New sport has a nose for fun

Just Regional
Nov 21, 2022 2 mins read

Dogs love snuffling around trying to find things, and a new venture is offering hide-and-seek with a difference for our four-legged friends.

Barn Hunt is a brand new sport to the UK for dogs and their owners to enjoy.

The first local session will be held at Erpingham on December 4 and dog-owners are being invited to go along and see what it’s all about.

Organiser Jacqueline Tulip said: “It’s teamwork. Your dog uses its natural instincts to find hidden tubes and you have to learn to read the dog’s signals.”

The sport is an organised form of ratting – but she is keen to stress that live rats are not used, nor do the dogs ever come into direct contact with them.

“We buy our rats frozen from a reputable reptile food supply company,” she said.

These are put in special tubes and then tucked into a fenced-off ring of straw bales.

The dogs climb and go through tunnels in the bales to sniff out the tubes which are securely sealed, allowing only the scent to escape. The contents cannot be seen.

As a sport, Barn Hunt is a timed event and decoy tubes are used to make sure the dogs use only their noses.

Popular in the USA, it is the fastest growing canine sport at the moment and has also spread to Canada and Norway.

All breeds are welcome to take part as well as older dogs and animals with disabilities – they just need a good nose.

They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared with our six million, and the part of a dog’s brain devoted to analysing smells is about 40 times greater than our own.

The sport also tests speed, agility, instincts and the handler’s ability to read cues and signals.

There are levels to work up to while taking part.

The session on December 4 – next to the village hall – is a have-a-go event with staggered arrivals from 9.30am until 2.30pm but they will carry on as long as daylight allows.

It costs £15 per dog and more details are available from info@barnhuntuk.co.uk

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