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Discussion Starter #1
So tomorrow morning I am taking Nix, my 3 yo to a barn hunt training class.

I have read through all the rules and stuff and know this isn't a test or anything, but I have zero idea what to expect.

He has never searched for an animal before. How do they "get the dogs interest" in the rat? How do they teach him to look for it? I mean I can tease him up with a toy and then hide it and he will find it, but I can't imagine they will do that with a live animal.

Also, are the tubes the rats in secure? Can he get his mouth around a tube? I am concerned for the rats safety. I love rats. If he get mouthy with the tube, can I correct him? I will not allow my dog to terrorize another animal.

Sorry. I am excited and nervous. Can't wait to see what he does and how he behaves and responds.

Thoughts?
 

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We've gone once, just too far to keep up with right now. Before I took Dell in, we would show her the rat in the tube, kind of tease her. Show her then pull back, then show her. The tubes are very secure. the helpers were good with us for tips and proper working the dog. They have to go through a tunnel, climb bales , find the tubes. Della was fine with all these, although she did not seem greatly excited. Maybe if we had gone a few more times she would have been more enthused. The group was great and wide variety of breeds. I was lucky and Della also was tested with sheep, she really rocked that test.
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No correcting for mouthing the tube! You want them excited about finding the rat. When Carly found the tube with the rat, she pawed it and tried to carry it off. The rats that our barn hunt people use aren't afraid of the dogs at all. In fact, the rats run up to the dogs when the dogs are shown the rats in their cages.

Don't be surprised if your GSD makes a perimeter run around the bales. Both of mine did, and our instructor said she sees the GSDs do that quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok so mouthing the tube is ok? There will be a rat handler, will they step in if my boy gets over excited? He would be cool with that.

So they do "tease" the dogs with the rats?

So first lesson. I am sure Nix will have no issue jumping on bales and stuff, the tunnel may take some coaxing. Would you expect them to "instinct" test him first on a rat, before?
 

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When we did it, we walked up to a rat in a cage so the dog could see it. That's the instinct part. Oh, also there were 3 tubes that the dog went up to - one was empty, one had rat bedding in it, and the other had the rat. The tubes are VERY sturdy. When Carly found the rat in the first course we ran, and tried to carry the tube off, I just praised her like crazy and they took the tube. They aren't going to let the rat get hurt, but your dog needs to give a clear alert that they found the rat. They also have to jump on a bale (all 4 feet need to be up there) and go through a bale tunnel. Carly was coaxed through the first time we did it, but on the second run through, I told her "tunnel", pointed, and she ran through it.
 

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Sage never did get excited about the rat, which surprised me since she killed mice. Apparently a rat in a tube is boring. Carly, on the other hand, had a blast.
 

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don't worry, the rats have a very strong union. LOL
every part of barn hunt is designed with the rats safety in mind.
They will show the dogs the rat in a cage, tease them a bit with it if necessary. Showing, hiding the cage, moving it around, trying to get the dogs excited.
Then, when they get to the tubes, the dogs can't be knocking the tubes down and around but in early classes the tubes are on the floor. They are very careful with the rats.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So Nix had a great time!!!

He had zero problem getting all excited for the rats during the instinct phase. Then we went into the search area and he had no idea why we were there and lifted his leg!!! So out we went.

Brought him out for a second run, made sure he was empty, and this time let him sniff a rat tube, then turned him around when they hid it.

And he rocked it out. Great nose checks, clear search and hunt, and very clearly indicated when he found the rat!! It was so fun. We did 2 more runs and he stayed focused and worked awesome!! I was so proud of my boy!!! He thought this was the greatest thing ever!!

The same group is having a "fun test" in a few weeks, so we are going to back for that and see how he does.
 

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Sounds like a good day. Yep, no peeing on the bales.
 

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I think our barn hunt instructor charges $4 a bale if your dog pees on it!
 

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I think our barn hunt instructor charges $4 a bale if your dog pees on it!
I never thought about this. I would like to do this with three of mine, but I think they would all pee on the hay bales. For the last couple years I used hay/straw in the yard and had bales out there and they peed on that, so I'm sure they would think its ok. How would I train them not to pee on the bales when that is all they know?
 

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So Nix had a great time!!!

He had zero problem getting all excited for the rats during the instinct phase. Then we went into the search area and he had no idea why we were there and lifted his leg!!! So out we went.

Brought him out for a second run, made sure he was empty, and this time let him sniff a rat tube, then turned him around when they hid it.

And he rocked it out. Great nose checks, clear search and hunt, and very clearly indicated when he found the rat!! It was so fun. We did 2 more runs and he stayed focused and worked awesome!! I was so proud of my boy!!! He thought this was the greatest thing ever!!

The same group is having a "fun test" in a few weeks, so we are going to back for that and see how he does.
Do you think there'll be any chance of this being in conflict with the SAR you do? I can picture keeping it separate from FST just by the overall difference in the buildup and environment. But for SAR, you think this could lead to any crittering problems?
 

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many classes allow you to take the dog in on leash in the early stages. and many dogs get so caught up in the hunt once they know what is going on that they don't think of peeing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, It would cause conflict in SAR. But I don't do any SAR with Nix, but I thought about bringing my SAR dog, and that's why I decided not to.
 

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Yep, urine, you're out! I love barn hunt. Did you watch the others run?. That is just as much fun. Sounds like you are hooked. Does your dog have a BH number already for trials? Get the instinct test done and then run in novice. You will move up to open in no time.
 

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Yep, urine, you're out! I love barn hunt. Did you watch the others run?. That is just as much fun. Sounds like you are hooked. Does your dog have a BH number already for trials? Get the instinct test done and then run in novice. You will move up to open in no time.
Yea. I am going to run in the "fun test" and see how he does and then sign up for a trial depending on that.

If I end up entering him in a trial, can I run him 3 times at the same trial? And if he qualified all three times does that count as the three legs? Or does it have to be on separate days? I know it can be the same judge, but I can find if I can do multiple runs.
 

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You can do more than one run on a trial. Say they have two trials in one day. If there are enough spots for runs at the level you want, you can run three times. If you Q on all three, you get a title.Then you can do a move up (if allowed) for the next trial on the same day. Just talk with the trial secretary. They can answer any questions.
 
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