Happy Ratters General Rules


  • Any breed or mix breed.
  • Age 6 months. Must be registered with Happy Ratters.
  • Dogs in heat run at end of class. Must wear panties.


  • anyone over 5 years.
  • Good sportsmanship must be exhibited at all times.


  • Dogs in wheelchairs allowed.
  • 3 legged dogs allowed.
  • Deaf dogs allowed.
  • Judge may ask handler and dog to leave if dog seems to be in distress.

Dogs showing signs of aggression toward people or other dogs will not be allowed.

Judge has final say in rings. Videotaping will not be used for scoring purposes. Videotaping may be used for timing purposes in case of a timer malfunction.

When competing dogs must be off leash and run naked. An exception is made for dogs in wheelchairs.

Small dogs may be picked up and held if the rat is being removed. The handler may not move from position until the dog is placed on the ground.

Handler must ask judge if they want to move items out of the way. Otherwise no touching items.

Treats are allowed. Faults for dropped treats.

All must have fun!!!!

Praise is a must! Food, toy, petting and/or verbal are all praise. Remember to take that moment when the rat is found to connect with your dog and let them know how special they are.

Rule Specifics:

Faults – -10 points

  • Dropping Food
  • Physically assisting the dogs
  • False Alert (hander and dog may keep searching)
  • Moving items without asking judges permission
  • Luring
  • Chasing steward (see below)

Points accumulate towards titles and medallions, see the titling page.

Dogs may drop a level at any time, but may only compete in one level on any given day.

Bonus Points: A judge may offer 10 bonus points for dogs that hunt well on their own, and also dogs that take direction well.

Obstacle Performance:

  • Bridge, all four feet must get on the bridge.  At the ratter and happy ratter levels, may be plywood or boards on the ground, dog car ramp on the ground, low agility table, Klimb® table, a pvc ladder on the ground, at the Expert and above levels the WagIt® bridge may be used, bang it boards, or a secured teeter (tip no more than 6″) or 2×12 board up to 8’ long no more than 12” off the ground. (all boards and planks must be secured for safety).
  • Burrow, all four feet must go through or in the burrow (through burrow is a tunnel like structure). At the Ratter and Happy Ratter Levels the through burrows are 3 feet in length or less. At the expert level Through Burrows can be up to 10 feet. At the champion and extraordinaire level through burrows can be up to 20 feet.  Burrows may be agility chute houses, secured lawn/leaf bags , large secured trashcans (dead ended) at the ratter and happy ratter level.  At the expert and above, agility tunnels are also used.
  • Containers: At the Ratter and Happy Ratter Levels, Rat Containers may be somewhat visible. At the expert and above level, containers are concealed from sight.
  • Rat Removal – may be removed at any time from search area, not just when they are found.
  • Removing Containers Any container may be removed.  Dog must be restrained and kept 3′ away from the container as the (Judge/Judge Steward/person) removes the container.  If a dog will NOT chase after the person removing the container,  they may be released to hunt.  If a dog chases the person it is a 10 point fault, if a dog jumps at/on the steward/judge/person it is a 20 point fault.  If a dog bites clothing or steward/judge/person, this is an NQ and the dog is removed from the hunt area.
  • Timing: there is a 30 second warning at all levels.
  • Food Rewards are allowed at the rat, after completing a burrow and or a bridge. Food is NOT to be used as a lure. Luring is a fault, 10 points each occurrence.

Judges may not have food of any kind on them.

Aggression is not tolerated and includes actual contact, multiple lunging or excessive barking/growling.