Freighter ran the American Chesapeake Club’s Working Dog Qualified (WDQ) stake last weekend. He was the only WDQ dog running on this particular day.
It was a cool day with periods of rain and then a peek of sun. Of course just as Freighter started to run the first series, it was raining so I took photos from underneath an umbrella.
Normally the first series of a WDQ test is a land double with a shot flyer and a dead bird and then a land blind. (A double is where the dogs watch two ducks fall in the field and a blind is where the a duck is placed in the field but the dog does not watch it being placed and must rely on its handler to direct it to the bird using whistles and arm signals.)
The WDQ test that Freighter ran was a bit different because he only ran two land marks as part of the first series. The judges felt that the field was not safe on one side because there were some large holes. Rather then risk an injury, they moved the land blind to the second series.
Even without the land blind, this was not a “gimme” land series. The cover in this field was fairly high and the shot flyer was way to the back of a tree-lined the field. It was raining and fairly dark out so the ducks were a bit difficult to see against the dark background.
Also, the dogs had to cross a ditch to get to the memory bird (which was the first bird they saw fall). To a dog, a ditch is like a natural fence (or hazard) and some dogs will not cross it, or realize that they have to push past it to get to the bird. For this test, the people throwing the birds wear white, which does help the dogs to get out to where they are throwing the birds.
Freighter was nice and steady for these marks and sat nicely until hubby released him.
Freighter put on a little hunt for the flyer. There must have been a lot of scent in the field and he needed to push a bit farther out to the back of the field. He did a nice job on the memory bird and pushed across the ditch to retrieve it.
On to the next series.
The next series was a combination land water triple with a water blind and a land blind. The water blind was a hot blind meaning that it was placed in the field before the marks were thrown.
First up for Freighter was the triple-one mark on land and two in the water. Because of the way the test was configured, Freighter had to pivot with his handler 180 degrees to see the marks. Hubby has been working on Freighter to stay sitting as marks go off. Hubby has also been working on Freighter pivoting with him as he turns his body. The result was Freighter basically tuning into a pretzel because he was trying to keep his butt on the ground and pivot at the same time. Eventually he will learn how to do both together, but it was funny to watch.
Once the marks were down and the judges released Freighter, hubby straightened him out so could run the marks. Hubby lined him to each mark and Freighter did a good job taking the line he was given. He did need to put on a big hunt for mark #2. There was a lot of wind which pushed the duck over and to the very edge of the pond. There were some ducks in the adjoining pond which messed with him a bit, but eventually he got the bird.
I was kind of worried that after all that hunting on mark #2, he would totally forget where that land mark was since it was the first one he watched (mark #1). But Freighter remembered exactly where it was went right to it.
Next up for Freighter was the water blind. Normally the blinds for WDQ tests are outside of the marks, but this one required the dog to go in between the marks and get up on land to get to the blind. Freighter had to go right past mark #3 to get to the blind, but that was no problem for him. He carried the line all the way across the pond. Hubby put a handle on Freighter once he hit land just to remind him that he was still there.
The last thing Freighter had to comlete was the land blind. This was a challenge because he had to pass very close to where he picked up the land mark. Freighter needed about 4 handles. He kept trying to dig over to where he picked up the land mark, but all in all it was a nice job.
The test completed, he earned his Working Dog Qualified certification from the American Chesapeake Club. The test was challenging, but really good experience for Freighter who will be trying another Master test this weekend.
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