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Lisa Unleashed: Barn Hunt Clinics For Dogs Arrive At Cassio Pet Resort

Published: November 6, 2016

Lisa Peterson

If you have not experienced a Barn Hunt event, I highly recommend you grab your dog and head on over to Cassio Pet Resort and Training Center this weekend to have the time of your dog’s life. Want to see what your dog’s ancestors where bred for? Vermin hunting, tracking and finding the rodents in your house or barn. Barn Hunt will release your dog’s inner hunter. Linx and Adele, better pack your Barn Hunt bags, we are going!

According to the press release from Newtown’s Cassio Pet Resort and Training Center, at 173 Mt Pleasant Road, they will be holding Barn Hunt fun clinics from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday, November 5, Sunday, November 6, and Saturday, November 12 — weather permitting. A short introduction is scheduled each day at 10 am and 1 pm to explain the rules and regulations for individuals not familiar with Barn Hunt. The purpose of Barn Hunt is to demonstrate a dog’s vermin hunting ability in finding and marking rats in a “barn-like” setting. Hay bales are used to introduce climbing and tunneling obstacles in the dog’s path as they search out the rats.

What Is Barn Hunt?

“This is a relatively new sport that allows dogs to utilize their sense of smell to locate the rats,” said Cassio Ret Resort and Training Center owner Joy Brewster. “While it is stimulating and challenging for dogs, it is not physically challenging for the owner. The owners learn how to read their dog’s body posture and actions when the dog locates the rat. And the domesticated rats have food, water, and rest periods between runs. They are protected in a well-ventilated enclosure and are never harmed or stressed.”

According to the Barn Hunt Association (BHA)’s website, barnhunt.com, “In Barn Hunt, dogs locate rats (safely enclosed in aerated tubes) hidden in a straw/hay bale maze. It’s a timed event with 3 different dog height divisions. Teams can get titles, placements, and championships.”

According to the BHA FAQ the rats used in competitions are neither hunted, hurt, nor killed. “Though the event is called Barn Hunt, we are not hunting rats to kill them. Instead, dogs locate rats who are safely enclosed in aerated tubes that are built to be tough enough for dogs to be unable to crush or even get a tooth into. The tubes are large enough for rats to be able to turn around, and they are kept on bedding so they are comfortable. They often spend their time grooming or even sleeping in the tubes. Many enjoy the sport and interacting with the dogs. Rat care and safety is of paramount importance to the sport and has been from day one. Our rat care guidelines were developed with assistance from well-qualified sources who have spent decades studying, housing, and caring for rats. We like rats and would never harm them physically or mentally for the sport.”

Fun For Fido

Any dog who can fit through an 18-inch-wide by approximately 20-22-inch-tall tunnel constructed of hay bales can enjoy this dog sport. The sport tests speed, agility, hunt drive, scenting ability, sure-footedness, control and responsiveness to the handler’s directions.

While Barn Hunt has roots and origins as a way to test working drives in dogs bred to hunt vermin, Barn Hunt is for any dog and handler who wish to play. This includes large dogs, pet dogs, altered dogs, and dogs of breeds or mixes of breeds with or without a vermin-hunting history.

A Barn Hunt “Trial” is a timed sporting event where a dog’s ability to hunt and the handler’s ability to read the dog’s signal are tested as they work as a team with various levels of difficulty. Placements, titles, and championships are awarded at Barn Hunt trials. Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but titles are recognized by both the American Kennel Club (AKC) and United Kennel Club (UKC). For more information about competing in Barn Hunt Trials with your AKC dog visit akc.org/events/title-recognition-program/barn-hunt.

A Barn Hunt “Clinic” is a safe and fun introduction or refresher to Barn Hunt for your dog and you. The clinics held at Cassio will be in a fenced-in area. For further information call Cassio at 203 426-2881 (8:15 am to noon or 3 to 6 pm) or email: Info@CassioPetResort.com  Fee: $10 for 2 runs (cash or check only).

Lisa Peterson writes about horses, hounds, and history at lisaunleashed.com and is founder and owner of Barn Girl Media; contact her at lisa@lisaunleashed.com.

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