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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Barn Hunt Weekend

On Friday we had just two classes, Crazy8 and Master, and then two of each on Saturday. We are working on the next level of Crazy8, 430 points to go, and still need 3 legs to complete Gimme's Barn Hunt Championship.

Friday Crazy8 - The blind was 10x20, but enclosed on 3 sides, so it wasn't as spacious as it could have been. Gimme was supposed to be the fourth dog, but we actually ran third. Despite her condition and the confines of the blind, Gimme did well. She was happy and focused during her run. She got 3 rats, tunnel (twice) and climb, for 50 points. Just 380 points to go. She doesn't get extra points for a second tunnel, but I always whoop it up with a cheery "Yaaaayyyyay" when she does the tunnel, so she likes to do an extra.

Friday Masters - The blind was the same, but with all five dogs and it takes much longer for Masters. This course had a huge distance challenge in the middle of the ring and an easy tunnel at the end of the ring, which Gimme did twice again. She found two rats on the edge of the distance challenge and then went around sniffing and such. I had a sense there might not be any more rats and said, "C'mon let's check the back side of this", heading toward the back of the tunnel pile. She'd been back there two times, but hadn't really stopped anywhere, so I wanted to give it a check before calling clear. I should've gone with my gut. As I started to move, Gimme stopped to bark at a tube. I did the whole routine of stepping away to see if she'll leave it. She didn't leave it, so I called "alert" and it wasn't. The judge said the two rats were all we had. I'm still trying to convey to Gimme that lying about tubes doesn't make me happy. The best Q we ever got was a time when she was running around barking and sniffing and barking more, but not sticking anywhere. It was really clear.

I'm very pleased with how Gimme is progressing with her ability to deal with being so close to strange dogs. I'd been noticing it at nosework trials, but they are easy compared to barn hunt. Now I'm noticing progress in barn hunt too. It's hard for her, but she's motivated to work through it. I think with our long history of never having an incident at a trial, now she feels safe and is confident in that environment.

Saturday a.m. Masters - The course was nice, but a little tight for handlers in some places. Gimme trotted around scanning and then did the tunnel. She found three rats in rapid succession, then started the walk-n-bark. I said to her, let's check these other areas and she came with me, but then went off and found two more rats. Since 5 is the maximum, I called "Finish" and we were done. Gimme got a Second Place for this run. This makes our 8th leg toward a RATCH. It's starting to feel like it's really going to happen.

I was looking at the blind tent and realized it just couldn't possibly be 20' long. I paced it off and it's only 13' long x 10' wide. So I'm even more proud of her ability to deal with the close confines.

After our Masters run we hiked to the car and I turned around to go back and see where we were in the line-up for Crazy8. When I was just 50 yards from the arena, I heard them calling for us. I turned around and hustled as fast as I could, but we are parked a substantial distance from the ring so it took awhile. I timed the walk earlier in the day and it was 3:15 one-way. I was making sure I had everything set so I only had to grab my treat bag and put a leash on Gimme.

Saturday a.m. Crazy8 - We were third to run, but this time Gimme was bothered a little more by the close confines. I think she really needs more time in the car to decompress. Anyway, she scanned the ring and then did the tunnel, followed by the climb. Then she got two rats. When I called the second rat, the judge said, "Yes - time", so it was close. With 40 points we have just 340 more to go.

Saturday p.m. Masters - Gimme was eager to get hunting. She did the tunnel, then found three rats in rapid succession. There was a bit of a lull, but she still looked like she was searching, so I called her to come with me to an area she hadn't checked. She started with me and then veered off to indicate a rat. She rapidly found a fifth one and I called "clear". This makes our 9th Master's Q, just one more to get her RATCH. I wished I could have done a day-of entry for Sunday, but I had Mommy duty and needed to get home for it.

Saturday p.m. Crazy8 - We were fourth to run. Since there was only Gimme and one other dog, I went ahead and took her harness off. I usually leave it on her, so if she does have a "moment" and lunges toward another dog, I don't have to worry about tightness around her neck increasing the intensity of her reaction. I was ready with a couple treats to lead her to the ring. This made for a much faster start. It worked well, so we'll be trying it again when the situation allows.

When we got in the ring Gimme immediately went to a tube and started barking at it. I went through our routine and she stuck it. I called "alert" and the judge said "no"! Gimme was just insistent about the tube and repeatedly went back to it. She finally came with me and did the tunnel and climb, bringing our point total for the run to a whopping zero.I really had to work to get her to search. Everything I did seemed to bring her closer to the tunnel and she'd zoom into it - she did a total of 6 tunnels. I think this was a sign of frustration - she just couldn't understand why I wouldn't accept her tube.

I did finally get her around to the back of the big pile and we were able to find 3 rats before time was called, so we ended with thirty points.  She was so insistent about the one tube and people do make mistakes, so I asked to check it before leaving the ring.  Gimme was super excited when I picked it up, but there was nothing in there except a small amount of bedding.  I thought maybe it was particularly stinky litter/bedding, so later I asked the judge if other dogs had false alerted on the same tube and he said "not really, maybe one or two".  It's just so unlike Gimme to be completely wrong, but something about it really convinced her there had to be a rat in there. 

All in all it was a really good weekend. Gimme qualified in 5 out of 6 runs. She earned 120 Crazy8 points (50+40+30) and only needs 310 points to finish the next level title. She picked up 2 Master Q's and so she only needs one more to earn her barn hunt championship.

There is a trial close to home in August, but I really want to earn our RATCH among people who've been there with us through the whole journey, so I will just enter Crazy8 in the local trial. I'll wait until Labor Day weekend before I enter Masters again, so I can hopefully finish there.

Late breaking news flash: Due to a scribe error, Gimme got an extra 20 points for her last Crazy8 run.  Given how many times she's been robbed of points, it's nice to have an error go in our favor for a change.