Mom’s been too busy to let me get to the computer, so I haven’t had time to update my fans about my first Barnhunt trial. After going to the clinic for a few hours and learning how it works, Mom said, “Let’s do it!” and entered me into a trial the next day.
We got there early, and Mom told me the first thing would be called an Instinct Test. In that test, they put out three tubes I could see, lined up in a row, and I was supposed to go in and show Mom which one had the rat. One was empty and one had used rat bedding (yucky!), and I was not supposed to waste time on those.
When I went into the ring, the gate was really squeaky, and it was a little unsettling, so I had to keep an eye on it. Mom had me go around the bales of straw, and showed me where the tubes were. I wasn’t really very interested because it’s not like it’s hard to find the tube with the rat when it’s sitting out there in the open, not under any straw. Still, she asked me to show her the rat, so I walked by, sniffed one of the tubes, and walked away. She called me back, but I was still watching the scary gate, so I didn’t want to go back. Since we only had 60 seconds to pass the test, Mom called, “rat” and pointed to the correct tube. I had passed the Instinct Test and had a new title (RATI).
Next I was in the Novice ring. After hanging out in the “blind” (again) with the other dogs so that we couldn’t see where the judge put the rat tube, we were called over to a different ring. A couple of dogs before me had sent pee-mail in the ring which is a BIG no-no, so Mom was watching me really closely. She knows I like to respond to pee-mail, but she told me I could do that later. Anyway, I went straight through the tunnel made out of straw (“tunnel”) and climbed on the bales (“climb”), and Mom wanted me to come sniff the piles of straw to show her where the rat was. I really like tunnels, so I decided to go through it again before I checked for the rat. Then I did a little walk through, but nothing smelled good, so I went through the tunnel again. Mom said, “Come on, Handsome, we need to find the rat,” and I can’t resist when she calls me Handsome, so I went over and sniffed one of the piles of straw and walked away. Mom called “rat,” and I was right again! I even took first place!
After a few minutes, it was back to the blind, then back to the ring. We did a similar process with the climb and three runs through the tunnel, and then I sniffed the spot where the rat was, so Mom called it. Even though I had lots of time, I was finished in 32 seconds. I got first place again AND I had the fastest time in my Novice level, so I got a giant ribbon for that and a cool medal (pictured above) for getting a double Q (two qualifying scores the same day). I beat all those terriers and hunting dogs. I do have a super sniffer, and because Mom trusts me when I show her where the rat is, we are a good team. She said some other teams didn’t trust each other was much as we do, and she’s proud of me.
I like it when Mom is proud. The ribbons are a little silly, but they seem to make Mom happy, especially those blue ones and the giant ones. Mom said that since I seemed so happy to sniff for rats, we’d keep doing Barnhunt and that I could probably even earn more titles in it. I only need one more Q for my RATN (Novice) title, so I should be able to do that as soon as we have time to enter another trial.
For now, it’s back to Nosework classes and gearing up for my next agility trial which is next month. No rest for Handsome!