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Oct 27 & 28: Barn Hunt Trial in Union, (A New Sport for Dogs!)

There is a new sport for dogs and it’s called Barn Hunt. This is a fun and exciting new activity that is sweeping the country including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and every other state in the nation. This sport simulates ratting out a barn in a fun way that doesn’t kill any rats (no e-rat-ification). Basically, real live pet rats are placed inside PVC tube containers and then hid in a course made of straw bales. The idea is that your dog has to find all the rats in the course, indicate that to you somehow, and you have to tell the judge where the rats are within a specific time-frame. In addition to finding the rats, the dogs must go through a tunnel made of straw bales and climb on top of at least one bail in each run to pass the trial. During the hunt, the ingenuity of the rats in their ability to hide in a safe spot will never cease to amaze you. There is no question in their intelligence or how well they know their surroundings. This sport tests the dog’s speed, agility, hunt drive, scenting ability, surefootedness, control and responsiveness to their handler direction.

On Saturday and Sunday, Oct 27-28, 8am-5pm, you are invited to bring your dog to the very first WV Barn Hunt Trial, held at the former “Cheeses of Monroe Factory” in Union, Monroe County. This building is located on 184 Route 3 near Dollar General. Hosted by the Barn Hunt Club of West Virginia, dogs will locate rats at the source. This hunt is for any domestic dog and handler who wish to play the game, including large dogs, pet dogs, altered dogs, and dogs of breeds or mixes of breeds with or without a vermin-hunting history.

Barn Hunt is based on the hunting and teamwork skills historically used by Ratcatchers and their dogs who traveled the countryside ridding farms of vermin, thus helping to conserve and preserve food grains and protect inhabitants from disease. The purpose of this hunt is to demonstrate a dog’s vermin hunting ability in finding and marking rats in a “barn-like” setting, using straw/hay bales to introduce climbing and tunneling obstacles in the dog’s path.

This is a sporting event, and as such there are levels of difficulty, placements, titles, and championships. The sport tests the dog’s ability to hunt and the handler’s ability to read the dog’s communication as they work as a team.

Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but their titles are recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club (beginning in 2018) and the United Kennel Club. Your dog does not have to be registered with any of those organizations to participate in the sport; you will need to register with the Barn Hunt Association. There is a single $30 registration fee for the lifetime of the dog. For more information or to schedule your FREE Instinct Test, call 540-247-5967 or email They also have a Facebook Page WVBH. Read more about Barn Hunt at

– HashtagWV #106. October 2018.

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