Sunday, November 13, 2011

Earth Dog, otherwise known as Gaius goes nuts.

Far warring this is a post about my dog and the one sport that I run him in, among all the sports that Gaius does in his little life.  That one sport is Earth Dog. Here is a wikipedia link for those who really want to long form nitty gritty about the sport. Basically Earth Dog is a test to see how your dog preforms in tracking underground. the AKC limits participation to most terrors and dachshunds, so that is right up Gaius' ally. The Dog runs into an underground tunnel, with turns and at the end is a rat in a cage. The dog has a set amount of time to run to the rat, and a set amount of time that they have to work the rat, work being anything that the judge can detect from above ground. Then in senior which is where we are, I have a set amount of time to call Gaius out of the tunnel after the rat has been removed.

Gaius and mommy waiting for his turn to bark at the rats.

The trial was held on a farm about an hour or so from Richmond, making it the perfect day trip. We woke up early and headed out because registration closed at nine and I completely forgot to register before hand, thus we were at the back of the line which Gaius was not happy about. Being at the back isn't a horrible thing in senior though because so many of those people are also running master that if you wait up by the entrance you can usually cut in front of the no shows. 

Once it is your turn you walk though a small wooded path, taking everything off you dog because they have to run the course naked. The fear is that in the dark their collars or such might get caught on something and then the only way to remove them would be to dig up the run, the same consideration would be taken in real life in he was in the tunnels of game that was being flushed out.  Once you get to the line, you hold you dog giving him a few seconds acquire the sent of the rats. The whole tunnel is laced with rat pee so that the dogs have something to follow. Once they have locked on you let them go. 

On Saturday Gaius decided to do a bit of overland tracking and ran strait for the judges, and was shooed away. Eventually he decided to go into the hole and found his way to the rat and worked. He worked for his whole time and then once the rat left, he went exploring, popping out the false entrance and running back to me. We failed because he didn't reach the rat in time, otherwise we would have passed.  

Today though was a different story, Gaius ran right into the tunnel barking like a berserker, and he then preceded to work the false den and then the rat, burring up all his time, then once the rat was removed he kept working the empty area until I came to get him out. So all he did right was to work. I can take this weekend because he hadn't done Earth Dog in a while and did run in, did work and had a hell of a lot of fun which is really what matters. 

I love just how beautiful central Virgina is, especially in the fall.

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