The barn hunt is a timed test of your dog’s agility and surefootedness and is a fun game for all. As with most sport titles, there are three skill levels (Novice, Open, and Masters), plus a basic instinct test. Handling is an important factor in advanced levels, which factors in the teamwork needed for success.
The critter used in a barn hunt is a rat who is safely ensconced in a large, aerated PVC rat-tube. Neither dog nor handler come into direct contact with the rat, but the teamwork that wins the game is when the handler signals the judge that his dog has found the rat. There are no re-dos; you need to be able to read your dog’s signal and call it the first time.
The event is held indoors or outdoors in a securely enclosed test area that mimics a barn-like setting (or on any piece of level ground), with hay bales used to create obstacles that the dog must climb and tunnel through. Each level is made increasingly more difficult by adding obstacles, diversions, and more rats. (Visit www.barnhunt.com for more information.)