Barn Hunts are a fun new sports that allow dogs to indulge in their natural instincts of finding rodents. A course of straw or hay bales is set up in a fenced area, and the rats are enclosed in very secure, very safe PVC type tubes. There is a judge who watches the dog, and the dog is allowed off leash in the area to search the straw to find the rat.
The tubes are hidden in the straw and the dogs must use their innate sense of smell to search out the tubes. There will be empty tubes, tubes with rat bedding, and tubes with real live rats. The dogs must identify the tubes with the rats and indicate to their handler when they have been found. The handler then tells the judge what the dog has told the handler.
There are various levels of difficulty. Starting with an instinct test, going through a Novice Course, Open Course, then to the more difficult Senior and Masters courses.
Please refer to the Barn Hunt Associations Information page for more detailed descriptions: