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obbanner

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Now, has he always been lax on indicating or only lately? So interesting to learn from this in a training perspective since he is highly titled in BH!
@Ravenbird - I saw your post after I answered Rits. This is why. We're working on rewarding him only after he gives a physical indication with his paws.

He was more aggressive on the tube before the Gabapentin episode. I told in detail earlier how he was prescribed Gabapentin for a licking granuloma and he mellowed out so much he completely stopped hunting. We're on the rebound from that incident which lasted at least four months. Note the four month gap in his Masters scores from June, 2020 to October, 2020.. He's back hunting again and is very good finding rats. He's just not telling me the way he used to. I'm working with him to once again give strong indications. He needs to work more than once a week, but I can't afford more lessons and my wife won't let me have any rats.

AJ Scores 2021 June.JPG
 
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Ravenbird

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Yeah, I'd forgotten about the medication phase he went through. He's certainly a talented boy and I'm sure you know what works for him in training. I was only commenting from my experience in NW. And we all have to remember what works well for one doesn't work well for all, "train the dog in front of you" has been drilled into my head!
 

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AJ was in rare form today. Which was very surprising because it's the end of July and he showed no enthusiasm when we left the house. But when we got in the ring, he was all business! Our first run, he ran all over the ring and found all the rats immediately. Our second run, he was still on lead and I was getting run instructions from my teacher, and AJ was pulling on the lead because he already found a rat!

I suspect it may be because we've been doing serious Obedience work the past month and we're developing our bond again. I haven't done much OB for months, but a trial is less than two weeks away and I'm spending a lot of time with him.

He was playing Peek-a-boo while waiting to go in.

rs_AJ BH 2 2021 07 27 Cropped.jpg rs_AJ BH 1 2021 07 27 Cropped.jpg
 

Rits

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AJ was in rare form today. Which was very surprising because it's the end of July and he showed no enthusiasm when we left the house. But when we got in the ring, he was all business! Our first run, he ran all over the ring and found all the rats immediately. Our second run, he was still on lead and I was getting run instructions from my teacher, and AJ was pulling on the lead because he already found a rat!

I suspect it may be because we've been doing serious Obedience work the past month and we're developing our bond again. I haven't done much OB for months, but a trial is less than two weeks away and I'm spending a lot of time with him.

He was playing Peek-a-boo while waiting to go in.

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I think taking a break from something and changing focus into something new then revisiting is a great way to get that fire from them again. They already know how to do the thing and are that much eager to dive back into it even better than before! Love his smile!
 

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I attended a Barn Hunt judges seminar last weekend by Sharon Webb, one of the first BHA judges. The first day was judgey stuff and the second day was course building. There were some things I thought important to share.

Barn Hunt Association is wholly owned by Robin. She has advisors and she is the final word. Any issues can be brought up to her. (Personal comment - There's also the BHA Facebook page where you can ask questions she answers and review the prior questions.)

Robin opens the rule book for comment and changes every three years. The last comment period was 2018 and a comment period will begin this November.

The application of the Scruffing rule is an issue with handlers. The intent of the rule is for the handler to not grab the dog in a way that hurts or punishes the dog. It is currently inadequately defined and too many judges call scruffing even though you're not hurting the dog. Scruffing will be redefined to clarify to judges when to call it.

In the ring, the judge is to be friendly but formal. This is to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

Don't wear any clothing with obscenities. You may be asked to turn it inside out before you can run. We were debating if you wear a tee shirt with Mother Fluffer on it if that is obscene. We decided it isn't.

We were warned not to be our own scribes because our job is to watch the ring. Some judges make little boxes on their maps to write the rat, tunnel, climb, etc. They take their eyes off the ring to do that and we were warned not to do so. It was funny when course building day came and one of the participants submitted maps with their little boxes on the map!

We were also given instructions on what constitutes training in the ring and also what the judge should to that they don't engage in it. One scenario is if a team is doing something the judge thinks they could do better. The judge tells the handler to do something which is contrary to what their trainer tells them, which could interfere with what the trainer is trying to work through. The judge shouldn't do that. But it is acceptable to ask the judge to meet during a break and give advice.

Don't make the judge think. We were discussing handler practices and if the judge has to think about what you did, you run the risk of a wrong call. Be clear and definite in your handling.

A judge can act on conduct only that which he has seen.

We discussed many ways of cheating. It usually takes two to cheat. For instance, you're in Masters and your husband is ringside watching the tubes being placed, then after you found the last rat, he walks away. The judge will suspect you're cheating. If the same thing happens your second run, the judge will call a hearing that will involve you both and you could end up with a suspension. Or if you're close to a rat and he starts taking pictures, that's suspicious. Remember, don't make the judge think.

The general reasons for terminating a run or letting it continue is to keep the dog a happy worker. If the dog makes an error by calling a litter tube, eliminating in the ring or does something else to NQ, the run is terminated. If the handler touches a bale, gets on the floor or does something to NQ, the dog is allowed to continue the run to enjoy the experience because the dog did nothing wrong. Runs are halted for safety reasons such as running with a collar or tunnel collapse.

It's important to keep the trial moving. If you want to talk to the judge, ask to talk at a break instead of in the ring after the run. If you start asking questions in the ring, the judge may ask you to meet at lunch or a break. Judges are evaluated on time management, so they are not being rude or inconsiderate if they ask you to talk later. If a trial runs long, Robin will inquire for the reasons. They often are legitimate, but if the judge is inappropriately spending time, that is not acceptable.

We were told not to end a judges briefing with the phrase, "Any questions?" because there's always questions and that will hold up the trial. Instead, end with telling the handlers the trial secretary has the rule book and, if the site has any information posted, inform them of such.

We discussed rat wranglers and large breeds. It's an automatic NQ if you drop the rat tube, even during the handoff to the rat wrangler. As you know, some people are afraid of Dobermans and other large dogs. If that describes your rat wrangler, you may run the risk of dropping the tube during the handoff because the rat wrangler is more concerned with his safety than grabbing the rat. It's your responsibility to make sure the rat wrangler has a firm grip on the tube because if the tube is dropped during the handoff, it's your fault and you NQ. This rule also applies when the nearest rat wrangler is the outside wrangler and you pass the tube over the fence.

If the dog knocks the rat tube and the tube lands on it's end, turn the tube back to normal slowly so the rat can get it's footing. If you turn it too quickly, the judge can NQ you. Judges are advocates for the rat was frequently repeated.

Judges have very different standards. We ran courses Novice through Master at the seminar. As a prospective judge, I was teamed with an A-judge. I judged the run and the A-judge judged me. We had an issue of double touching after calling a tube. The three of us had different interpretations of the rule. It came about because the handler (an A-judge) who was running her dog touched the dog twice before handing off the tube. She thought that was legal. I thought that was legal because I was taught you could touch (praise) your dog until you hand off the tube. The judge who was judging me thought that you can only touch your dog once. After the run, all three of us went to Sharon for clarification. It actually is one touch - if you keep one hand on the dog, you can continue petting even after you hand off the tube. So be aware that what you normally do can get you NQ'd by another judge. (I was actually doing it right because I'd keep my arm around AJ while I praised him, picked up the tube, then passed it off and continued the run. I do that in class, but because of the varied interpretations of scruffing, I never touch AJ in the ring.)

You are allowed to touch the four foot fencing or wall for support if the path is narrow. Some judges NQ for that, but it is legal. The judge's call is final and not subject to appeal. My personal recommendation is to write Sharon or Robin so they correct the judge for future runs.

Sharon talked about the origin of Barn Hunt. Robin went to an AKC Earth Dog trial and wasn't allowed to run because her dog Zipper (Miniature Pinscher) wasn't considered an earth dog at that time. Robin then thought about developing what's now Barn Hunt. If you read the rule books, you'll see how blind paths are prohibited in tunnels. That came about because Robin originally recruited Earth Dog judges. One Earth Dog judge did a forty foot tunnel with blind passageways and that messed up a lot of dogs. They got stuck in the blind paths and were terrified of tunnels after that. That kind of tunnel is normal for earth dogs because they can get back on track by the scent of the rat, but in Barn Hunt, there's no clues to help the dog through a dark tunnel. Robin said she should have recruited Agility judges because of that.

Sharon said never lie to Robin or you will get a lifetime ban. If something happens where BHA contacts you, tell the truth. If you know you were wrong, admit it and apologize. If you don't think you were wrong, truthfully tell your side of the story. Robin will dig to get the truth. You may end up with a temporary suspension, but that's better than a ban.

Because it's a new sport, things are being clarified and improved as we proceed. Robin will listen if she's contacted to improve the sport.

We were very lucky with the Covid situation. The county below the seminar was locked down, and the county where the seminar was held is expected to be locked down this coming week. So we were able to enjoy ourselves without the aggravation of masks. A coincidence was that the owner of the site knew about me from herding. I never met her, so it was nice to make a new herding friend as well as Barn Hunt friend.

If you have any questions, I'll answer to the best of my ability or refer you elsewhere. There was nothing secret at the seminar. There were some funny stories such as the time a tube fell apart in the ring and they were chasing the rat all over. After it left the ring, the dog busted through the fencing and continued chasing it. It was finally caught after it ran under a port-a-potty and the owner was bitten on the web of her hand when she reached in and caught it, dragging it out with it's mouth clamped to her hand.
 
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obbanner

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We had a great three days of trials. AJ did the Hat Trick and got a Championship leg all three days with a High In Class. When we started running in Master B I thought it unlikely we'd win High In Class again because we'd be up against dogs going for RATCHX titles. So I'm thrilled he got three of them in a row! Our best time was 2:45:10 and the other two were Last Man Standing legs, as all the other dogs NQ'd.

I was very happy with AJ on his last run. He knocked hay bales off the top of the tunnel so the entrance was blocked. The rules state that the tunnel may not be unblocked during a run. I remembered AJ busted out of the middle of a tunnel once when he saw a crack of daylight, so tried telling him to go in the other entrance. I then ran around to the blockage and called him, and he busted through the blockage to get his tunnel done!

AJ Hat Trick 3 RATCH legs Sept 17-19.jpg
 

obbanner

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I passed the Barn Hunt judge's written test last week. It was my second try. A prospective judge is allowed to take it only twice, so I was a bit apprehensive taking it my second time. Robin says it's a tricky test, but I don't think it's tricky in a productive way because some questions depend on semantics.

For instance, can you take a prong collar into the ring - true / false. True if it's a covered, quick release prong collar / False if it's a prong collar that has to have a prong pinched to open. How do you answer that?

It's a closed book test the first time and a question was how many legal tunnels are required in Novice. It's a closed book test, so I answered Only One. But afterwards when I read the rules, the rule book states At Least One. Now that is definitely semantics because At Least One falsely implies a second legal tunnel can be required.

It's 75 questions and you can get only 7 wrong. I got 16 wrong according to the program, but when I checked every screenshot of my questions against the rules, I had 6 wrong and 2 questionable (1 the prong collar question). My second try with mostly different questions, I got 5 wrong, most in General Knowledge, so the prong collar questions might have bit me again. (I got perfect in Course Building, then Advanced Judging, then Basic Judging and last in General Knowledge.)

The second test took me five hours and was open book. The first question alone took up an hour because I was trying to figure out what the phrase "two deep" meant in the context of the question, vertical or horizontal. After much time consuming rule reading, I realized the word deep is never in a rule about bales or rat placement, so I said none of the above answers were right. I don't get the answers to the test back, so I assume I got it right if the question was categorized Course Building.

If you know anyone about to take the written test, I'm very happy to talk to them. I found out some of the tricks the second time around.

AJ helping me study.

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obbanner

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Scruffing - when studying for the BHA judges test, I went as far back in Facebook's BHA Rules page as my patience allowed. If you know Facebook, sooner or later your fat finger will hit the wrong part of the screen and you'll have to re-start at the current posts. I actually got back to early 2018 once.

I was a stock wrangler at a herding trial Saturday and I was really struck about the differences between herding and barn hunt. I saw a dog seriously go after a duck and the handler grabbed the dog by the skin to stop it. I watched dogs sheep nip and hang on. All that was legal. (If it appears the sheep is injured, the run is halted and the sheep examined.)

Anyway, there were some posts on scruffing. I always say to hold your fingers wide when holding a dog and I assumed that people would understand that also includes the thumb. The posts below are from Facebook and the thumb appears to be the culprit in scruffing calls.

Scruff zzz0 Screenshot_20211005-212740_Facebook.jpg

Scruff zzz1 Screenshot_20211005-212827_Facebook.jpg

Scruff zzz2 Screenshot_20211005-212750_Facebook.jpg

Scruff Screenshot_20211005-214204_Facebook.jpg

Scruff Screenshot_20211005-214214_Facebook.jpg

Scruff Screenshot_20211005-214223_Facebook.jpg

Scruff Screenshot_20211005-214239_Facebook.jpg
 

Ravenbird

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For instance, can you take a prong collar into the ring - true / false. True if it's a covered, quick release prong collar / False if it's a prong collar that has to have a prong pinched to open.
Sounds like a very thorough test, @obbanner, congrats on passing!
Barn Hunt is AKC? And they are allowed a covered, quick release prong collar? Who can I beg to get this passed for Fast CAT? :scratch:
 

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Sounds like a very thorough test, @obbanner, congrats on passing!
Barn Hunt is AKC? And they are allowed a covered, quick release prong collar? Who can I beg to get this passed for Fast CAT? :scratch:

Thank you! Barn Hunt is a separate organization from AKC. AKC will recognize BH titles if you apply. See below. AJ has puppies, so I keep his titles up to date on the AKC website for their benefit.

Prong collars are a very contentious subject even in Barn Hunt. The Facebook pages light up when prong collars are mentioned because there's always some person who very vocally objects to them.

_AJ - Master Barn Hunt.jpg
 

Rits

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Sounds like a very thorough test, @obbanner, congrats on passing!
Barn Hunt is AKC? And they are allowed a covered, quick release prong collar? Who can I beg to get this passed for Fast CAT? :scratch:
Barn Hunt is its own organization. You can get your titles recognized by AKC or UKC. I believe prongs would be allowed on Barn Hunt grounds, but not AKC grounds. So if a barn hunt event was held at an AKC event, you could use the prong within the barn hunt "grounds" but not outside that area.

Edit: oop replying at the same time.
 

Rits

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Grats on passing! I dislike finicky questions like that... I prefer to be very specific so... wow! So glad you passed the second try! I would be sweating a bit lol. Do you have to do follow up training every so often as a judge?
 

obbanner

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Barn Hunt is its own organization. You can get your titles recognized by AKC or UKC. I believe prongs would be allowed on Barn Hunt grounds, but not AKC grounds. So if a barn hunt event was held at an AKC event, you could use the prong within the barn hunt "grounds" but not outside that area.

Robin is very definite about Barn Hunt grounds. If a facility has a rule in conflict with Barn Hunt, such as banning prong collars, the facility has to agree to abide by Barn Hunt rules and allow prong collars (and every other BH rule). All Barn Hunt rules are in effect on the BH grounds during a trial.

Crating was discussed. If the BH people crate on the AKC part of the grounds, the BH people must follow AKC rules. If the AKC people crate on the BH part of the grounds, they must follow the BH rules including the rules on bitches in season. There's a clear delineation of the BH part of the grounds. Last summer my BH club put on a trial for an AKC specialty club and it was very clear where the BH grounds boundaries were.
 

obbanner

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Grats on passing! I dislike finicky questions like that... I prefer to be very specific so... wow! So glad you passed the second try! I would be sweating a bit lol. Do you have to do follow up training every so often as a judge?

BH judges have to take a seminar every three years and be a judge of record for all classes once a year. Judges also have to take an annual test, but from what I've read, it's not graded, but to find out areas of weakness in judges knowledge. The AKC also has the requirement for Obedience and Herding judges to take a seminar every three years. Due to the WuFlu, the AKC has waived the seminars in 2020 and 2021, but they're coming back. A local herding judge was a bit distressed because she has to fly cross country to Idaho to take a seminar because the AKC won't approve anymore extensions for her. Apparently there's no direct flights from NJ to Idaho!
 

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