Most fun you'll ever have... with rats
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
G2 Barn Hunt welcomes you to a relaxed, fun day with your dog and vermin.
September Barn Hunt at G2, Morriston, Florida
(full photo feature at end of article)
In the rural countryside of North Central Florida the trees are plush, grass green and the air of the countryside is both refreshing and relaxed as vehicles approach down the dirt road to the G2 Barn Hunt in Morriston, FL.
The old red barn is filled with hay bails set up in patterns around the room. The dogs know something is up, and eagerly wait their turn to go find who may be hiding in all that hay. There are rats that need to be found. The rats don't seem to worried and the atmosphere is full of characteristic laughter and a friendly tone as the Fall Barn Hunt gets underway.
Rat Catching dogs have been around for hundreds of years. Their job saved potentially millions of lives through the Black Plague to the overcrowded conditions of the Industrial Age. Unlike sheep dogs, sighthounds and many other breeds, they find themselves unemployed and maybe a little overlooked for their special skill set today. Barn Hunt Association has filled that gap for them, and in this game everyone and every dog get to play. If your dog has a nose? It may be ready to come play too!
G2 Barn Hunt
Lorri Griffin is a US Army veteran where she served as a medic, but today the only tunnel rats she meets are in her barn in Morriston, Florida and home of G2 Barn Hunt. Lorri has raised rats as pets for years, so when she heard of a new dog game involving the hunting of rats, she decided to see what that was all about.
With her precious rats’ safety in mind, she found a Barn Hunt event in Florida. She did not know what to expect and probably feared the worse, but what she discovered the experience made her a fan and today she owns and operates G2 Barn Hunt. The wonderful rural location in the northern central Florida countryside near Morriston sets the tone for a relaxing and fun time with your dogs and is further endeared as one of the only locations where the game is played in an actual barn.
“It’s a sport based on the natural instinct of the dog that wants to hunt” – Lorri Griffin
G2 Barn Hunt was established in 2014 and continued to grow ever since. Hosting classes for all levels of experience, from first time to the largest concentration of BHA Nationals top dogs of any US training facility. Lorri’s bubbly fun nature immediately infects newcomers to the sport and her Barn Hunt events run most months of the year, drawing competitors from near and far. They have become so popular; they have expanded from two to now four day events with dozens of happy pups eager owners and dogs to stick their noses into that hat and find some “ratties”
People, Pups and Rats
The three most unpredictable and diverse elements of Barn Hunt are the people, the dogs and the rats themselves. The game develops a very special bond between the handler and the dog and each has a "job" to do, but each are as individual as their are numbers of people and pups. So dogs are slow and gentle with barely a twitch of an ear to indicate they found something.
Others? Run the course like a high speed track and go into an all out attack when. they find that sneaky vermin. The handlers have to learn to distinguish when they have a sign from the dog and it's its accurate. They can not touch anything or the pup. Simply observe and report. With some of the dogs being so excited, the strict handling rules are there to protect them. Those and a nearly indestructible tube that they hide in like a vault.
The Judge today was Des Miller. Des is an experienced dog obedience trainer who had never heard of Barn Hunt a few years ago until one day his girlfriend introduced him to the sport when she informed him he would now be teaching it. In a short time he came to love it as thousands of others have today. Des decided to take on a career as a Barn Hunt judge and today was his first day.
The rats know they are safe and part of the fun as they know they can taunt the dogs and get away with it. - Des Miller
Like so many that put the events together, Des had an easy nature and quick to smile as he described his experiences in the time he's been involved in the game.
He explained that the rats are also part of the team in a way as they learn the dogs can't get them and the cheeky buggers some times taunt the dogs.
As with most games, seeing is believing, and finding a local event to go watch for yourself is often the best introduction. Especially nice is the Barn Hunt Association web page has a listing of all events immediately visible on their website and our own Bad Azz Dogz events page frequently lists happenings all over C. Florida.
The dogs first step is usually an introduction to a rat in a cage. The reaction can vary. From excitement to fear and in the later, the pups learn that weird critter in the tube can not hurt them, the fun begins. Do not do this at home, do come to one of the Barn Hunt locations. Messing this up can be disastrous on many levels.
For those with disabilities.
There are few games that take such proactive interest in accommodating both people and dogs with disabilities. Barn Hunt may be described as a "low impact" sport. There is no required running, jumping or athletics by the handler at all.
The events I have witnessed and shown a consistent care and willingness to adapt to all players needs. From deaf dogs to Wheelchairs and problems with a team members sense of balance or grip.
Even today, addendum's to rules are common to ensure everyone gets to play.
It is important to note, though every effort is made to make the games available to all, it is up to the host and judges to make a final determination, and though every effort is made, not every circumstance will work, so please check with them if you have any special needs that may require attention and consideration.
If you are a disabled 1st Responder or Military veteran, the Barn Hunt community have been solid supporters of the Hero Dogz program and special classes and rates may be avilable to you and your own Hero Dogz. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and any questions you may have and I will try to help answer those questions or point you in the right direction.
Barn Hunt is an incredible game for many reasons but the commitment to welcoming all pups and people is extraordinary. This fun game created to fill a missing gap in activities for many dogs has become the fastest growing sport in N. America. Now recognized by the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. The games are fun and the community welcoming and passionate. On any given day you and your pup may hit a milestone or your dog decides the rats need a break and so does he. When that happens is often just as entertaining.
For it's commitment to inclusion of as many people and pups of all types and lack of physical exertions of the handlers,
Barn Hunt deserves to attention its getting and with locations like G2 Barn Hunt right here in Central Florida, don't wait or make an excuse. Just come on out and see what being a rat catcher is something you can be proud of. Links to more information below, but for now, come see for yourself in our special photo-feature.
There is a lot more we want to show and tell you about this fantastic sport and that will come in our continued coverage of the games growth for all our Bad Azz Dogz in Florida.
** Photo-Feature **
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G2 Barn Hunt September 2019
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