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Lisa Unleashed: Fun Dog Events Coming To Area This Spring

Published: May 27, 2018

Lisa Peterson

Want to find a fun event that you and your dog can enjoy without any training? Then I recommend heading on over to Cassio Pet Resort and Training Center, and to the Greenwich Kennel Club, and the Longshore-Southport Kennel Club dog shows for some Barn Hunt clinics and FAST Coursing Ability Tests. The dogs love the action of looking for vermin in Barn Hunt and chasing a fast lure in the coursing test. Owners love watching their dogs have fun and using their natural canine talents.

What is 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. It is stimulating and challenging for dogs and 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, “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.”

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.

What is FAST Coursing Ability Test (CAT)?

Fast CAT is a timed straight 100‐yard dash for dogs. Dogs are held at the start line and the coursing lure is activated prompting the dog to follow, chasing it to the finish line and into a catch pen. The course is completely fenced and dogs are run individually. Dogs are timed when they complete the 100‐yard dash. The time is converted to miles per hour. Maybe your dog can hold the record for fastest 100-yard dash!

Barn Hunt Fun Clinic Schedule

May 26 – Cassio Pet Resort and Training Center, Mt. Pleasant Road, Newtown. Instructional for novice and advanced. Price $15 for two runs. Hours: 10 am to 3 pm. Rain date of May 27. Outside, subject to weather. Reservation: phone/email in advance with contact information including name, phone and/or email. 203-426-2881 or

June 9 & 10 – Greenwich Kennel Club and Longshore-Southport Kennel Club dog shows, Taylor Farm Park (Near Tidal Pond), Norwalk. All dogs can try a new skill. Two/$15. No pre-entry required. For more info go to

June 23 – Cassio Pet Resort and Training Center, Mt. Pleasant Road, Newtown. Instructional for novice and advanced. Price $15 for two runs. Hours: 10 am to 3 pm. Rain date of June 24. Outside, subject to weather. Reservation: phone/e-mail in advance with contact information including name, phone and/or e-mail. 203-426-2881 or

FAST Coursing Ability Test

June 8, 9 & 10 – AKC Fast CAT. Sponsored by Housatonic Cairn Terrier Club and the Greenwich Kennel Club, Inc. at Taylor Farm Park in Norwalk Friday through Sunday. Friday: 1 to 4 pm or all runs are completed; Saturday and Sunday: 9 am to 3 pm or all runs are completed. $25 entry. Dogs must have a recognized AKC number through registration, PAL, Canine Partners, or Misc/FSS program. Dog owners can pre-enter with the trial secretary or during limited entries on-site.

Day of Test entries are $30 for each entry, and will close 30 minutes prior to roll call at the Field Trial Secretary’s table. Day of Test entries accepted as space allows. A stand‐by list will be created, and these dogs will be allowed to run if time permits. Entries will be acknowledged by e-mail if legible email address is provided in entry form. Entries must be received by June 2. To find an entry form go to Or for more information contact trial secretary: Ching‐Yao Yu, at 240‐668‐4080 or

Directions to Taylor Farm Park: From I‐95: Exit 16 East Norwalk on East Avenue for 1⁄2 mile. Turn left on Van Zant Street, and right on Gregory Boulevard for 1⁄2 mile. Turn left on Marvin Street and immediate right on Calf Pasture Beach Boulevard 1⁄2 mile to the show site. From Merritt Parkway and US‐7: Exit 39 south on US‐7 to I‐95 north for one exit to Exit 16 and proceed as above.

It’s a month of super scenting and savvy speeding for all dogs! So grab your canine pack and head out for some fun for Fido.

Lisa Peterson writes about history, horses and hounds at You can reach her at

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