Storm participated in her first Hunting Retriever Club hunt test this past weekend. The main differences between the HRC and the AKC Hunt Tests is that the HRC test tries to simulate actual hunting situations. For the HRC Test, a popper gun is fired over the dog (as it would be in hunting), whereas in the AKC test the popper gun is fired 50-100 yards out in the field.
At the Started level the handler has the option of steadying the dog at the line with gentle restraint on the collar rather than firing the gun. At higher levels, the dog must be steady and the handler must fire the gun. Also in HRC, the handler is much more likely to be seated on a bucket or sitting in a boat or standing in water. There are other differences such as: the dog doesn’t have to deliver to hand at the Started level, and the marks are a bit shorter in keeping with simulating real hunting scenarios.
One big difference between the AKC and the HRC Hunt Tests is how the tests are conducted. The AKC Hunt Test usually always has the land portion of the test in the morning session. Only dogs who have passed that session are allowed to do the water portion of the test. For the HRC test, the dogs complete all portions of the test regardless of their performance (barring any disqualification). Therefore, HRC will sometimes do the water portion in the morning and land in the afternoon (this was the case with Saturday’s test).
A funny thing happened during Sunday’s land test (which was before the water portion on that day). Storm is not really used to an extra person being on the line (the gunner). Sunday’s land test had the handler seated on a bucket. No problem for Storm, she went right out an fetched her duck and zoomed back.
However, on her return, the handler was still seated on the bucket and the gunner was standing. To Storm, the gunner must have looked very similar to her handler because in all the excitement, she headed straight for the gunner. She heeled right next to him and started to sit then looked up and jumped…THAT’S NOT HIM.
She then high tailed it back to her handler (much to his relief!). She didn’t make that mistake during the afternoon portion of the test. Storm was rewarded for her hard work with two Started Hunter passes. Yay for Storm!