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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're doing our first barn hunt trial in NH tomorrow! I'm super excited- Delilah has a very strong prey drive but I'm also a little worried she's just going to fixate on clumps of hair/dust around the hay bales instead.

I'm having a little trouble finding the instructions for barn hunt online. We're doing instinct and novice trials. I can find rules- like what's allowed and what's not allowed. But I'm having trouble finding what the dog's actually supposed to do at each level.

From what I can gather, in Instinct there are three tubes. One has a rat, one has bedding, and one has nothing. The dog just has to indicate which tube has the rat and the handler has to say which tube it is. Anything else for instinct? They don't have to go under a hay bale or anything in this one, right?

Novice- I'm having trouble finding information on how many tubes are used- is it the same as Instinct except they're just hidden? And in novice, does the dog have to go under a hay bale and/or on top of one?

If no one replies by tonight I'll just ask the people at the event tomorrow, but I'm trying to prepare so the sooner I figure this out the better! :)
 

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I've only dabbled a bit and gone to a few fun runs but...

Instinct -no tunnel or climb requirement (course has those elements and dog can do them but desn.t have to) . Iirc you have 1 minute for the dog to indicate the correct tube. Iirc it's 1q for the title.

Novice iirc... 2 mins. 3 tubes (rat, litter, and empty). Dog has to indicate the correct tube, climb a bale, and pass through the tunnel. 3 legs to earn the title.

Have you looked at the official rules? I'm pretty sure it all in there. :)
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've only dsbnled a bit and gone to a few fun runs but...
Instinct -no tunnel or climb requirement. Iirc you have 1 minute for the dog to indicate the correct tube.

Novice - 2 mins. 3 tubes (rat, litter, and empty). Dog has to indicate the correct tube, climb a bale, and pass through the tunnel.

Have you looked at the official rules? I'm pretty sure it all in there. :)
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Thanks! I've been reading the rules but they're about 50 pages long and a little hard to navigate so I just want to make sure I got it right!
 

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How did the trial go?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How did the trial go?
It went... okay. lol

She was so confused at first- we were sitting at the debriefing before the first trial and she was just staring at me because she didn't know what was going on. She actually did okay with reactivity- unless people came over to talk to me or she heard other dogs barking, she was pretty well behaved. And there were actually a lot of reactive dogs there so at least she wasn't the only one!

The first trial was her instinct test. I was holding her in the starting box and let her go, and I saw she was about to run over to start chasing the clumps of hair on the ground (which I've mentioned in other threads is why she won't pay attention in agility at all, also probably related to some OCD behaviors of hers...) so I yelled, "Delilah, let's go!" and started running towards the rat tubes. She ran after me and sniffed the first one, ran to the second and got very interested. I called "rat" and we were right! She got the fastest time out of the small dogs, a ribbon, and her RATI title :D I really had no idea how she'd do and was so happy that she found the rat instead of chasing hair/dust/shadows.

Unfortunately, the second trial we did was the Novice trial, and she didn't do as well. I released her from the start box and she went right to the fence and started chasing hair. I did EVERYTHING- I called her, yelled, clapped, ran around, looked like an idiot lol. She completely ignored everything I did- I couldn't touch her or we'd be DQ'd. I had been so hopeful and my dreams died right there. I was really frustrated and embarrassed. I watched her chase dust for two minutes until our time was up.

The last trial, I figured she'd do the same thing again but I figured I already paid for it and drove 3 hours to get there so we might as well try again. Nope, she did the same thing. I was able to call her away once and I got hopeful again because she ran towards me through the tunnel (in novice the dog has to do three things: go under a tunnel, jump on a hay bale, and find the rat). But then she ran right back to the fence and started chasing... things... again.

I think the judge noticed that I was disappointed and told me that once she "gets it" she's going to be amazing. It's the same thing with agility though- she would be wonderful if she didn't fixate on the hair/spots/shadows on the ground and ignore everything else.

Now I've definitely made up my mind to call a vet. behaviorist before continuing with agility or barn hunt though. If my terrier won't even go after a rat because she's fixating on these stupid little things, then there's definitely something wrong with her. I really hope we can figure this out because I got a dog to do things with- and if I can't train her because she fixates and can't take her places because she's reactive- well, I'm not going to get rid of her or anything but I didn't get a dog to leave at home all the time. So I don't know, we have stuff to figure out. It's just hard being online and in real life seeing everyone doing amazing things with their dogs while my dog is broken, after waiting so long to get one of my own.

Otherwise, it actually was a lot of fun and everyone was really nice. I hope we're able to figure out her issues and do this more in the future, maybe even start a VT team or club!

On the bright side, here she is with her ribbon! She's super cute, she's got that going for her lol.

 

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It's just hard being online and in real life seeing everyone doing amazing things with their dogs while my dog is broken...

It's funny you say that....I often feel the exact same way. I even say Chisum is broken in the regular. It's become a running joke in our house. :)

Do see what a vet says. OCD and anxiety can often intermingle and it's likely she has one or the other or both.

At least she had a good time though. Has she ever seen a rat? Seeing one move and then being able to associate the smell may help.

I'd love to get Chisum into barn hunt. His prey drive and sense of smell are so intense I know he'd be just awesome. Have to work on his general anxiety/reactivity first, though :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's funny you say that....I often feel the exact same way. I even say Chisum is broken in the regular. It's become a running joke in our house. :)

Do see what a vet says. OCD and anxiety can often intermingle and it's likely she has one or the other or both.

At least she had a good time though. Has she ever seen a rat? Seeing one move and then being able to associate the smell may help.

I'd love to get Chisum into barn hunt. His prey drive and sense of smell are so intense I know he'd be just awesome. Have to work on his general anxiety/reactivity first, though :/
I posted a video of her OCD behavior on this forum and on a FB group and a lot of people said the same thing about OCD and anxiety- several recommended Prozac as well.
I asked my vet about it but I don't think he knows a lot about dog behavior or mental disorders. He said the videos didn't look unusual and it just looked "like her being her"...? So that's why I'm going to hire a vet. behaviorist- they'll probably have more insight. There were two that were recommended to me- I'm going to talk to both and try to set up an evaluation in July.

I tried bringing her to a pet store to see rats the day before the trial, but of course that was the day all the animals were out of stock.

I know you've been doing a lot of work with Chisum, if you guys end up doing barn hunt, everyone was so supportive, understanding, and respectful of dogs that needed space. That was something they emphasized in the trial information and in the debriefings.
 

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Ha. My old vet said that Chisum was just "being protective". Protective of himself, for sure.

We're probably going to try Prozac at some time and see what happens. I have anxiety myself and I am so "meh" when it comes to meds. Trazodone didn't help him too much and of course my anxious mind goes to all the "what can go wrong" scenarios for both him AND me regarding meds and it's scary. But there are a lot of great stories too, so it's worth a try.

Unfortunately there aren't really any barn hunt trails near me, so we'd have to travel...which is fine, I'd just like to get him a little less anxious about things or the entire trip will be no fun for him. I thought about practicing a bit, though, maybe not with rats (I don't have rats) but with other animal smells...like chicken feathers or something along those lines.
 
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