Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, and NE... 41 and counting...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Barn Hunt day 2

Sunday was not successful for us, but certainly a learning experience.

Sunday - Trial 1
Gimme 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.

She 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. 

In 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 was located. 

Sunday - Trial 2
By 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 butterI 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.

So 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.

I'm 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 enclosed.  

Of course, I still have the best dog ever...

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