Does it vary much in odor or strength of odor?
 

Ravenbird

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Handlers used to joke that if they had a dog whose nose went down in the ring, they'd rub Noxema on the nose just before going in the ring so they couldn't smell anything.
They use Vicks Vaporub in horses nostrils (stallions) in shows so they don't smell mares, so I can see the idea there. But when you read about the incredible sense of smell that a dog has, 1000's of times more than we do, I can see how something like rat pee might flood them for a moment or two. Asha will shake sometimes (like shaking after a bath, not shaking from nerves) when she can't find a hide. Like shaking off all the existing things in her nose/brain so she can start fresh. She does this often enough that I know it has meaning, but not sure what.

What bait(s) do you use for nosework? Does it vary much in odor or strength of odor?

Competition nose work (AKC and NACSW) uses essential oils Birch, Anise, Clove and AKC also uses Cypress. Basically you have a drop or two on a q-tip, pair it with a treat, the dog learns to find the treat smell that attracts it and learns to associate it with the oil smell. Take the treat away & they go to the odor & you treat them for finding the odor. (that's a very short version). It's very similar to how you would train on narcotics or explosives but those things are limited to law enforcement, so can't be used for fun & games & competitions. The organizations have their own scent kits and amounts (drops) to use in training & trials; they might differ a little, but not a whole lot. For "elements" in trials, NACSW uses Containers (like boxes), Interiors (like an office), exteriors (outdoors where wind could be a factor) & vehicles. AKC uses "buried" (underneath sand or water in a container) instead of vehicles. It's fun!!!!

For fun, Here's a sample of boxes in my living room last year. These were open, trials they'd be closed, but Asha was going through a stage of bashing boxes, so I was doing some backing up to basics here:

 

Rits

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Took Ripley to our "club" today to experience rats for the second time. Tuesday we stopped by before conformation class to get acquainted on cleaning and handling. The owner told us to go grab Ripley just to let her quick get a smell session in and heavy praise.

Today we set up a simple Novice tunnel so she wouldn't be totally foreign to it next weekend at trial. She blew through it like a breeze. I repeated that multiple times each way with reward after going through. She looooves agility tunnels so I knew she would like these too just needed that initial intro.

At the end of the novice tunnel we did an instinct mock. One litter tube, one empty, one rat. Heavy praise for even lingering on the correct tube. Then take her away and mix them up. She was starting to get distracted off leash with so many places to explore and other things to sniff unrelated to our mock ring. I really wanted to make sure she was understanding what I wanted of her so I put her on leash to keep her focused. Worked like a charm! She hit the tubes every time and got to rough house play with me (her favorite form of reward, jump/dancing) and some cheese. Once she understood what I wanted my husband hid the rat tube down low covered with straw. Then a bale high. Then in another location. You could see her catch the scent, one time she climbed 3 high and checked the litter tube briefly, then went right down to the rat tube. She hit the tubes all 4 times. I called it good there for the first session! Really happy with that. We are going back tomorrow, maybe my husband can nab some pics. Too busy focusing in the moment making sure I rewarded at the right timing! But excited...!
 

Rits

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I posted this in my thread but figured I would post here too.

Ripley earned her instinct title today! Hopefully we have better luck on our Novice trials tomorrow. Ripley didn't even know what a rat was a week and a half ago or what she was supposed to be alerting me to! She's been doing very well in practice in such a short time frame. On Thursday, for the first time I let my husband hide the rats without me knowing where they were and let her alert me. She hit every hide 5/5 times and hit them hard while ignoring the litter tubes even though she breezed over them. She's a fast learner!

New place and people however was VERY exciting for her. She hit the rat in Instinct hard, good girl!! Then she hit a litter tube hard in Novice (every novice dog did too except one dog and also NQ'd like us). Must've been some smelly litter.

The second run she decided to grab the pool noodle protecting the edge of the tunnel to carry around ๐Ÿคฃ. She outted it right away when I asked but I did not realize I couldn't touch it to gently set back on top of the tunnel, which I did. I knew I couldn't touch a bale or anything but that was something out of the blue I've never seen happen before lol. So I was informed at the end that I have to *try* to get her to out and leave it alone on the ground while continuing to hunt without touching it...prayers the confident, wanna have a good time puppy leaves it alone tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜Œ I know she will out on command but leaving it alone will be really hard for her. Lesson learned, even when reading all 3 rulebooks beforehand you still miss something and learn something new.

She had a blast though!!! I think with time she will learn what she is there for and that she's supposed to hunt rats in other places too!
 

Rits

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She is so AWESOME and I'll bet you will be brining home some ribbons in this venue in no time. Too funny about the pool noodle :rofl:
I didn't see that coming but NOT surprising at all for her. You saw Phoebe with the bat... Same genes LOL. I pointed at the tunnel and she went "Ooh! Yes, a toy!" Shes never had strangers standing there when she hunts rats either so she got distracted and gave everyone an obligatory sniff. I redirected her. She thought it was puppy play time really, especially with the extra space as the ring was set up bigger than needed so they could set up for higher levels I believe. She definitely stuck her nose to the ground and seeked out the smells, plus all the extra new smells of other dogs, another new factor I never thought about. Other dog smells on the tubes! Both of the rats were in far off corners...very hard for a puppy that wasn't super focused and slightly confused what she was doing there other than play! ๐Ÿ˜ When we took her to the rats she was very exuberant, head buried deep in the hay trying to pull the tube out so I just need to really wait her out and she needs to learn what she's there for with some more time. She was like this in practice too until I put her on leash to help her focus, then weaned her off of it.

Thanks for the support! I'm definitely feeling better about it now. It was rough to fail this morning but we have had a good week and Ripley had the best time in her opinion.
 

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Thanks for the support! I'm definitely feeling better about it now. It was rough to fail this morning but we have had a good week and Ripley had the best time in her opinion.

Congratulations on your RATI! Was the bumper not secured to the board?

You probably left before I wrote this, but sending good vibes your way for your Novice runs today.
 

Rits

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but sending good vibes your way for your Novice runs today.
Thanks for the good vibes! We did not Q BUT it was a big improvement over yesterday! Which is all I wanted and told my husband before going in. I will be happy with hitting rat tubes and leaving the pool noodles alone. She did grab BOTH pool noodles first run :rofl: but immediately outted on command and left them alone. She found the rats in under 30 seconds, didn't alert on one litter tube even though she breezed over them.

Her first run she dropped the bumpers inside the tunnel so she didn't want to tunnel because she wanted to grab the bumpers but I told her leave it and they were both blocking either entrance. Oye. Second run an improvement over first! She didn't touch the bumpers, yay!!! Found the rat under 30 seconds again!!! Gave the ring steward a nice nose bonk to the crotch. ๐Ÿคช Wouldn't tunnel, kept opting to jump two bales high instead of tunneling.

I noticed the tunnel is much shorter than ours at home so in this one she would've bumped her shoulders going in. I think our bales are taller so we will have to see if we can change them up as I noticed some at home turf weren't all the same size.

She got a little distracted again with the judge and steward but came right back to work when directed then I let her hunt without saying anything. I know she will eventually get used to people being in the ring and will eventually ignore them. I also know once she's shown she can tunnel these tunnels they will be a piece of cake! She looves the agility tunnels and the barn hunt one at home and opts for it all the time just for fun.

The guy that is going to put on classes in our unofficial "club" was our ring steward and told us good job today, that Ripley is a great hunter and said, in all his years barn hunting he has never seen a dog go right for the bumpers and try to play with them :rolleyes:. He said we will work those kinks out in class. I'm personally excited and can't wait to work these little nuances out! We had a lot of nice compliments. Everyone enjoyed watching her have fun haha.
 

LifeofRubie

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Ugh, those pool noodles!!!

One fell off the tunnel in class the other day, laying diagonally across one tunnel entrance/exit. I knew that if that happened in a trial, we'd have to work through it so I left it and sent Rubie through the tunnel from the other entrance and she burst right through it, no problem! Maybe something you can add to your training?

My mindset is, don't touch ANYTHING while in the ring! I discovered I was getting into the habit of physical praise with Rubie when she did a tunnel in class. I had to quit that immediately so as not to form a bad habit that could NQ us in trial :D of course if it comes to dog safety, you do what you need to to do and take the NQ but otherwise, hands in pockets!

In the novice runs I was watching yesterday, quite a few people touched things they weren't supposed to and NQ'd but the judge was amazing and used it as a learning opportunity for each.

Sounds like she really enjoys the game!! So fun when they WANT to play (hear that, Rubie!?)

how did she do in the blinds?
 

Rits

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Maybe something you can add to your training?
Oh yeah. We don't have a board just yet so no pool noodles so it was something new for her and she thinks almost anything is her play thing. Will be easy to fix now that we know it's an issue. I tried having her go both ways but each noodle was on either entrance IN the tunnel and she wanted to grab them, but then was corrected to leave it so I'm sure some hesitancy/confusion there because of having to tell her that Once we practice it shouldn't be an issue!

My mindset is, don't touch ANYTHING while in the ring!
Oh, I definitely learned my lesson. Didn't think anything of it when I did it honestly. My mind was on one thing, I didn't want her to destroy their equipment lol ! I should have trusted my training for out and leave it, but I was just thinking get the noodle back now. But trust your training!! Since today she outted and left it when told. I stood loosely back and watched, only touched her for praise for rat and then was VERY aware of my hands, even for tunnel.

how did she do in the blinds?
Little bit of whining and vocal yawns. She was better today, much more calm. I was afraid she would feed off of the new dog today. VERY excited lab, reminded me of Java. Ripley stood next to me with her head on my lap and stared at him calmly like "jeez, chill out man" like that wasn't her yesterday. The lady apologized and I told her don't!! That was sorta Ripley yesterday and they are excited to play haha.

Really happy with how she did for her first trial. Sure a Q would have been nice but the improvements made from trial to trial are positives considering we are currently training on our own with limited equipment and only 4x hunting rats. ๐Ÿ˜Š I learned a lot from the experience too! I'm happy to work these things out now and quickly learn from my mistakes.
 

obbanner

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No, just a slit cut into it lengthwise and placed over the board. Came off very easily lol.

Thank you!! Waiting for briefing at 8am. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I run at two facilities and both zip tie the foam. I was taught to do that for safety so the foam doesn't come off and the dog injures himself on an unprotected board. I never came across unsecured foam in either trials or practice. They have three holes drilled in the board, zip tie the foam and cut off the protruding zip tie ends. My club has a zip tie kit with zip ties and cutters so we can add or remove foam quickly.

BHA-FoamEdgingRule.JPG
I noticed the tunnel is much shorter than ours at home so in this one she would've bumped her shoulders going in. I think our bales are taller so we will have to see if we can change them up as I noticed some at home turf weren't all the same size.

Do you mean lower? Asking out of curiousity because the bales with which I'm familiar have the same height when stood on the side even though there's a lot of variation in length between lots.

Somewhere I thought I saw a comment about all the dogs hitting on a bedding tube. I was working a trial where a rat was mistakenly put where a bedding should have been. After the blind was over, the judge and workers commented on that and we discovered it was really a rat. Since it was thought to be a bedding, the tube wasn't picked up after the RAT calls, just covered again with fluff. The blind was rerun.
 
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