Saturday’s Land Test was fairly straight forward, but the afternoon water portion was a challenge.
The land had a walk-up, land double with a shot flier and a dead bird and a land blind.
The challenging part of this test was the walk-up and the shot flier going off fairly close to the dog. If the dog was prone to break, this was a huge temptation. The dead bird was right on the edge of some corn and a couple of dogs hunted around the edge of the corn, but none really got sucked into that. The blind was tough just because it was difficult to see the ribbon that marked it. Otherwise it was a fairly straight forward “hot” blind, (meaning that it was placed in the field before the working dog started the test).
Thunder did really well on this. His whistle sit on the walk-up was solid and he had no trouble with the marks. I think he had two handles to the blind. It was similar to those he was running in HRC, but longer.
Storm ran toward the end because she was with her trainer/handler and he was running dogs at other stakes. We tried to stay out of sight of her so we watched from a hill, (which meant no pictures). She did fine on the test. The last AKC test she broke, but she sat fine on this walk-up and fetched her marks and ran her blind. In AKC the dog doesn’t automatically get called back to water. If they were to score a zero on something then they would not get a “call-back”. Both our dogs received call backs to water.
The afternoon water series was tough. It was a water double, a water blind, a diversion shot and an honor.
The tough part was the water double. It was tough because the marks were close together. To the dog, it almost looked like it was in a line and the “memory” bird was not always visible to the dog from the line depending on where it fell. While Master dogs should be able to pull this off, it can be a challenge for Senior level dogs. Many of the dogs split the difference between the two marks and docked on the land half way between them. Eventually they swung back and found that first “go” mark. However, when sent to the second (memory or long) mark, they often did not push far enough past the first mark (which they needed to swim well past). Once on the bank, it was too easy for them to get lost in the high cover where the handler could not see them and hook around so that when they popped out they were at the old fall, which was a fail. We watched dog after dog do this.
We were lucky because the Marshall decided to run the pro’s dogs first so they could go off to other stakes. Our trainer ran Storm and a Flat Coat, Jack, before Thunder had to run. He sent both dogs “fat” (or wide) of that bank for the memory mark. His plan was not to let them get on that bank at all until they were right at the tip of the point. Storm did really well on these marks. She marked the first bird and was handled to the second. I was able to finally get some pictures of her work because I could blend in to the gallery which was nowhere near the dogs, but with a good view of the marks.
Storm ignored the diversion shot and did fine on the water blind. I mentioned yesterday that we were close to the Masters test and the wind was carrying the sound of the guns and the whistles to where we were running water. At one point Storm heard a whistle and turned to look, but it wasn’t her handler’s whistle but one from the Master test. However she got back on track and handled nicely to the blind. She did well on the honor. A pass for her! Thanks again Darrin aka “The Legend”.
When it was Thunder’s turn, his handler’s plan was to do what our trainer did and keep Thunder off the bank for the memory bird. Thunder nailed the “Go” bird. Straight out and back…no hunt…no problem. When it came to the memory bird, he was a little tentative. I think he knew it was out there and that it was in a different place than the first bird, but he just wasn’t sure, (it was a big test for his first test). He was more than happy to let his handler guide him to that mark. I think his hunting experience paid off here because he was not as fixed as some dogs were on the idea that the bird was where he had picked up the first one. Many times while hunting he has had to dig out birds in close proximity to where he had just picked up another. He knows he has to go to a different spot. His handler did a really clean job handling to the memory bird and before long he had it. When the diversion shot went off he stretched his head up tall to see if there was another bird, but gave up on that quickly and returned to his handler.
His blind work was OK. He wanted to dock a bit early on the weeds, but his handler worked him through that. His honor was fine and he earned a pass which was wonderful for his first entry and a very challenging Senior test. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of Thunder’s water because I moved to a spot in the shade where I could see the test but it was not good for pictures.
Many thanks to the judges for judging our dogs and to Marshbanks Golden Retriever Club for holding the test and putting on a nice dinner that evening.
I will post Sunday’s test pictures and details later this week.
While the east coast was dealing with Hurricane Irene, we had great weather for the hunt tests this past weekend. It was warm on Saturday, but fair. Sunday, Irene sent us some wind for the afternoon, but it was otherwise a beautiful day. The judges had to change-up the water marks a bit on Sunday afternoon due to the wind, but it was mostly sunny and nice and cool.
We were fairly close to the Masters test on Saturday morning so I used my zoom (on my point and shoot camera) and got this picture.
It was a great weekend because both Thunder and Storm passed both days and brought home four ribbons.
Thanks to Darrin of Farpoint Retrievers for helping us with Thunder’s training and doing such a great job training and handling Storm to two more passes. One more and she has her title. Congrats to all of the other “Farpointers”. Lots of passes this week at Junior, Senior and Master. Darrin trained and/or helped train five different breeds to passes/titles this past weekend…lab, golden, flat coat, chessie and an awesome standard poodle. Quite impressive!
Congrats Thunder and his trainer/owner/handler who earned qualifying scores in the first two Senior tests that they entered. Great job!
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture of Storm. Test details and pictures to come.
I hope everyone in the path of Irene made it through OK.
This week’s Sunday Still’s photo challenge is Pests and Things that Annoy You.