Sanctioned Go-To-Ground and Sanctioned Super Earth classes have some similarities, but are actually very different from each other in many respects.
What are the similarities between Go-To-Ground and Super Earth?
Both events are run using a tunnel approximately ten inches square that are scented with rat scent. At the end of each tunnel, there will be safely caged rats which the terrier must reach and work.
Both events will have a Steward who will take your paperwork and check off your terrier's name when it is your turn to run your terrier through the tunnel. The terrier enters the tunnel with the goal that it will navigate the tunnel to reach the caged rats at the opposite end of entry within the time limit and then work the quarry for the specified time.
A Sanctioned Go-To-Ground judge is at the end of the tunnel by the caged rats. The Judge will signal when he/she is ready for you to release your dog. The dog must be released at a starting line approximately two feet from the entrance to the tunnel and must have all four feet on the ground when it is released. Not releasing your terrier according to the specified guidelines will be a disqualification.
The Judge records the length of time it takes the terrier to reach the quarry (rats) from the time it is released, and then times the terrier as it "works" the quarry. Each event has specified times for the terrier to reach the quarry and specified times that the terrier must "work" the quarry. If the time to reach the quarry is exceeded, the terrier is disqualified. If the terrier does not work the quarry for the specified time, that also is a disqualification.
The six fastest qualifying times in each class are awarded ribbons. The two fastest times in the Championship classes, open only to those terriers which have advanced to this level, will be Champion and Reserve Champion respectively for that class.
What are the differences between Go-To-Ground and Super Earth?
Go-To-Ground is a required event at all JRTCA Sanctioned Trials, meaning it must be offered. Super Earth is an optional event, meaning it may or may not be offered at any given trial.
Go-To-Ground uses shorter tunnels with fewer turns than Super Earth. The specifications for each will be stated.
The time allowed for the terrier to reach the quarry for these two events differs as well. Go-To-Ground has two different lengths of tunnel that are used and each length and class has a specified time limit. Super Earth tunnels are longer than the longest Go-To-Ground tunnel and are timed according to the length of the tunnel. The allotted time for completing the Super Earth tunnel will vary from trial to trial depending on the length of the tunnel they are using.
Go-To-Ground tunnels will have no obstacles within the tunnel that the terrier will have to negotiate. Super Earth tunnels may have false entrances, den-like chambers and obstacles within the tunnel. Only natural obstacles may be used. (No bungee cords, tires, PVC pipe, etc. are allowed.) Natural obstacles would be things that the terrier might encounter in a hunting environment if it entered a natural sette.
While Go-To-Ground becomes somewhat of a "race" through the tunnel as the terrier becomes experienced, Super Earth is designed so that the terrier uses its senses and its brains to navigate the tunnel.
What are the tunnel specifications?
Go-To-Ground has two different lengths of tunnel that are specified. The Pre-Novice and Novice classes will be run through a 10 foot tunnel with one bend. The Open and Certificate classes will be run through a 30 foot tunnel, usually with two to three bends. No obstacles are to be used in these tunnels.
The Super Earth tunnel will be the same length for all classes at a given trial but will vary from trial to trial. It must be longer than the Open and Certificate Go-To-Ground tunnel and have a minimum of five turns. False entrances, den-like chambers and natural obstacles may be used in the tunnel.
What is the allowed time for a terrier to complete the tunnels and the time required for the terrier to work the quarry once it is reached?
Go-To-Ground timing depends on the class in which the terrier is entered. The breakdown is as follows:
- *Pre-Novice Puppy Class is run thru the 10 foot tunnel. The puppies are allowed one minute to reach the quarry and must work the quarry for 15 seconds without a break in work once it is reached.
- *Note: Pre-Novice Puppy is an optional class and may or may not be offered at a trial. It is for Puppies aged 4 up to 6 months of age. Entry into this class will not affect a puppy's eligibility to enter the Novice class after 6 months of age.
- Novice Puppy and Novice Adult classes allow the terrier one minute to reach the quarry and they must work the quarry for 30 seconds without a break in work. These classes are run through the 10 foot tunnel.
- Open Puppy and Open Adult classes are run through the 30 foot tunnel. They are allowed 30 seconds to reach the quarry, may leave and re-enter the tunnel one time, and must work the quarry without interruption for one minute.
- Championship Puppy and Championship Adult Certificate classes are run through the 30 foot tunnel. They are allowed 30 seconds to reach the quarry and must work the quarry for one minute. Terriers in the Adult Certificate classes are not allowed to leave the tunnel once they have entered. Terriers in the Puppy Championship class are allowed to leave and re-enter one time.
- Super Earth timing is determined solely by the length of the tunnel. The timing for each class is the same. They are allowed 30 seconds per 30 feet of tunnel and must work the quarry for one minute. The terrier is allowed to exit and re-enter the tunnel unlimited times until the quarry is reached or until the time allowed is exceeded.
What are the requirements for entry into each of the classes?
For Go-To-Ground the requirements are as follows:
Both Novice Puppy and Novice Adult classes are for terriers which have not scored 100% in the Novice class at any sanctioned trial. If, at a given trial, they score 100%, they may advance and compete in the Open class at the same trial if the owner wishes and pays the additional class fee. But once passed, the terrier may not compete in the Novice class at any future trial.
Open Puppy and Open Adult classes are for terriers that have previously scored 100% in a Novice GTG class.
If a puppy scores 100% in Open Puppy class, it may be entered in the Puppy Championship class at the same trial if the owner wishes and pays the additional class fee. A copy of the 100% Open Puppy Class sheet must be presented when entering the Puppy Championship class, whether at the same trial or at a future trial.
Open Adult terriers earning 100% in the Open class must submit the score sheet with the appropriate fee and receive a GTG Trial Certificate before the owner can enter the terrier in the Adult Championship class. In order to receive the Certificate, the terrier must be registered or recorded with the JRTCA. Until a Certificate is received, the terrier may continue to participate in the Open GTG class.
Championship Classes are for those terriers that have scored 100% in an Open GTG class. In the case of terriers over the age of twelve months, a Trial Certificate from the JRTCA is required before being eligible to enter the Championship class.
Please note: Certificates issued by the Canadian Club are not honored as their GTG rules differ from those of the JRTCA.
Super Earth Classes
Super Earth is not divided by Novice, Open and Certificate classes, but rather has only Open and Certificate classes. The Certificate classes are for adult terriers only and require a Super Earth Certificate be issued by the JRTCA before the terrier is eligible to enter the Certificate classes. Submission of a 100% Open Super Earth score sheet along with the appropriate fee is required. Only terriers that are registered or recorded with the JRTCA are eligible to receive the certificate. Until then, the terrier may continue to be entered in the Open Super Earth class.
If you are in a situation to do so, build or have someone build a short length of tunnel (5 feet) and get a rat, put it in a cage at the end of the tunnel, and work with your terrier. Once it gets used to going into the short length of tunnel, it will most likely naturally bark at the caged rat. If you can't do this, attend fun days that might be held in your area. These are usually designed for schooling novice terriers by letting them play the games. If that is not possible, don't be afraid to attend a trial and enter the Novice class. Some terriers catch on immediately while others may take a time or two, but with some patience your terrier may be a ribbon winner before you know it!
By Tandee Morris - Article from Spring 2014 True Grit
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