Sunday was not successful for us, but certainly a learning experience.
Sunday - Trial 1
had a restless nights sleep and was a bit whiny and demanding on
Sunday. Our first search wasn't until close to noon, so I took her for a
2 mile walk. Despite the nice outing, she continued to whine a lot and was yodeling whenever I
stuck my head out of the building to listen to her. Fortunately she was first in her blind, so I hoped
she'd do well and hoped the chance to search would make her happy.
found one rat and then did the tunnel. Then she found another rat and
did the tunnel. She moved out and searched briefly and then was moving
toward me and I turned to go with her, and she did the tunnel again. I
took this as her way of saying she was done searching. I called it and
there was another rat. As the judge started to show me where the third
rat was, we turned to see Gimme was right at it.
hindsight, when she was coming toward me and I turned to go with her, I
was kinda moving toward the tunnel opening and if my hand swung out at
all, she may have thought I was motioning toward it. I don't know, but
its possible. I think what I should have done was to move her away from
the tunnel and to encourage her to search elsewhere. Had I done so, in
this case I would have taken her right to the pile where the third rat
Sunday - Trial 2
the time of the afternoon run, to me Gimme seemed stressed.
Naturally we were fifth in the blind - which means a 30-40 minute wait.
The blind was actually pretty roomy for a covered blind (a long covered
walkway) and I chose to stay out in the covered entry, to give her more
space from the other dogs until there were less of them in the blind. I was
working her on her matt and she was doing good. I was hoping she'd be
able to focus and search.
While I was rewarding her on her matt, a
competitor who is a barn hunt judge and knows she is reactive, walked by us with her dog. She was so close her coat brushed against mine and her Manchester was only a foot from Gimme! I just about
had a coronary, but didn't have time to go with it because I was too
busy rewarding Gimme's good behavior with a lot of peanut butter. I
know she had to see the dog coming, so I have no clue why she didn't
react. Still the moment, despite her success, added enough stress so
she wasn't able to even work her matt again. In hindsight, I should
have done the Ping-Pong game to burn off some energy.
we went in the ring and she found a rat, then did a tunnel. Then found
another rat, then did another tunnel. Then indicated another tube,
which I called, but it was not a rat tube. I think she was trying
really hard to give me what, in the moment, she thought I wanted. When she's stressed, I know she doesn't always think clearly (who does?). As we
walked out of the ring, several people complimented me on her
enthusiasm and how much they love watching her. She is fun to watch,
but I'm still always amazed that people don't see her stress. She
stresses up, so becomes more active. And, of course, her tail is
wagging. I discovered long ago that a wagging tail only means
she is having an emotion; it doesn't give any information about the nature of the emotion.
thinking it was too much to have two trials (and particularly barn
hunt) on consecutive weekends. Barn hunt is more stressful because of
the blind situation. This blind was well set up, but it was still just
too much accumulated stress. Because it was an enclosed space, it
probably felt closer than the same spacing outdoors. I think she can
handle the blind one or two times, but each time the stress continues to
accumulate. I saw a distinct difference between Saturday and Sunday. With all we've been doing and coming from a barn hunt
trial the prior weekend, I think she's just had too much piling up and didn't have enough time for it to dissipate, so by Sunday this weekend, she started the day tense. It sure didn't help to have the other exhibitor be so
thoughtless and inconsiderate (if she didn't care about Gimme, you would
think she'd care more about her own dog). In the future I will look closer at how
many events and what kind and probably will not do more than one barn
hunt trial per month (certainly not two weekends in a row) and possibly
only one day of trialing during the winter when blinds will be
Of course, I still have the best dog ever...