A barn hunt lesson with a canine instructor? What in the world is Mom up to now? She has visions for writing, photography, and believe it or not, for dog sports. Since Olivia didn’t have class this week, Mom thought a lesson with her big sister Madison, me, would be really helpful. I’m in Masters, so I know a lot about barn hunt, and now I am a canine instructor for Olivia.
Next week Olivia starts a new barn hunt class for dogs at novice and open levels. She will need to tunnel, climb, tell a rat tube from litter, and actually find the rat in a short amount of time. What better way to learn than by example, thought my mom. Olivia thinks I’m the coolest hound on the planet, and she imitates me all the time.
We started our hour of time with about five minutes of both of us in the ring with no rats. I’ve never been in the ring without a rat, so I was searching my heart out looking for at least one rat, climbing and tunneling. Olivia was always right behind me. She did novice and open tunnels with no hesitation, and she climbed way up high, and got back down properly without a big leap. It was good for her to be able to explore the ring, and do a lot of fun sniffing with no pressure.
Next, Mom took turns letting us each search at our level of competition. Olivia plans on entering a novice trial three days after she turns six months old the end of September, so she is looking for one rat. There is also a litter tube and a blank tube in the ring that she needs to ignore. The rat could be on the ground, or up on a bale.
It’s important for young pups to not have complex problems that are frustrating. Fun is the name of the game for now. The first rat was on the ground, pretty much straight off the start box. Olivia went to the litter tube first, but left it right away, and went to the rat.
As the hour went by, and she had more turns, she started to focus more on the rat than sniffing the bales. She even did tunnels for Mom, which is huge. The tunnels in barn hunt can be scary for dogs because they are small, often long, and dark. Mom’s plan of a barn hunt lesson with me as the canine instructor seems to have been right on.
We were also careful to not run Olivia too much. It would not be good if she was worn out, and felt like the game wasn’t fun any more. In between her searches, I worked on my searches with one to five rats. It was a lot of fun as it always is!
The hour barn hunt lesson was a lot of fun, and it was really successful. Mom is confident Olivia is ready for her new class next week. I also did really well finding my rats. Not all of Mom’s ideas are winners, but she does come up with a lot of interesting ones, and this one worked just as we had all hoped!
PS: Before you ask, where is Bailie, she stayed home. Mom is giving her a break from barn hunt. The past nine months or so, she has had no interest in it. After a break until winter, she may give it a try again. An eager puppy shouldn’t learn from a dog who is not interested in the sport.