Last weekend Freighter was entered in a Master test. The majority of the tests in Michigan take place in summer so every summer we seem to have a steamy test day. We condition our dogs so they are used to the heat and we take precautions like bringing fans, a lot of water and easy-ups for shade.
Last weekend was one of those steamy test days. The judges were very aware of the heat and set the first series accordingly. They picked an area with no cover and some shade trees. The series had a honor, but the judges encouraged handlers to take the dog off line after they ran the set-up and before the honor to step into a shaded kiddie pool with water and to get a little drink.
The set-up was not too long so the dogs did not have to run a lot of distance. That meant that everything was squished together and there was a lot going on in a smaller area. This can be a challenge for some dogs compared to when things are spread out, but when it is hot, it is better not to make the dogs run a long distance.
The first series was a remote send, a triple with a shot flyer, double blind, both run under the arc of the marks, and an honor.
One of the most challenging parts of this test started right at the beginning because it had a remote send. Normally the dog is right next to the handler; however, with a remote send the dog is away from the handler. In this particular case, the dog was in front of the handler who was standing in a holding blind behind the dog. A dog who is prone to break (leave before being sent) can get knocked out on this because they may break their sit with no handler next to them. As far as the dogs knows, they are on their own.
If you have been following Freighter, I bet you are wondering how Freighter did on the remote send. Would he sit and wait until he was released? Would he go on his own and be out?
Not only did he sit and wait, but he only let out a couple of soft yips when the marks went down. This was a big improvement from the last test when he barked at the marks.
Because hubby was behind Freighter in the blind, he sent him from there. Freighter did an excellent job on the marks and pinned all three with no hunting.
The flyer fell in a newly cut wheat field. Sometimes dogs can have issues with changes in terrain because they will hesitate to go into the area, but Freighter did not. He has been training this.
Next Freighter retrieved the left hand bird (which was the first bird down). Hubby has been working on Freighter retrieving the two outside marks and then the middle bird and Freighter did a nice job on this.
The middle mark fell just over the rise of a hill. This kind of fall can be a bit dicey because once the dog is over the hill, they are out of sight and you hope they do not keep going. Again, Freighter had no issue with this mark which you can see made good use of available shade.
Time for the blinds.
There was a telephone pole in the field which was in the path to the blind on the right. This caused a lot of dogs to flare to the left which was an issue because the scent of the old fall from mark #2 was to the left. That scent tended to draw the dogs over to the old fall which you do not want since blowing the handler off to return to an old fall would be an NQ.
Freighter also got drawn to the left side of the pole, but hubby cast him away and he took the cast. I think it was 3 or 4 casts and he was to the blind which was very nice.
Freighter had no trouble with the left hand blind. I think he had one handle.
After a drink and a dip in the kiddie pool, Freighter was ready for the honor and he sat and watched the marks go down and then walked nicely off the line.
We were really happy with this series. Except for the lack of cover, it was set up like something Freighter might see hunting and he did a nice job on it.
Unfortunately he was out in the next series. Come back tomorrow and see what did him in.