I have and it is tons of fun! It’s one of the few things I can do with Nala because of her bad front. My two were a little timid at first but picked it up. I went with Indie and her three were maniacs! It was so fun to watch. Seems to work best with a mid-drive dog who will take their time and use their nose. Higher drive dogs need to learn to slow down and sniff out the rats rather than just run around crazy and lower drive dogs need encouragement to point out the rats and alert to them. But it is tons of fun for sure and a great way to bond and work with any dog!!!
Oh very cool! I am super excited. Stormy is a bit timid in crowds, so she may take some time to train. Mocha is my high prey drive dog that will need to be the one to slow down. Lol. Wish you were closer. It would be fun to have someone to go with.
Been doing barn hunts for a couple of years with Michaela. Are you entered in Instinct, or Novice or both? I started by entering Michaela in the Instinct test (she passed), then tried Novice where neither of us had a clue what we were doing and I called the wrong tube. I asked around at the trial and found a local lady who gave classes for beginners and practices for the experienced teams, that was a big help. We’re in Masters now.
I’m sure you’ve read the rules (and your judge will go over the basics at the briefing), but, make sure you don’t have a cell phone in the ring or in the blind (at the last trial I was in, a novice competitor had a qualifying run until a friend outside the ring handed her back her cell phone just before she exited. Automatic NQ. Another competitor forgot she had her cell phone in her back pocket. NQ’ed a qualifying run.)
Be sure to hand your leash/collar to the gate steward (don’t throw on the ground).
You can have treats in the blind but not in the ring.
When you’re in the blind, you can’t talk to passers by.
Don’t touch your dog or a straw bale (or step over a bale) except when retrieving the rat tube or restraining your dog after finding the rat.
Bring a sheet to cover your crate, especially at an indoor trial where crating space is usually at a premium.
Volunteer - barn hunts are always looking for volunteers, you can learn a lot, and usually get a free lunch, too.
Potty your dog before entering the blind!
Have fun and don’t forget to praise your dog (even if they don’t find the rat, the judge will show you where the rat is hidden so your dog has a positive experience before leaving the ring.)
Barn Hunt is loads of fun. It is best to practice, just as with any sport. In Barn Hunt, it is mostly about your learning to read your dog's indication. You can try Instinct and/or some events offer an introduction to the rat for first-timers. Some dogs are initially nervous about the tube(s). Mine saw her first tube on a hard floor and the rat decided to go for a stroll.
This is Elsie's second encounter:
Two of the tubes are empty. She is being rewarded for responding to the tube with Pepper the Rat inside. Another dog we watched used a paw indication (very clear) and Else heard me talk about it. My friend notied El paying attention to what I was watching so she was ready just in case El offered a paw indication.