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I first found out about Barn Hunt last winter, and thought it looked like a ton of fun, as well as something that seemed like it would be right up Lena's alley! A friend and I attended the 2015 UKC Premier, and were able to see some Barn Hunt in person - at that point I was decided that Lena and I would definitely be giving this a shot in the future!

Fast forward a few months, and Lena is registered with the BHA (has a BH number), and we are tentatively planning on our first trial this weekend (Pending drivable road conditions).

As long as Lena actually likes it, and we pass the RATI, I'm hoping to get her through her Novice title by summer this year. :D
 
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That's awesome! Skipper will begin earning BH titles this year too if all goes according to plan. I'm hoping it's as fun as it sounds!
 
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Our first ever Barn Hunt trial was a blast!

Lena zipped through her RATI in 16.6 seconds, under a fabulous judge! Everyone we met was friendly, helpful, and super welcoming to us newbies. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0u0wberXm8

Our first attempt at a Novice leg was an NQ - but that was 150% my fault. I called "rat" on an incorrect hide - but the judge did tell us that where I called was where the rat was for the team that ran before us(so that's pretty cool - dog noses, man!!). After the false call, Lena was still actively searching, and was PUMPED when we showed her the rat tube before leaving the ring. We'll definitely be hitting up more trials later this year!
 
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Congratulations! It looks like fun! :D Also, Lena is adorable!
 
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Congratulations! It looks like fun! :D Also, Lena is adorable!
Thank you! :D
We had SUCH a great time, and can't wait to go again!

I want to do barn hunt with my dogs! I believe it starts in May at a dog sports centre not too far from me, cant wait to try it.
I hope you and your dogs enjoy it! It's so much fun to see your own dog work and really get into it - even more of a treat to watch some of the more experienced dogs go.
 

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How long til rat lovers ruin this for people? lol
I see the rats are well cared for though. What happens if the dog gets the tube, could it hurt their teeth? I think my rat terrier may have a fit if he didn't get to "get" the poor rat :-o
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
How long til rat lovers ruin this for people? lol
I see the rats are well cared for though. What happens if the dog gets the tube, could it hurt their teeth? I think my rat terrier may have a fit if he didn't get to "get" the poor rat :-o
(apologies in advance for my book-ish reply)

Rat welfare is probably the most important (and strictly monitored) aspect of the sport. Robin Nuttall (the founder of the sport, and the BHA) has always emphasized rat safety and satisfaction in Barn Hunt. No rat is coerced into "working," in fact, there are all sorts of personal accounts of rats practically scrambling over each other to have their chance in the tube! Once they're in the tube, most are content to just hang out, and some even take naps!

That being said, there are some places that offer "barn hunt" but are not affiliated with the Barn Hunt Association (have not met the BHA standards, processed a club application, etc.). Some of these places are simply waiting to get approved by the BHA, but others may be capitalizing on the explosive growth of the sport. There was an unfortunate incident that happened not too long ago at a training session for "barn hunt" but the training club had no affiliation with BHA. That being said, BHA and Robin addressed the issue and made the BH community very aware of what to look out for, and to report any squicky goings-on to BHA and they would get right on it.

My experience is relatively limited so far, but I've read that almost all of the rats are usually people's personal pets that are loaned out for Barn Hunt days. Rotation of rats is a huge deal (so none get overworked or too hot/cold/stressed/etc.), as well as safe handling by the rat wranglers and appropriate tube handling by the dog handler as well. (I don't know if you've read the rulebook, but appropriate rat removal from the course is very well defined, and emphasizes rat safety)

Unless your dog goes insanely nuts, I don't think they could damage their teeth on the tube, especially if it's a smaller dog - the tubes have a pretty large circumference. My dog is small/med size and can't get her mouth around it.

The reaction and motivation definitely differs from dog to dog. Lena went nuts just smelling/hearing the rat! In our Novice run, when she was shown the correct tube before we exited the ring, she started by just sniffing, but got so pumped that she went to try and grab the tube (she moved it, but couldn't get her teeth around it). I was at the trial with a friend, whose dog was less physically intense, but was pretty laser-focused on the correct tube, and actually froze and pointed at it as an indicator.

This is why learning your dog is an important part of the sport! You'll get to know their indicator (active, passive, vocal, etc.), and what their body language becomes as they catch the rat scent.
 
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