While we didn't do well in barn hunt (not for lack of enthusiasm), Gimme did great at the weight pull. It was really chaotic for me, dividing my attention between the two venues and running back and forth to make sure we were where we needed to be. I won't enter two events on the same day again.
Each trial she starts with a pull of 420 pounds, which is already more than enough for a qualifying leg (340# cart, plus two cinder blocks). For her second pull they added two more cinder blocks, bringing the pull weight up to 500 pounds. This is actually enough weight for her to earn points toward a weight pull championship, if she had the first title already.
Saturday - trial 1
We were loaned a harness which fit her reasonably well. On her first pull, when the cart didn't move as easily as her prior pulls had, she spun around and ended up with the harness twisted around her body. I couldn't touch her without ending the run, so since her legs weren't fouled, I encouraged her to pull anyway. Being a game little tomboy, she did. On her second pull, she understood not to get twisted, plus I stayed a little closer to her. Gimme was confused when the cart didn't move with the same amount of effort and just stopped and gave me a look, saying, "Mom, its broke." I encouraged her and she tried again and was successful in getting it moving. We came away with our first leg toward a title.
Saturday - trial 2
For her second trial, she did better than the first on both pulls and her improved time reflects her understanding of how to win this game. I was careful to stay closer and really cheer her on when she starts pulling. Gimme did a nice job with improved times. We came away with our second leg toward a title.
Sunday - trial 1
Gimme was really eager to get started and tried to lead me toward the building, when we still needed a potty walk. After I dressed her in her harness, she was very determined and dragged me in the building. I was able to set up the camera ahead of time, so I have a video of her runs. She did a fabulous job, with great times. You will see in the video - her tail wags constantly and she's quite proud of herself. This weekend's title is United Weight Puller (UWP), making 21 titles.
Gimme's titling pulls video
Other than the first 500# pull, where Gimme was surprised by how much more effort was needed, you can see her times improve with each pull, even as the pulls get heavier. The judge was really impressed with how she did.
So now I'll be ordering a custom fit harness for her and then we'll begin conditioning and training for heavier pulls. She needs to learn to lean forward and down into her harness to get the cart started. She could get 5 points toward a UWPCH for her 500# pulls. Since she needs 100 points, with $20 per trial, the title would cost $400. Obviously I want to get up to higher point pulls. Time will tell how far we will go with this - certainly as long as she can do it and is having fun.
Our barn hunt efforts were not rewarding. Gimme had a lot of fun and was very enthusiastic. Still she reverted to finding a rat, back 5 feet away and then barking at me. It makes it very hard to know where she is indicating. Both times we found one rat and then had a false call. I need to go back and review what I've written before about how we had this communication sorted out and then need to arrange some training runs to get us back to doing it well. When I was bemoaning our lack of success, Janet said to me, "You know, its really unfair to bring her out after a year away and expect perfection right away."
I replied, "Seriously!?" In all honesty, I know Gimme knows how to find the rats... its just the communication aspect we need to revisit. Still, she had a lot of fun. Someone described her barking as piercing - its not her usual low throaty bark.