Barn hunt: a new dog competition in West Virginia

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(Union) The West Virginia Barn Hunt club is bringing the sport of barn hunting to West Virginia. The competition creates a bond between owner and dog.

Barn hunt dogs and their owners are a have a special bond based on trust and intuition. In a barn hunt, dogs compete to find rats hidden in hay. Lynn Graves a barn hunt judge explains saying, “They have to complete the tunnel. They have to complete a climb. And they have to find and locate at the lowest level at least one rat. And the highest level, which is master, they have at least one to five rats. And they don’t know how many rats there are.”

Deacon a black standard poodle is working on his 21st Master Championship.Deacon’s owner Mary Ann Eustis said, “Oh Deacon is my world.”

The bonding extends to the rats that are raised just for this job, kept safe in homemade tubes made of PVC. Barn hunt competitors say the rats like it. One barn hunt competitor explains, “Oh I love the rats. You know the pet rat will sit on your shoulder.”

But, of course, it will always be a dog that takes home the prize.

The next barn hunt competition is in February. You can find out more on the Barn Hunt website.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown

Multimedia Journalist

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