Kris Fletcher KrisFletcher
I was taling with an exhibitor who recently attended a trial.  Her dog was running at the Senior level.  The u-tunnel was not on the ground level.  It was one bale up.  She was surprisesd to see a tunnel with that configuration.  The problem she encountered was that while going in the tunnel, her dog's legs kept falling between the bales (at least where she could see in the entrance and exit).  She has a dog in the large division. While she understood that dogs did climb up multiple layers of bales during a trial and they could step between two bales when doing so, that was done in visible areas where she and others in and around the ring could see the dog.  But in the length of the tunnel, her dog was out of sight and no one could see if there was any issue that the dog may be having with a leg falling between two bales.  So she was asking me if I had ever seen that type of configuration and wondered since BHA is very safety aware, if this wouldn't be considered a safety issue.  She was not compaining in the sense that she felt the raised tunnel prevented her dog from getting a leg.  In fact, she did not say how the dog did on the run.

I had not seen anything like this, but I don't go to very many trials and decided to post here to gain a better understanding on this type of configuration.  I do help people with their dogs during training/practice sessions and want to better understand the configuration.  Some day my dog may have reached the Senior level so it is important to me on a personal note too.
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Jennifer Giacchi BHAJ-242B
Per the competitor rulebook under Senior and Master (page 22 and 23):
The official tunnel may be either on the ground or elevated.

I don’t see it often, but I have seen elevated tunnels before. 🙂
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Dianne Anstine BHAJ-234A
You can read more about tunnels in the judges rulebook part 15 starting on page 17.  https://www.barnhunt.com/rules/barnhunt_judgerules_2019.pdf  All tunnels are covered by boards for the entire length.  Therefore, it is not possible that a dog's legs could fall between bales out of sight because the dogs legs are traveling along boards.

Upper level tunnels are quite fun!  They are unusual, so many dogs will wander in to check out the novelty.
~ dianne anstine
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MikeF126


i think the question is about the floor of the tunnel, not the top. I have been to trials recently where bales had what seems to me to be excessive/loosely filled bale gaps that my dogs slipped into. If there were gaps like that in exposed parts of the course, I would be concerned that a second level tunnel floor might also have gaps.
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Sharon Webb Sharon Webb



Dianne - she is talking about an upper level tunnel built on the first layer- no boards, just bales. 

That being said, when I build an upper level tunnel on ground floor bales, I always lay boards down on the bales and then I build my tunnel. This does 2 things 1) stabilizes the tunnel and 2) keeps dogs from falling in holes

Sharon Webb
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Liz Hawkins BHAJ-164A
I used raised tunnels occasionally.  If I have enough boards at my disposal I will use them for the floor. If not, we stuff the interior as tightly as possible and shove the bales as close as we can. I am also concerned about boards shifting and possibly causing a pinching hazard. I had considered tarping the interior but I am not entirely sure about that either. I find most exhibitors appreciate the novelty and agree that dogs will investigate out of curiosity
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Victoria Hall BHAJ-149A
We make sure any gaps are stuffed tight with loose straw so it eliminates a leg going into a gap.  Bales aren't perfectly square so this is necessary.  But, elevated tunnels are fun and some dogs even seem to like them better. 
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NicholeCrossley
We make sure any gaps are stuffed tight with loose straw so it eliminates a leg going into a gap.  Bales aren't perfectly square so this is necessary.  But, elevated tunnels are fun and some dogs even seem to like them better. 


I believe it was at your trial, Victoria, there was an older GSD there that preferred the raised tunnels and practically REFUSED base layer tunnels.  I had lots of success with a second layer tunnel at the trial I judged this weekend.  Definitely a novelty the dogs enjoyed.

I lined the bottom of the second layer tunnel with boards.
Nichole Crossley
McCall, Idaho
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