I should have packed the car Friday night. I didn't and that meant getting up early to get everything loaded - crates, treats, water, bowls, leashes, harnesses, towels, first aid kits. The dogs definitely have more stuff than the humans! We hit the road just before 7 a.m. Carson, of course, sat up for the entire drive, watching me intently with her little black eyes. Marley was calm and quiet from his position at the rear of the Outback. We arrived just in time for the judges seminar, where we learned the specifics and all the dogs were introduced to the rats - both in cages and in the tubes used during the actual hunts. Both Marley and Carson went nuts over the rats; it was hard to lower their intensity once they saw and smelled them.
I ran each of the dogs twice in the introductory event (RATN), which was allowed since it was a fun match and no ribbons were being awarded. Marley was one of the first dogs "up," and he was promptly disqualified for marking a hay bale. Oops! Carson didn't find the rat first time out either but, honestly, in both cases handler error (me!) was more to blame than anything else. In barn hunts, as opposed to earthdog trials, you can actually talk to your dog. Once I got the hang of that, both dogs did a much better job. They found the rats the second time around and had a blast doing it! They didn't have to climb or tunnel at the intro level, just release them and find the tube with the rat in it within 60 seconds. Four other terriers and their humans were there. We have known one another for years and had a great time.
|Carson works the rat after choosing the right tube!|
Barn hunts are open to dogs of all breeds and sizes. Besides our six terriers, there was a cocker spaniel, a boxer, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, dalmatian, wire-haired dachshund, and several other breeds. Perfect way to spend a brisk Saturday morning. Carson and Marley slept most of the rest of the day. I guess all that barking and jumping wore them out. I know it did me!