Barn Hunt - Love to Hunt, Try the New Sports to Search for Rats
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    We had the pleasure of attending a 2-day Barn Hunt clinics/fun test a couple weeks ago.

    You can read more about the sports background/purposes from the Barn Hunt Association's website.

    Day 1 is Clinics, where dogs were introduced to rats in a cage, then rats in a tube and ended with quick runs of Instinct test.

    This was the first time my two Shibas ever saw a rat.

    Koji caught on right away and realized the rats were prey. He nailed the instinct tests in the 3 runs we did. We went from a little bit over 30 seconds in our first run to 8 seconds of our 3rd run. I think he located the rat very fast all three times, but it took me a while to learn how to read and trust his nose to call a definite "alert" or "mark".

    Koji very focused in the start box waiting to be released to search!
    image

    Maluko was curious about the rats, but cautious. She was not too keen on a rat in a tube, so I decided to pull her out of the fun test on Day 2 and added more runs for Koji instead. I am sure I can train her to do Barn Hunt, but I will need access to the rats for training purposes. If I can train her to search for odor in Nosework, I can train her to search for rats.

    Maluko could give a rat's ass about finding live rat in a tube (pun intended), so she just chilled with me on Day 2 while we waited for Koji's turn.
    image

    Day 2 are fun tests - they offered Instincts Test, Novice and Open level runs. Since Koji did so well in Instincts Test on Day 1, I decided to start him in Novice and if he passed Novice, we would try Open.

    Koji passed Novice with ease. Not only did he got 1st place in Novice medium dogs, he also got the Fastest Novice Dog ribbon across all 3 sizes (small, medium and large).

    Koji and his loot attached to his crate, picture taken on our way home.
    image

    This is Koji's Novice Barn Hunt Fun Test run. You can tell how focused he was in the start box, ready to go. Once I released him, he went straight to the rat tube and he found the rat tube in like 10 seconds and I waited like 20 seconds before I called the "alert", so our final time was around 34 seconds.



    We had 2 open runs - he passed the first run with a 2nd placement among medium dogs. For the 2nd open run, I messed him up and called an false alert on the second rat while he was investigating, but he did find rat #2 later in the search.

    Here are some of my observations and thoughts to share with others who are interested in Barn Hunt.

    1. Try to figure it out early on if your dog is excited about the live rat, just the rat smell (there is a tube with rat beddings) or the empty tube (some dogs think the tube is a toy and get mouthy and excited by it). Note the differences in their reactions to all three types will help you better read your dog beyond Instincts test.

    2. It takes some learning on the human's part to read their dogs when they locate the rats. I saw several handler not trusting their dogs' noses and insisted that the dogs check out other tubes even when the dog was indicating very strongly on a tube. (beyond instincts tests, the tubes were spread out and usually hidden from plain sights). It confused the dog to be called away from the live rat and some just lost interests after that.

    3. In addition to locating all live rats (# of live rats depend on the levels), the dog also needs to do a climb (all 4 paws on a bale) and go through a tunnel. Many handlers try to get the dogs to complete the climb and the tunnel in the beginning or while the dog is still busy searching for the rats. It is confusing for the dog and not very effective for the rat search. I would suggest getting the dogs focused on finding the live rats first and if in the search process, the dog completes the climb or tunnel, then all is fine. If not, just direct the dog to do those tasks after the find.

    4. Many handlers kept talking to their dogs while the dogs were actively searching. It can be distracting to the dog to focus on the task at hand. I was quiet after I released Koji from the start box and focused on watching him search, his changes in behaviors and made a mental note of where he had covered. I only talked to him if he seemed stuck and wanted to instruct him to check out some other areas. If you constantly talked while your dog was searching, not only you would distract the dog from the search, you may also not pick up some subtle changes in their behaviors.

    It's great to have done Nosework with my two Shibas, so I am more experienced in working with them in a search and my ability to read my dogs. With Nosework, when Koji finds a hide, he would try to put his nose on the odor and then look up at me for the reward. I notice that with Barn Hunt, the rewards for him is the rats, so he does not look up. He is dead set on getting the rats.

    If you can find a Barn Hunt fun tests or trials in your area, I would strongly suggest you check it out. It is fun for the Shibas and no rats are hurt in the process.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1671
    Cool .....great pictures. I wish something like this was closer to us. Hope it catches on here.
    Snf
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3964
    Yay, this makes me extra excited for the fun match in April. Can't wait to see how Tetsu does especially since he has such a drive for rodents.

    @StaticNfuzz - Not sure if you are close to the border, but there are Barn Hunt events in PA and NJ, as well as a few other states somewhat local: http://barnhunt.com/
    image
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1977
    I think this is really neat.
  • oddballoddball
    Posts: 112
    Neat. I would love to try this once i have a Kai. According to their map there is one event only 15 miles from me. My other dog might like it but once she realizes that the rats are in tubes she probably give it up.
  • We did this with my Kai at a fun match (though it was really an earthdog event with a barn hunt as a side thing.) Leo was utterly uninterested in the rats. My friend's border terrier took to it immediately, unsurprisingly, and Leo was mildy interested when he got to see the rat in the cage.

    He was not at all interested in the rat smell, and took forever to find the hidden tube. He was much more interested in climbing and jumping on the hay bales.

    He was, however, super excited by the lure course they also had set up. I guess that's more his interest.

    Honestly, it's not the sport for me either. I ended up being kind of uncomfortable with the rat in the cage in the tunnels. The rat was super stressed with all the terriers going after it and I just thought felt kind of bad for the rat. It was an old rat, and I just didn't like the idea of it having been stressed through so many events. I was still glad to go and see it, though, and have the opportunity to try it.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • It does seem like it could be great fun for a dog, but I definitely don't think I'd let Zim try. So far, he seems to have decided that small animals inside containers are entirely uninteresting and I'd like to keep him that way. I don't want to accidentally teach him that my friend's hamster in its cage is just a very complex (read: fun) puzzle toy.

    Oddly, though, if it were an event where you were say, going to barns infested with rats and then letting your dog have at them to see how they'd do in a contest sort of setting, I'd be looking up the nearest event.
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3163
    Reilly would rock Barn Hunt- except she's probably too big for the tunnel- she's very rodent-motivated and has the stick-to-it-tiveness to seek (and destroy), Additionally I have watched her on her mousemissions, so many times that I know when she's really onto one. I KNOW Rei.
    photo Picture 3_zps4y5sotml.png Kai to the Core!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Reilly would rock Barn Hunt- except she's probably too big for the tunnel- she's very rodent-motivated and has the stick-to-it-tiveness to seek (and destroy), Additionally I have watched her on her mousemissions, so many times that I know when she's really onto one. I KNOW Rei.


    Barn Hunt is an above ground sports vs. Earth Dog, which is underground, so almost all dogs of various sizes can participate and enjoy Barn Hunt. How big is Reilly? I saw an army of Doby at the fun test we did a couple weeks ago and they all had no trouble completing the one tunnel requirement in the test.
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3163
    She's 26" at the withers...how tall is the tunnel?
    photo Picture 3_zps4y5sotml.png Kai to the Core!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Don't know for sure how tall the tunnel is, but Doberman is 24-28 inches at the wither and all 4-6 Dobys I saw had no trouble doing the tunnel.

    The founder of the sports has a Doby herself.
    http://barnhunt.com/about-me/
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3163
    Did the dobes have to army crawl on their bellies or did they just duck and walk? Rei is the one in my pack who would most find this interesting... :) I was thinking of bringing the kai kens, but I know Reilly is the one who is so JACKED for rodent hunting...I think Matsu woudl probably react like Maluko, but i guess you dont know till you let them try!
    photo Picture 3_zps4y5sotml.png Kai to the Core!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    I think it is more of a duck and crawl. The tunnel is fairly short, unlike an Agility tunnel and there are usually 1 or 2 what they referred to an official tunnel in the course that the dog needs to complete to meet the requirement.

    My philosophy is always give the dog at least a chance to try before I write something off. Before we went, I pretty much knew Koji would be interested. But since I would be bringing both dogs with me, it did not hurt to try it on Maluko either.
    Post edited by sandrat888 at 2013-03-02 09:12:12
  • cdenneycdenney
    Posts: 961
    Never having been to Nippo but living in a city with not much rural area and...barns...it would be cool if something of this nature could be facilitatee in Maumee during the Nippo downtime to test the dogs in other ways and our altered spectator dogs might compete in a way against their intact counterparts for funsies.
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  • WhoBitMeWhoBitMe
    Posts: 1890
    This looks pretty neat. I'll have to try it sometime in the future once I have an NK. :)
    1 Human + 1 Hokkaido
    RIP Amy (Border Collie)

    “Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
    But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
    --Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear

    "Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."
    --Brandon Sanderson, the First Ideal from The Stormlight Archive.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1732
    I want to go to the Barn Hunt near me in April, but I'm afraid of how TK will act toward the judge/strangers in the ring. We're working on ignoring strangers and he's pretty good at it now, but I'm still nervous (/overly paranoid dog owner). I think he may be more focused on finding the rat than on the people in the ring, but I don't want to set him up for failure. Maybe he'll be better by April (it is a month away, after all!)... but I'm not sure if I should just go as a spectator (because I DO want to attend!) or if I should try him out.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Koji rocked the Barn Hunt trial over the weekend, coming home with 2 new titles, RATI (Rat Instincts Test) and RATN (Novice Barn Hunt), 4 1st placements, 1 3rd placement and 1 high in trial.

    image

    He has the fastest time across all height classes in Instinct Test with a time of just 6.28 seconds and High in Trial in the Novice class with only 16.53 seconds. Koji is not flashy when he searches, but he is focused, on task and very methodical. Way to go, Shiba Koji!
  • WhoBitMeWhoBitMe
    Posts: 1890
    I think Barn Hunt is something I would like to try with Meitou. How old does a dog need to be to participate, do you know?
    1 Human + 1 Hokkaido
    RIP Amy (Border Collie)

    “Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
    But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
    --Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear

    "Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."
    --Brandon Sanderson, the First Ideal from The Stormlight Archive.
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    This is Koji's High In Trial Barn Hunt Novice run at Castle Rock, WA on June 1, 2013. He located the live rat tube (at Novice level, there are 3 tubes - 1 with live rat, 1 with just bedding and 1 empty) within seconds after being released from the start box. I trusted his nose and called the find right away.

    I then directed him to complete the required "climb" and "tunnel" to qualify. His time was a little bit over 16 seconds and the maximum time allowed for the Novice class is 2 minutes. He has the fastest time among all dogs and earned High in Trial with this run.

  • mdokicmdokic
    Posts: 1020
    Look at that SMILE! ^_^
    Michelle, with Kai girls Kona and Kimber
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  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Had a lot of fun at the Barn Hunt trial in St. Helens, OR yesterday. Koji got his first Open leg, despite suffering from an ear infection (will take him to a vet tomorrow morning) and won High In Trial Open Dog across all sizes (Large/Medium/Small). He was happy and enthusiastic hunting and we worked great as a team.



    There were a total of 6 Shibas at the trial and all did really well. Maluko still could give a rat's ass (pun intended) for rats, but we could work on it some more.
  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1990
    Good boy koji!!
  • and THAT is how you do it! Good job Koji!!
    photo Picture 3_zps4y5sotml.png Kai to the Core!
  • WhiteGC8WhiteGC8
    Posts: 256
    That looks like a ton of fun!
  • HeidiHeidi
    Posts: 3379
    This looks great! This is the kind of thing I'd like to try, but there are no barn hunts around here. Actually, there are no rats in the province of Alberta at all, so I'm plumb out of luck.
    Rakka 落下(Shikoku Ken), Sosuke 宗介 (Kai Ken), Hester, Stephanie, and Batgirl(cats)
    image
  • Koji earned his Barn Hunt Open (RATO) title yesterday with a 3rd and 2nd placement among the medium size dogs. He was happy and did a great job searching for the rats.

    At the Open level, there are 5 PVC tubes with 2 live rat tubes, 2 tubes with beddings (just the rat smell) and 1empty tube hidden in the hay bale maze. The team has 2 1/2 minutes to locate the 2 rat tubes (dog finds and indicates the find and the handler reads his or her dog and calls the find definitely to the judge. Any wrong call of a tube that does not have a rat disqualify the team). In addition to locating all rat tubes, a team has to finish a climb on the hay bale and tunneling (made of hay bales).

    We will be trialing at the next level - Senior, where there will be 8 PVC tubes - 4 with rats, 3 with beddings and 1 empty. Look forward to our next trial and I am sure all those rat tubes will blow Koji's mind!

    image
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 89
    Congrats, @sandrat888, that's awesome! :)
  • shishiinushishiinu
    Posts: 2336
    Looks like a ton of fun! Good job Koji, he hunts waaay better then my kishus LOL.
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
  • tarokuntarokun
    Posts: 152
    Koji rocked the Barn Hunt trial over the weekend, coming home with 2 new titles, RATI (Rat Instincts Test) and RATN (Novice Barn Hunt), 4 1st placements, 1 3rd placement and 1 high in trial.

    image

    He has the fastest time across all height classes in Instinct Test with a time of just 6.28 seconds and High in Trial in the Novice class with only 16.53 seconds. Koji is not flashy when he searches, but he is focused, on task and very methodical. Way to go, Shiba Koji!
    lol you can look, but you can't touch!

    come at me bro!
  • tarokuntarokun
    Posts: 152
    I'd love to enter my dog but she would splatter rats all over the place! And anyone else who tries to take that rat might be in trouble.
    come at me bro!
  • Dogs that nip at handler when getting the rat tube will get a Not Qualifying score, so this is something to look out for.

    Some of the dogs are big enough to actually carry the big PVC tube in their mouth, so it is pretty hilarious to see that in the ring. However, in general, Barn Hunt Association (BHA) is very concerned about rat care and strongly oppose any mishandle of the rats in the sports. In Instincts test where the 3 tubes are laid out in plain sight, the hosting club is advised to have something in place to hold the tubes on the ground, so that they do not get shuffle around by dogs. Handlers are advised to handle rat tubes generally when removing the tubes from the course, so the dog can continue to finish other elements (such as a climb, tunneling or finding additional rats at the higher level).
  • Over the weekend, we made an out-of-town trip to Dallas, Texas area to attend the Barn Hunt Judge's Workshop on Saturday and then trialed on Sunday. It is Koji's first time flying on an airplane and he did great.

    The judge's workshop was very informative and I got to meet the founder of the sports, Robin Nuttall and many other Barn Hunt enthusiasts.

    There was a winter storm alert for the area all weekend and I was worried that we might not be able to fly out, let alone to say that the trials may be cancelled all together.

    Fortunately, the North Texas Barn Hunt group decided to go ahead and hold the trials as Sunday morning, it was cold, but still dry. The forecast predicted precipitation throughout the day, with some sleets and freezing rain as the day went on.

    When Koji ran, the wind was blowing pretty hard and we had sleets and freezing rain, neither of which seemed to bother Koji's enthusiasm for rats. He had a blast locating all 4 rats (8 tubes on course, with 4 live rats, 3 litters and 1 empty tube).

    This is a video of Koji's first Senior run at trial 1. He was the only Senior dog at the trial, got the Q, 1st place and High in Trial Senior.



    He got his 2nd Senior leg in the afternoon trial, 1st place and also High in Trial Senior.

    Several people approached me later and told me how impressed they were with a working Shiba. Shibas sure CAN!

    If you have not tried Barn Hunt yet, I strongly encourage you to check it out! You can find more info on http://www.barnhunt.com

  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Koji earned his RATM (Barn Hunt Master) title on 3/16/2014 at the St. Helens' trial in Oregon. I also managed to have my first full judging experience that weekend, having a pretty full slate, judging 4 Barn Hunt trials over 2 days and close to 200+ dogs.

    This is Koji's High in Master Barn Hunt run from our most recent trial on May 4th. We need 10 more legs after earning the RATM to get a Champion title and are doing quite well for that goal. He was very methodical and efficient in his search, locating 5 rats in 2:14. It's always so much fun to work with him. The bond and teamwork we share is so gratifying.

  • WhoBitMeWhoBitMe
    Posts: 1890
    Koji was so fun to watch, especially in person.
    1 Human + 1 Hokkaido
    RIP Amy (Border Collie)

    “Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
    But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
    --Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear

    "Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."
    --Brandon Sanderson, the First Ideal from The Stormlight Archive.
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 225
    Koji was so fun to watch, especially in person.


    Glad to see you and Meitou at the recent trial too. Are you going to the one in Salem in June? I plan to do both Barn Hunt and agility with Koji there are in same location.
  • WhoBitMeWhoBitMe
    Posts: 1890
    Yeah, so far I'm planning on going to the Salem trial. :)
    1 Human + 1 Hokkaido
    RIP Amy (Border Collie)

    “Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
    But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
    --Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear

    "Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."
    --Brandon Sanderson, the First Ideal from The Stormlight Archive.

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