Johnnycash
we Recently moved up to senior and my dog refuses to tunnel because he is hung up on searching for rats after he has already found the 4. He will keep pacing around smelling and winds up with a NQ even though he did everything but the tunnel within a minute and a half. We spend a full 2 minutes trying to tunnel to no avail. I know the tunnels are more complicated at this level so perhaps it being darker could be an issue, but I tend to think it’s because the thrill to seek rats is more valuable than the tunnel. We have an agility tunnel at home and he has no problem with that but I don’t think that compares to BH tunnels as they are so different. Any tips on how to overcome this? Thanks! 
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Helene Shryock HeleneShryock BHAJ-262A
I had this same problem, so I proofed the tunnel. My boy must tunnel before playing the rat hunting game. We practiced the tunnel by going on the ring with no rats and played only tunnel games.  I took toys at first once he tunne led he was rewarded with his toy. We started with an open tunnel then moved to the bigger tunnels once we proofed the easier tunnels. Then once this was proofed. While in the tunnel someone would hand a rat over the fence and magically a rat would be on the course once he exited the tunnel. Then once that was proofed. I would place a rat along his path toward the tunnel and give him a correction then the tunnel command, and as he exited the tunnel I give him his hunt command. Now he enters the ring goes straight to tunnel and when he exits he usually goes straight to a rat. 
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Pam Opanowitz BHAJ-100A
I like this Helene and may steal it for a few people who need it.

I teach that the tunnel command (any word or command a handler chooses) means go in and find the other opening.  We always give rats as rewards when the dog successfully tunnels.   Tunneling is also a low energy effort so lower your excitement, lower your voice.   You must break the dog out of hunting mode before asking for the tunnel.  Once you get them focused on you in a low energy low voice ask for the tunnel.  

Helene's method is similar but she does the tunnel before giving the hunt command so basically before the dog goes into hunt mode.   

No one method works for all dogs.  You must find what works for you and your dog. 
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Kathy Marble-Brown BHAJ-183A

Train the tunnel to be high value.  Use the rat as the reward after the tunnel is completed in practice.  Raise the value when the dog is doing well to have the dog enter the tunnel with the rat at the opening. 

Tunnels are darker in Senior but what I see mostly is inconsistency in the command asked upon the dog.

For example:  Dog is asked to tunnel several times. Dog refuses to tunnel but goes off to hunt. Handler says ok find a rat.  

 This scenario may not be your exact issue, however, a command to perform a task should never become the dog’s decision to overlook and head off to self reward.

Have a plan and train to make the tunnel high value.  This situation of not tunneling will not be corrected with trialing only.  

Good luck, keep it fun and have a party when your dog tunnels!  

 

 

Kathy Marble-Brown 
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Harriska2
I had a similar problem with go-to-ground. In that event, the dog can just sidestep the tunnel altogether and go right to the rat. So I had to teach impulse control. I had a mouse in a tube that he could see at the other end of the tunnel but he had to go through the tunnel to get to it. I put him at the front of the tunnel and gave the command “tunnel.” If he couldn’t help himself (he is a jack russell) and just went around, the tube was picked up by a partner. Eventually he learned that to get to the critter he had to go through the tunnel. Also put treats inside the tunnel. My tunnels are only 9 inches big and 16 feet long so I started with just a 4 ft section. That method seemed to have transitioned to barn hunt as I don’t seem to have a tunnel problem (so far).
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LindaInBend
Have you noticed your body language? When rat wrangling, I noticed that many participants have an upward swing of their arm when encouraging their dog dog to tunnel, hence the dog jumps above the tunnel. If this is the case, I suggest keeping your indicating finger just a few inches off the ground which keeps the dog's nose low and in a better position to enter a tunnel.
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Dianne Anstine BHAJ-234A
I have a dog who thinks tunnels are boring and it should be all about the hunting game.  We retrained so that we started with a tunnel (no choice, must tunnel) and the reward for tunneling was to do fun stuff.  This training started with rearranged furniture to tunnel if he wanted his food bowl.  Then I had a load of hay delivered and we built scary tunnels in our suburban back yard and tunneled for a toy reward.  Then we went to practice, and tunneled to play hunt the rats game.  Then we went to a trial and may have spent more than one trial standing at the tunnel opening for our 3.30:00 of ring time.  Then we decided we should just do our tunnels so we could play hunt the rats game!  And he did indeed get his RATS title (when it was always at least a 2 turn tunnel).
~ dianne anstine
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Anka_A
That is an excellent observation and great suggestions. Thank you, Linda!


LindaInBend wrote:
Have you noticed your body language? When rat wrangling, I noticed that many participants have an upward swing of their arm when encouraging their dog dog to tunnel, hence the dog jumps above the tunnel. If this is the case, I suggest keeping your indicating finger just a few inches off the ground which keeps the dog's nose low and in a better position to enter a tunnel.
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Johnnycash
These are all great replies and thank you for the ideas. Quite a few of you had pointed out problems on my end. He does jump up on the hay bales because I’m not pointing low enough, I do allow him to ignore the tunnel command and keep hunting (since we can’t touch them during trials and we don’t have a place to practice), and my energy is excited and enthusiastic while commanding tunnel. With all the great suggestions I think I’m going to have to find a place to do some practices (even if it’s a few hours away) before competing again to get this worked out. Thanks everyone!
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