rat look right April 2000 Earthdog Trial rat look left

I was in my first senior earthdog class this weekend. I did great! Senior is harder than the junior test because there is a false den and a second exit. The den is empty but has rat bedding in it, while the false exit just brings you back above ground. You also start further away from the den entrance and you work the rats longer. The really hard part about the senior test is the recall. After you are finished working the rats are taken away and then your mom calls you. You are supposed to come. Yeah right! Think again.
walking out to test
Walking over to the test.
at starting stakes
Mom placed me at the starting stakes.

Saturday was beautiful, sunny but not too warm. I was so excited when we started over to the rat tunnels. I ran right over to the judge, ignoring the tunnel entrance and tried to work the rats from there. Hey, the rats are always by the judge. Why go the hard way. But that judge shooed me away. I then smelled rat. I then bounced over to the helper who had the bucket where the rats are kept between runs. I investigated that but when I found that there weren't any rats there I went back over to see if the judge would let me work the rats above ground. No such luck. When my time ran out the judge let mom pick me up and take me over to the tunnel entrance. Down I went, but I figured out there weren't any rats down there so I backed out of the tunnel.
running to the rats
Running from the starting stakes to the rats!
On Sunday it was a repeat of Saturday, except a different judge, and I turned around in the tunnel this time. You got to keep it different or it gets boring. This judge was different than the other judge. She couldn't keep me away from the rats above ground. She told mom to come and get me and that I was 'out of control'. I think NOT! Needless to say I didn't qualify. But mom says that's ok, if we qualified every time we would run out of classes to enter. This way it makes it more fun.
shooing Hoover away
Judge shoos me away from the rats.
investigating rat bucket
Checking out the rat bucket.

Here are Mom's comments on the trial.

Hoover never has had a problem of working the rats; only where he works the rats is the problem. So I stuck Hoover in the junior class so he would at least see the rats this weekend. And My Junior Earthdog didn't qualify. Went right over to the judge and started working the rats above ground. Imagine that? I had to take him to the entrance and coax him down it. Finally he went in and found the rats and worked them below ground like he is supposed to. I think he got lost in the senior tunnel and figured he couldn't get the rats from there. He is too smart. Hoover just needs to learn the rules of the game. We had lots of fun this weekend and that's the whole point.

Now, this is what Hoover was supposed to do in the senior class. He was supposed to scent to the tunnel entrance and go in. Then he was supposed to find his way past the false entrance and the empty scented rat den to the actual rats. He had 90 seconds to do this. Then he was supposed to work the rats for 90 seconds. Then the rats would be taken out the tunnel and I would have to call Hoover and he was supposed to come out of the tunnels.

This trial was really fun. We had bunches of Cairns ( Cairn terrier club held the trial), lots of dachshunds, a couple of wire fox terriers, a couple of smooth fox terriers, some patterdale terrier puppies, some westies, one black scottie and a wheaten scottie, a mini bull terrier puppy that was scared of the rats, some Australian terriers and a Pomeranian. Yes, a Pomeranian in intro, I think it must have been a exhibition entry or maybe for fun, and TWO welsh terriers! No partridge in a pear tree, but we did have lab rats in cages.

Happy Ratting!

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Copyright © 2000 Anne Macmillan All Rights Reserved
last updated 05/30/00
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