After Tripp's initial enthusiasm at the Barn Hunt workshop in March, we tried a fun match at a different location several weeks later. This time in an actual barn! It was a very interesting experience, with the plethora of new scents everywhere. Tripp still enjoyed the game, but was much less intense... which for once wasn't a good thing. He actually seemed to lose interest in the rat after finding it, rather than stay put and obsess over it like he did at the workshop. Was it the distracting environment? Did I discourage him by not immediately trusting his nose? Or was it the lack of the visual stimulus of seeing the "prey" before hunting for it? (He got to meet the rat first at the workshop.) Perhaps all of the above.
I decided in June to give it one more try, and entered the first NH trial at that same barn, with a promise to trust Tripp's nose faster and treat him with a cheese stick after his turn in the ring. Unfortunately, his love of the sport seems to have waned even more. Oh, he still enjoyed playing around on the course and searching, but his indications were very brief. Even on our Instinct run, I didn't even get the chance to call it - Tripp found the rat, quickly gave the tube one little bite, and before I could think about asking him if that was it, he was gone and sniffing elsewhere. I tried to get him back but he was over it by then and we ended up timing out. :-( Next up on our Novice run he did a nice search, climbing all over the hay bales. This time I wasn't going to second guess him. When he stopped on one and started digging, I quickly called "Rat!" *sigh* Wrong tube, I called it too soon. So another NQ. At least the entry fees are super cheap, so I wasn't out too much cash.
After that disappointing morning, I decided to scratch on the second trial. The sun was moving past the trees at our shady parking spot and the car was starting to get a bit too warm. Just one thing I hate about having to work out of the car. Plus the back seat isn't quite as comfortable for Tripp as his crate. Not to mention we were both bored to death between turns! With the hunt in a small barn, there was little opportunity to observe the other teams, and you can only stand around chatting in the sun for so long. Meanwhile the poor dog is stuck hiding out in the vehicle. As we headed down the road with a cool breeze blowing in the windows, Tripp looked much happier, so obviously the heat was getting to him too. Glad we left when we did.
Tripp did at least have one exciting moment with a rat though... when I went to tell the stewards I was leaving early, he spotted one of the rats in a cage. Oh sure, NOW you want to get it. LOL