There is a new Master Rat Hunter in town! Last weekend was quite interesting, going from terrified to elated and all the emotions in between. Mom made a very bad decision to drive 70 miles to our Barn Hunt trial on glare ice. The Department of Transportation advised no travel, and even public bus service was halted. We didn’t know it was that bad, but it was! Normally it takes us about 1:15 to get to the trial but it took us 3:30, including going into the ditch three times. Thankfully we were able to get back out on our own. Needless to say, we were all frazzled when we arrived at the trial!
Shortly after arriving and getting our kennels set up, I was up for my first Masters run. We figured with Mom still shaking from the drive it would be a bust, but I found the one rat, did my tunnel and climb, and got a Q! It was awesome! I also placed first in my group which shocked Mom and me! In my second run I missed one of the four rats, so no Q that time.
In Barn Hunt, Masters is different from the lower levels for many reasons:
- You need five Q’s to earn a RATM (Masters Title), the lower levels you need three Q’s.
- The five Q’s must be under at least two different judges.
- We don’t know how many rats there are. It can be one to five, and the human has to decide when their pup has found them all.
- Tunneling is harder because they are longer, and with more turns.
- 4 1/2 minutes is the time limit, but you are not allowed to bring a timer, so Mom has to guess how much time we have.
Going into this trial, I had two Q’s, each from a different judge, but since I have been in Masters since 12/29/18, my track record isn’t real good. Mom says it is because I won’t tunnel. She is probably right, as I do find the rats.
The weather was still not great after the trial on Saturday, and Mom was afraid to drive home. Besides that, we were supposed to come back on Sunday. For safety and to calm the nerves we spent the night at a shady hotel in town. Since we had nothing with us, we had to do some quick shopping for overnight supplies, like food! Mom didn’t have her camera or computer either which was like a first time ever situation, but still she felt better spending the night.
None of us slept well because the bed was small, the room was too warm, and it just wasn’t a place conducive to sleeping. Still, we got up and headed back to the trial Sunday morning. Sunday was completely amazing. Not only did I get a Q in both my Masters searches, I got first place and High in Class each run, and I actually earned my RATM! This was nowhere on our radar which made it all the more exciting! All this happened it is wasn’t even the year of the rat yet!
Olivia didn’t have the best weekend, but she ended her day Sunday with her first Open Q, and a second place. We are super happy about that as well. She is still so young, it is all about getting some pilot hours under her furs.
I earned my RATM exactly one year after earning my RATS. This was so much more than we had ever dreamed of, with a first place in all five of my Q’s, two high in class, and I earned my Q’s under four different judges. At this level, a Master Rat Hunter also receives a singing stuffed rat, which I absolutely adore! I love to make him sing, and to carry him around.
The judge I had for my Sunday Q’s was super nice! She came all the way from Canada, Yellowknife in the Northern Territories. Shelley had never seen a GBGV before and fell in love with me and Olivia. When I got my last Q, Mom told her it was my title, and she gave me this neat patch. I must say, I sure got a lot of stuff for this title! I wonder what a RATCH will be like? Hopefully I will find out.
One more fun thing is that I’m the only GBGV in the country with a title higher than Open, and Bailie is the only other GBGV with a title higher than Novice. Emma was always the first GBGV to get titles in nose work, so it is fun for me to be the trail blazer in Barn Hunt! The site is only updated every few weeks, so my RATM is not yet listed.
Masters always has eight tubes in the ring, but the trick is to figure out which have rats, and which have litter. This weekend my searches ended up having one, five, and two rats. When there is only one rat, there are seven with litter, so I need to be able to smell the difference. So far, I have never falsely alerted on litter which is great. Hopefully that will continue. Now where do I go with this sport? I’m going to work on my RATCH (Rat Champion). To earn this designation a pup has to get ten Q’s under two or more different judges. If I really do well, I could earn that in 2020, but we will see how it goes. For now I’m putting my paws up and enjoying being a Master Rat Hunter with dreams of being a rat champion in the year of the rat!
We are joining the Brian’s Home Blog Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!