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© written by Laura Turner

Barn Hunt Association, LLC has created a sanctioned sport
which as of 2014, is also a UKC and AKC recognized for Titles.
Barn Hunt is honouring the traditional role of dogs in ridding barns,
homes and properties of vermin thus helping conserve and preserve food grains
and cutting down on disease. This sport is open to all breeds, all ages
spayed or neutered and mixed breeds
Rats used in the hunt, are friendly pets, that member's allow the club to use.
The goal of Barn Hunt, is to have your dog locate the aerated tube
that the rat that is safely enclosed in and you be able to identify
that your dog has done this by calling "RAT".

~ Bijou Standard Poodles who have earned their Barn Hunt Instinct Title as of May 2014 ~

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Dare                                   Faith                                     Ula                                          Joy                                   Glory                            Truffle

1. Your dog must be registered with the Barn Hunt Association prior to entering a licensed Trial. Fee is $26.00 for life.
2. There will be 3 tubes in Novice. One empty tube, one tube with rat bedding only, one tube with the rat
3. This is a timed event. Different time limits for each level
4. Participants at the beginning of each trial, shall be staged out of enclosure view, until called
5. UKC will recognize Barn Hunt Titles on your dog's registration papers for a fee of around $20.00
6. AKC will recognize Barn Hunt Titles on your dog's registration papers for a fee of around $20.00
7. The Barn Hunt course is area is 20' x 20' area (or approx. 400 square feet) made up of bales of straw.
8. Barn Hunt events may be held indoors or outdoors, in almost any area as long as the ring can be securely fenced.
9. Ribbons are awarded for first through fourth place in each of the three height divisions for Novice (RATN) through Master (RATM)
10. The Barn Hunt Entry Form is it's own separate form
11. There are 3 different height divisions for dogs to enter in: Small = 13" and under, Medium = 13.1" to 18", Large = over 18"
12. There are 5 different Barn Hunt Titles you can earn, listed in order:
RATI (Barn Hunt Instinct), optional - not a title
RATN (Barn Hunt Novice) is the base title
RATO (Barn Hunt Open)
RATS (Barn Hunt Senior)
RATM (Barn Hunt Master)


The Barn Hunt course is area is 20' x 20' area (or approx. 400 square feet) made up of bales of straw.
Barn Hunt events may be held indoors or outdoors, in almost any area as long as the ring can be securely fenced.
The course is changed for the RATN and further levels to include a climb and a tunnel
I would strongly suggest taking antihistamine before attending a Barn Hunt Test or wearing a mask if you have allergies.


We have a tube with the rat in it and place treats under the tube for the dog to self reward.
The goal is the dog smells the rat and receives the reward for nosing over the tube, I will also verbally praise
and give more treats by the tube or rat scent.
Eventually they will associate the Rat smell with a reward and we can add the empty tube (no reward)
the tube with rat bedding (no reward) and the third tube with the rat in it (with a reward).
Then they are successful with finding the tube with the rat inside consistently then we can
make the hides a bit harder with every success.
This is similar training to how we train for Nosework.

Intro to rats in cage

Barn Hunt Association: Introducing Dogs to Rats in Tubes


This title is "optional". You may choose to skip this test.
You do not need to enter the Instinct test before proceeding to higher levels.
You may even enter the Barn Hunt Instinct test and Barn Hunt Novice the same trials
Your dog needs to successfully identify which tube the rat is in, to you, one time, to get this title
The three tubes will be placed uncovered in plain sight on the course.
While the course is set up in such a way that tunneling and climbing are difficult to avoid,
the purpose of RATI is correct identification of the live rat tube.
A dog who avoids the tunnel/climb yet finds the rat will be marked as a passing effort for RATI.
Time starts when the dog leaves the start box. Time ends when the handler indicates a rat tube.

You will enter the enclosure with your dog on leash.
You will need your dog within the 4 cones.
Large dogs are just required to have their front paws inside the cones.
You will then hold your dog, removing and handing the collar and leash to a helper outside the enclosure

The judge starts the timer as soon as you release your dog.
You will have 1 minute for your dog to locate the rat.
The judge does not count down, the time and will call "TIME" when the 1 minute is up.


You will walk around the course of bales of straw and you will clearly see 3 tubes laying on the ground.
Your dog is expected to indicate which of the tubes the rat is in.
Your goal is to identify which of the three tubes your dog believes the rat is in.
Some dogs will avoid the tube with the rat, some dogs will show mild interest and others will go berserk.
Our Poodles do all three, so it has been a bit of a learning process for me to understand each of my Poodles indicators.
As soon as you believe your dog has the rat, you need to call "RAT" and point to which tube the rat is in.
The judge at that time will stop the timer and either say yes or no.

If your dog does not locate the tube with the rat, you can ask the judge which tube has the rat in it
and ask if you can show your dog the correct tube, praising them, so they get the idea.
RATI must be offered with the first trial each day, but does not have to be offered at the second trial of either day.
It is the club's option on whether to offer RATI twice in the same day in a two-trial-per-day event.
Alternately, RATI may be offered in one trial and not the other.
BOTTOM LINE: a Club might only offer one Barn Hunt Instinct test a day :(

You will disqualify if you touch your dog or any objects or areas inside the enclosure.
You will be ok if your dog touches you, just do not pat or push them off.
You may speak to your dog at will and encourage your dog at will. You can not yell at the dog.
Your dog will disqualify if they eliminate in the enclosure. So make sure to potty before hand.
Many males will get disqualified for peeing in the enclosure.
Females are allowed to compete if they are in heat, but they have to go at the end of the trial and wear panties.

*Video of Greyhound completing the Barn Hunt Instinct Test

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Barn Hunt Association will issue you an "online" certificate upon the completion of your title(s)
"RATI" title, is the title earned for Barn Hunt Instinct.
The Barn Hunt Instinct test, is an optional title you may choose to earn.
The title "RATI" will remain at the end of the dog's name along with any further Barn Hunt titles
UKC as of 2015, will not recognize Barn Hunt Instinct title but will recognize all other levels on your dog's registration papers for a fee of around $20.00
AKC will not recognize Barn Hunt Instinct Title but will recognize all the other levels on your dog's registration papers for a fee of around $20.00
You can see how many of your breed, have gotten a title by clicking on Barn Hunt Statistics


Dogs may enter both RATI and RATN at the same trial.
Barn Hunt Novice (RATN) is the base title.
RATN title must be accomplished before a dog can move up to higher titles
A dog will earn it's title after completing 3 successful Trials
A dog may "move up" to higher titles or choose to remain in the RATN trials.

A dog must go through a tunnel made of of bales of straw

A dog must complete one climb up on a bale of straw

A dog must find the tube with the rat which will be buried and or hidden on the course.

*Video of a Bijou Standard Poodle "Niko" completing the Barn Hunt RATN Course

This RATN course will have the 3 tubes (one empty, one with rat bedding, one with the rat) hidden from handler's sight.
The climb, tunnel and rat find, must each be completed within two minutes in order to pass.
There is no specific order in which these need to be accomplished.
The judge will not tell you how much time you have left.
The judge will call out "TUNNEL", "CLIMB" as your dog accomplishes these required tasks.

Video of the Barn Hunt Novice Title

*Comic relief Video of Greyhound that didn't do the climb

To learn more about Barn Hunt Titles and Barn Hunt Rules
*Click here