Or: Can a Human Earn A Leg in a Barn Hunt Trial?
I love His Redness. He’s clever, he’s energetic, and if he were a small dog, he’d most likely be an Affenpinscher – loyal, fearless, clever, endlessly entertaining & amusing. He’s also a teenaged boy.
At least, I’m hoping (counting on?) this……
We entered Barn Hunt trials at Eva Razcka’s Central Bark in Central Square, NY. I love Eva’s trials because they’re well organized, running smoothly & quickly. Great food and great camaraderie to boot.
Toka has had a checkered career in his barn hunt efforts. The first weekend, he had zero results in the first day of trials, then ended up with two first place finishes.
We’ve practice since then, at home, and at 2 other locations, at friends’ houses. He’s *rocked* his mock trials, eagerly searching and indicating the rats. He’s been focused, enthusiastic, and accurate. I had great hopes for this weekend.
Yesterday we had two trials at Central Bark. Novice trials require the dog to go through a tunnel made of straw bales, climb (all 4 feet) on one bale, and find one rat in two minutes.
Trial 1: He tunneled and climbed. Did not hunt. We timed out.
Trial 2: He climbed onto a bale of hay. He surveyed his kingdom. I tried to engage him and get him to search, and then aborted. I did not want him to continue in his non-effort, thereby reinforcing his reluctance to work.
It was hot yesterday, and we didn’t get into the ring until after 2, so I thought ‘well, perhaps because it’s late & he’s tired and hot, he’s not motivated.’
Driving to Central Square today, I thought that if Toka was indifferent to his trials today I decided if he acted the same as he did yesterday, I’d scratch him from the rest of this weekends trials.
Toka was bouncy & excited because it was early and cooler. We entered the ring.
He had more energy, but no willingness to hunt. The tunnel was right in front of the start box (thanking the judge for that!) so he did tunnel.
He moved around the ring, clearly not hunting. I engaged him, and he wanted to play, even taking my arm in his mouth as he does when he’s happy. He knows his hand touch cue well enough to get his climb. He likes climbing enough to have clambered up a structure 2 bales high.
From his vantage point, he looked at the scribe and the woman sitting next to her. And….
That’s it. At one point while he was walking around he had glanced at a tube that was near his feet. This thought popped into my head: “There are 3 tubes. I have a 33.3% chance of picking the right tube.”
So I called it.
I really expected judge Karen Cummings to say ‘sorry!’
But my bet paid off! I am now saying “I earned a barn hunt leg.” And we earned his novice Barn Hunt title.