Barn Hunt

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Participants in training classes and events may now be MASK-FREE on the property providing they can show proof of vaccination.

What is Barn Hunt? | Colin Ratcliffe Classes | Tracy Staley & Doreen Suchting Classes

What is Barn Hunt?


Simplistically, we often call it “hide and seek for dogs”. If it was just that, your dog wouldn’t need you and you wouldn’t need a training class – you could just let your dog go, and wait until he/she has finished! But BH is much more than that. It is a team sport – to be successful both you and your dog have to do their part. And that’s how I like to run my classes. We jointly train your dog to do its job, and I try to train you to do your part as well.

Colin Ratcliffe Classes

I believe that if you want to compete at the highest level, you need to start training for it from the beginning. For example, your dog does not need to be able to work independently at the Instinct and Novice levels, but even for beginner teams we will do some distance handling in class. Expect to be challenged! That way WHEN you make it to Master’s class, you can modify your dog’s skills rather than trying to un-teach them old ways and then teach them something new.

But don’t be worried that classes may be too advanced. I recognize that while I will challenge you it is also important to train at an appropriate level, and I try to adjust my teaching to match what you and your dog need. If Barn Hunt is your first venture into dog sports, you will need different training than someone who is experienced at other dog sports and is trying out Barn Hunt as an additional activity.

In each class I accommodate beginners through more advanced teams, modifying content appropriately. Classes are a combination of timed run-throughs, and training drills. I will ask you to do some homework which could be dog-specific practice, or looking at a particular BHA rule. You will soon find that as we learn the rules it will make you much more comfortable in the ring and you won’t be worried that you will do something wrong to NQ your dog. Less worry leads to more success, fun and enjoyment, and ultimately THAT’S WHAT IT IS REALLY ABOUT.

Wednesday Ongoing Classes

We are accepting 5 dog/handler teams per class!!
**On-going student applications due by March 28, 2023**
Any classes not filled will be open to New students! Will not except NEW APPLICATION until March 28th if there are openings.

Dates: April 5, 12, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7
No classes on April 19th and April 26th.

Price: $200/ 8 weeks

All classes are working on skills and Handling

Tuesday Ongoing Classes

We are accepting 4 dog/handler teams per class!
**On-going student applications due by March 28, 2023**
Any classes not filled will be open to New students! Will not except NEW APPLICATION until March 28th if there are openings.

Dates: April 4, 11, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6
No classes on April 18th and April 25th.

Price: $200 / 8 Weeks


About Colin

Colin is a codger and a Barn Hunt Association judge who enjoys both judging and competing in the ring. In his “spare” time he is a college professor and an engineering consultant who has done some amazing things totally unrelated to dogs 😊. In the dog world he has “done” Barn Hunt, conformation, agility, obedience, rally, scent work, trick dog, CGC, and other stuff. OK, none of them very well, and that’s why he understands your worries and concerns. We all want to do the best we can, but not everyone can be a superstar in every dog sport! If you are a superstar – fantastic. Otherwise, welcome to my world!

Colin loves dogs. Until recently we had four dogs tripping us up around the house. Sadly, we recently lost three within a year (all old, one died from heart disease and two from cancer), and the sole survivor now lives with my daughter Bridget in Manhattan. I now only have one new dog at home – a cute 2-year old scruff Russel terrier, Pippin. He’s a wonderful family pet, and he has been quite a challenge for barn hunting. I had to devise a special training program for him to get him hunting, and now we are working in Senior – yes, that evil class level people often get stuck in for ever! I was there for 12 months with my heart dog, Splash (Smooth Fox Terrier) before he finally qualified and then succumbed to prostate cancer. So yes, I understand your pain in Senior!

Tracy Staley and/or Doreen Suchting Classes

These sessions are reserved for NEW Branchwater students only. If you have previously attended a workshop at Branchwater but have not attended a class session, you may sign up for these classes. We are accepting FIVE Dog/Handler Teams per class.

Tuesday Classes

Intro/Novice Class: In this class, we will be testing to see if dogs have the instinct for Barn Hunt and we will be introducing rats. We will be learning/teaching our dog’s alert signals, learn to read body language, and begin to hunt rats in straw, as well as teaching our dogs to climb bales and go through tunnels.

Novice Class: Please sign up for this class if you have had experience in a Barn Hunt Class/Show outside of Branchwater, or have completed our Intro/Novice level course. In this class, we will be building upon the basics of Barn Hunt. We will continue to increase skills with identifying and marking alert signals, working together as a team, and progressively increasing efficiency and accuracy. We will also learn about a trial setting, everything from blinds to rat handlers and everything in between.

Dates: April 4, 11, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6
No classes on April 18th and April 25th.

Price: $200 / 8 Weeks
Payment due to Branchwater no later than Tuesday March 28, 2023.


About Tracy

Hello! I’m Tracy Staley and I have been in the dog sport world for 20 + years training basic manners, disc, herding, canine nose work, and since 2019, barn hunt.

I currently have 5 Branchwater border collies that compete in barn hunt – Spell, Max, Fanta, Baby Charm and Wish.

…. And I must say they keep life interesting with all the different personalities and styles in how they hunt. I believe challenges of adapting to their different styles has made me a better handler. I also, after many years, managed to get my husband Jeff to join in and help with barn hunt. He has a blast helping with the trials – building courses, wrangling rats, and sometimes running Spell.

Spell is RATCH x4, Max is RATCH x2, Fanta has her RATCH, and Baby Charm and Wish have earned their RATM.

When not competing in or training canine sports, I enjoy being outdoors and hiking with the dogs.

About Doreen

After having her first border collie over forty years ago, Doreen fell in love with the breed and has since built up a foundation of breeding dogs that are hardworking and kind. Doreen first started with using them as herding dogs for cattle, and began teaching obedience classes in the early 90’s. Following that, she ventured into the dog agility world and began instructing and competing. She competed on a national level multiple times, and has since been able to travel all over the country to compete in various canine sports.

She has most recently fallen in love with a newer sport, Barn Hunt. She began competing in 2019 with her dog, Kindle, aka the “one toed wonder, aka “BWBC Set the World on Fire,” under the guidance of Colin Ratcliffe. Doreen and Kindle’s first time competing at the national level was 2021 at the Barn Hunt National, and they finished in 19th place. The Regional Competition in 2022, she finished in 11th place overall, and at the 2022 Barn Hunt National received a Bronze Medal for placing 3rd overall. For that same competition, for the Team event, Kindle and Doreen, alongside fellow handler Janet Gauntt and dog Johnny B, placed 13th out of 60+ teams that competed. For Hurdles, Doreen and Kindle placed 33rd out of 144 dogs. Based off all the placings, Doreen and Kindle achieved a Silver Medal in Versatility.