Monday, January 1, 2018

January Barn Hunt Trial!

Molly's foot was feeling much better today and so we continued to our planned New Years Day "Hangover" Barn Hunt trial! Molly and I took some time off of Barn Hunt after an extremely stressed and disinterested May trial. We recently attended our first practice in a long time and Molly shocked me by being a total machine, focusing on hunting nearly immediately and finding rat after rat. It was exciting! I feel that Nosework is helping Molly make that "working independently" connection.

 Today's trial was a double trial, so Molly got two shots at that last leg she needs for her RATO (Open title.) My goal, as it was for the above practice I mentioned, was to not manage Molly's searching. When I am at a trial and that clock is ticking, it is hard to not fall into the trap of asking the dog to search here! check here! come over here! Molly doesn't need that from me. We did not get any passes and Molly was not searching with the drive that she was at our last practice, but I feel the gap is being bridged and that is a start! 

The first trial Molly found a tube but then kept sticking to that side of the ring, working residual odor... I asked her to check a bedding tube she had sniffed earlier (and dismissed.) Since I "talked her into it" she gave it a quick paw scratch. I knew that wasn't an indication but I blurted out "rat" anyway and knew as soon as I did that it was wrong. When Molly indicates her body position is much lower than what she showed me on that tube. Bummer!
The second round Molly finds the rat quickly but does not indicate until the second time she investigates that area. She finds the second rat just as the time runs out and had she indicated more quickly we would have Q'd. A bummer but that's okay, we are clearly not ready for Senior level and its 4 Rats anyway. (although, I am wondering if she might find that more motivational.) One thing is clear: if I want to do this sport, Molly needs to get to more practices. I feel that she could be very very good at Barn Hunt if we put the work in.

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