We’re not going to let a little thing like a show coat get in the way of hunting down critters. Nope, nosiree. Damn the hay, and full speed ahead! There are critters in that there hay!
If nothing else, Tooey has the drive to hunt critters. I have watched her more than once dive into blackberry bushes after rabbits, dig madly in the mud for moles, and climb trees after squirrels. She comes back from her adventures covered in whatever was between her and her prey — brambles, mud, leaves, twigs, and thorns.
And now, with our recent Barn Hunt practices, she’s come out covered in hay.
Tooey loves to hunt, and she’s fast, agile, and balanced. So, you can imagine what I thought when I read this on the Barn Hunt website:
Barn Hunt is also for any breed or mix of dog who loves to hunt and who can fit through an 18” wide gap between two hay bales. It will test speed, agility, and surefootedness.
The fact that rats are new to Tooey is not a problem. She got that right away. And, unlike the wild rabbits, etc., the rats in Barn Hunt are well protected. And she’s used to hunting in streams, ponds, grasslands, sage brush, and farm fields. What’s new are the hay bales and loose piles of hay.
We spent last Sunday morning out in Damascus, Oregon, practicing with the NW Barn Dogs group. They set up a Novice-level course, and Tooey did well in both her practice runs, running through a tunnel, climbing the hay bales, and finding two rats (only one is required at the Novice level). In fact, she found her first rat (enclosed in an aerated tube, of course), and put her front legs around the tube as if to gather it to her chest and say, Mine! She let the rat wrangler take the tube, but followed him across the ring, watching where he put the rat before responding to my encouraging her to “find another one!”
In my next foray out, I plan to take a picture of the set up, but you can see pictures on the Barn Hunt website.