Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ratting

Back in June, I went with my friend Tara and her dogs to a Jack Russell Play Day in Washington. The idea of the play day was to get a bunch of terriers together and let them do terrier things. On the list was Go to Ground, Barn Hunt, and Terrier Racing (both flat and over hurdles).

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Working the rat


I took Ptera along to let her go crazy doing terrier things, and she had an absolute blast. Go To Ground involves the dog having to go through a series of wooden tunnels to find a rat, which is actually outside of the tunnel, visible through some wooden bars. The dog is then supposed to "work" the rat, attempting to get at it, for a specific amount of time. The difficulty in this sport is that some dogs realize that the rat is outside the tunnel and will refuse to go in, or will come back out and go around the outside to find the rat. The tunnel can have multiple turns and be a decent distance. Ptera absolutely loves Go To Ground, and I can set her up a few feet from the tunnel entrance and just drop her to the ground, and she dives straight in. Because it was a fun day, not an actual competition, I was able to take some time with the help of the volunteer running that station at the time and get some pictures of Ptera. Obviously the wooden tunnels make it a hard sport to photograph, so the only real pictures are either at the beginning, going into the tunnels (which isn't super interesting) or at the end, working the rat through the wooden bars of the tunnel.

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The rats, by the way, are totally bored by this. They are people's pet rats who are brought out for events like this and Barn hunt, and so they are treated very well. None of them cares at all about the dogs. You can see this rat above actually has its back to Ptera, and you can just tell it thinks the entire thing is a little strange but no big deal.

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I love her crazy face


Barn Hunt practice was also super fun. I ran Ptera in a Novice and an Open type set up (this wasn't a fun test or anything, just a practice for people doing Barn Hunt). She did great, and indicated really strong. We also tried a Crazy 8's set up, and didn't do so well there. I think that with all of the rats in Go to Ground and Barn Hunt, and the terrier racing, she was hot and over excited. But the volunteers there also humored me so I could get some pictures of Ptera doing Barn Hunt. When I run my own dogs in these things for real, I never get a chance to get photos, so this was a perfect opportunity.

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Bite that tube

Watching terriers do what they were bred for (in our structured, for fun only way) is a super fun experience.



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