The Terrierman has posted a fantastic article that he wrote for Dog World magazine on earthdog trials also known as “go to ground.” Everything, including the tunnels and the caged rats, is explained very clearly (not the case in a lot of other articles) and you come away wanting to sign up your Dachshund.
Owning a terrier without ever seeing it work is a little like owning a bottle of wine only to read the label. People do such things, but what a lot they are missing!
After all, it’s not like terriers were created to cruise kitchen linoleum to scarf up lost cookie dough. You can put a bucket of show ring rosettes out in a field, and your dog will not take a second sniff. On the other hand, your dog may stare out the window all day in the hope of catching the mere glimpse of a squirrel. A terrier is, first and foremost, a working dog and a terrier is happiest when given some chance to work.
Once you’re feeling guilty about your dog’s urban existence, Terrierman turns on the inspiration:
The good news is that in 1971 Patricia Adams Lent, a breeder of Lakeland, Cairn and Border terriers, founded the American Working Terrier Association (AWTA), and created a new kind of sport called “go-to-ground,” which involves terriers and dachshunds entering a simple underground maze in order to locate caged rats. AWTA earthdog trials were first copied by the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (1976) and then by the American Kennel Club (1994). Today variations on this type of trial can be found in Denmark, Germany, Spain, Canada, Sweden, and Finland.
From the beginning, the goal of go-to-ground trials has been to be as inclusive as possible. Scottish Terriers, West Highland Whites, Cairns, Dandie Dinmonts, Norfolks, Norwich’s, Australian terriers, Border Terriers, Fox Terriers, Parson and Jack Russell Terriers, Lakelands, Welsh Terriers and Bedlington’s are all welcome at AKC and AWTA go-to-ground trials, as are miniature and standard dachshunds. The goal is not to replicate actual hunting, but to give people an opportunity to have a little fun with the dogs, and perhaps give Kennel Club terrier and dachshund owners some idea of what their dog’s “prey drive” is supposed to be about.
Go read the whole article.