Monday, May 16, 2016

JRT Fun Day

Yesterday, I headed up to Castle Rock Fairgrounds in Washington for a Jack Russell Terrier fun day/play day. I figured that Ptera would have fun, I would get to try some new sports with her, and there likely would be something for Koira to do.

From a few weeks ago, when she was still trying to figure out how ears work

The first thing we tried was called Go To Ground. The idea is that the dog goes through a series of tunnels made by wooden boxes, which can have turns, until they find the rat. The rat is on the outside of the tunnel, but can be seen and smelled through the white bars at the end of the tunnel. Once the dog finds the rat, they are supposed to work it for 30 seconds by scratching, barking, etc.

We started out by introducing Ptera to the rat. She was immediately obsessed. We ran her through a single short, straight tunnel to the rat, and she had no issues. She didn't work the rat at all, but did stay there smelling it. We ran her through some longer tunnels, including one with two turns, and she did awesome on all of them, going straight in and straight to the rat, without trying to come back out of the tunnel. Each time, she stuck with the rat, but didn't really "work" it, so we encouraged her to scratch and bark. The last part of the tunnel has a lid on the top that we open to get the dog out, so we would open that and get her ramped up. With encouragement, she worked the rat from inside the tunnel. Outside the tunnel, she didn't need any encouragement.

The JRT fun day also had something called brush hunt, which is similar to Barn Hunt, but in brush rather than straw. We didn't have much brush to use, so it was a pretty easy set up. Ptera found her rat pretty easily, and worked it really well.

Lure coursing and racing were the other two events offered. Lure coursing is the same as what we do with our coursing club, though set up a bit different since JRTs have different needs from sighthounds. It is more of just a fun way to get some energy out of them than anything else.

Ptera also did racing, which is just a long straight away where they race with other dogs. The start box was really our main hurdle. It was a brand new thing, with loud dogs in the other boxes banging around, and due to some technical issues, the box wasn't able to be opened right away when I put her in the first time. I ended up holding her in the box the next time, rather than closing the back door, and that went better. I think I would need to spend some time introducing her to the box by herself for her to really like the racing game.

Unfortunately, Koira didn't really get to do anything. I did have her meet a rat, which she thought was great. But the straight racing boxes are too small for her. The ground was wet and it was raining, so I didn't feel safe letting her do the lure coursing. The course they set up was fine for JRTs, but was twisty and tight in places, and I thought Koira's speed and size would put her at risk of injury if she ran that course on wet grass. The Go To Ground tunnels were also much too small for her as well. So really, outside of meeting a rat and a few short walks, Koira had a pretty boring day. I tried to make it up to her by taking her to flyball practice on our way home.

I'll be honest that I don't know if I'll have Ptera do any of these sports officially. I likely will put her in Barn Hunt to find rats, but I don't know if Go To Ground is something we'll compete in. JRT racing we might try again, but I would want a slow introduction to the box to do it. But it was fun to meet other JRT owners, see the dogs in action, and was an overall really fun day.