Welcome to Barn Hunt, the new canine sport that is sweeping the nation, in which your dog finds rats in PVC tubes hidden on a course made from bales of straw or hay. Sound intriguing?
Barn Hunt is the fastest growing dog sport to hit North America since dog agility, and it is becoming more popular every day. This growth is no surprise—Barn Hunt is great fun for people and dogs! It takes a dog’s natural instinct to find quarry, builds in a requirement for teamwork, and offers plenty of challenge and strategy for both dog and human.
Barn Hunt provides excellent physical and mental stimulation for your dog, and builds confidence. Through their training, teams build stronger bonds and better communication and can develop a real "conversation" that benefits the pair at home and beyond. This sport is often found by people looking for "jobs" for their dogs, be they older senior dogs that have retired from a vibrant agility career, dogs that love crittering at home, or dogs that are working through social challenges. There are all types and all motivations of dogs.
Initial introductions to Barn Hunt are often straightforward, with teams experiencing a high level of success, but as the team progresses, more skills, problem-solving, and proofing are needed to succeed.
This book is for those new to the sport as well as for the seasoned Barn Hunt instructor and exhibitor. It is intended to give you an in-depth look at the sport, including how to prepare your dog for trials and how to work through problems with proofing, training drills, and other techniques.
One caution here: not only is Barn Hunt somewhat addictive, it is often a "gateway" sport. That means trying Barn Hunt may lead you and your dog to other dog sports such as Nosework, Agility, and Obedience. You have been warned—once you try Barn Hunt, your life will not be the same!
Eva Fowler Raczka: Eva is a second generation dog trainer, born into the love of dogs and their education. Barn Hunt is her passion, and she has introduced hundreds of dogs and their owners to Barn Hunt through seminars, classes, and lessons. Having been involved in dog sports since eight years of age, Eva has trained and titled dogs in Obedience, Agility, scent sports, Herding, Retriever Hunt Tests, and more.
This diverse dog-sport background has given her an understanding of many forms of dog training and allows a unique perspective for teaching Barn Hunt and creating drills to proof skills and develop both members of the team. Eva has worked with and exhibited many breeds and sizes of dogs (from Terriers to Labradors) as well as her own Curly-Coated Retrievers and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Most notably, Eva and her Belgian Tervuren, Pi (RVC RGC AKC Ch Coyote Run Lambda Lambda Lambda RA BN HSAd TD CA TKN RATCHX9 CZ8G SDN NW2), have brought home three medals from the Barn Hunt Nationals, including two gold medals (in Versatility and Games). Eva is a Barn Hunt mentor judge and spends time judging as well as teaching and coaching teams.
Deb M. Eldredge, DVM: Deb is a Cornell graduate and the first recipient of the Gentle Doctor Award. She is an award-winning veterinarian and writer. Animals are her life, and she loves competing in a variety of dog sports, having titled dogs in Conformation, Obedience, Tracking, Rally, Agility, Lure Coursing, Freestyle, Herding, Backpacking, Nosework, and now, Barn Hunt. She has run nine dogs of four breeds to various Barn Hunt titles, with the highest being a RATCH X2 on her male Belgian Tervuren, Doc.