Wow, what a weekend. I was determined to stay upbeat no matter what happened. I try to stay positive, still I was considering the possibility our successes from last weekend might be a fluke. Clearly it wasn't a fluke, since Gimme continued to do well consistently. She is now a barn hunt Master (RATM).
Saturday - Trial 1
Gimme was enthusiastic and busy. She ran around, found two rats, tunneled, snooped some, tunneled again and then found another rat (for 3 total). I took her on a tour around the ring, suggesting places she could "check it" and got a definite impression she was humoring me. So I called it and after a bit of hemming and hawing, Wally Quinn said "Congratulations". This gave us our fourth leg. Five dogs qualified in large master class and there are more really experienced competitors down here, so Gimme's run time of 3:54 wasn't fast enough for a placement. I was just thrilled to know last weekend wasn't a fluke.
Saturday - Trial 2
I had a couple of concerns about our afternoon run. After our morning run I took her for a very long walk and she had some really bad diarrhea. I don't know what caused it and her attitude seemed good, but I still worried it might affect her hunting. Then when we got to the blind, right before it was our turn, I took her outside to pee, but she didn't. This is our usual pattern and it usually works to make sure she doesn't go in the ring. I need not have worried, Gimme again did well.
Lately I've noticed she has taken to doing the tunnels on her own. I used to use her willingness to do the tunnel on cue as a sign she might be done finding rats. There was a brief period where she wasn't doing tunnels easily and so I starting making a much bigger deal of them. I always praise her with an excited "woo hooooo". Now I'm seeing a pattern where she'll find a rat or two and then when she doesn't find one, she's doing the tunnel on her own. I think its because she wants the reinforcement when finding rats slows down. So this is something I'll be watching - just in case she starts doing too many tunnels. Of course, it still provides a gauge of how many rats might be left.
So she found a rat, volunteered a tunnel, then came out and found another rat. I took her around to look at some other places and then she volunteered another tunnel.
I wanted her to check the top of the big pile. She'd gotten close to the spot, but not all the way up. So I got her over there and every time I motioned to her to go all the way up, instead of going up, she'd jump across in front of me to another bale. I'd motion again and she'd jump back. Here's what it looked like. Green arrow is where I wanted her to go, red X is where I stood and blue arrow is where she was jumping back and forth.
This happened at least five times and she seemed to be making quite the game of it, so I decided she must not think there were any more rats. With angst, I called it. I was right and this Q finished Gimme's barn hunt master title. Her time of 3:42 earned her a second place ribbon (beaten only by Dalmatian friend Bronco).
I bought her several pounds of ground beef and made her a "cake" for supper. She thoroughly enjoyed it and thinks we should make it a nightly thing.
I'll have pictures for you as soon as I find my camera. For now, I have a burning need to go snuggle with my brilliant girl...