Hunt test: Bottom line........we got the pass! So now we have three toward the Junior Hunter title. We need one more. But if you've got the patience, read on to see what happened to us!
I left at 5:30. No real problems getting there, but a few smallish difficulties finding the test area on the ranch. But I was still in time (BARELY) for the handler's meeting which is where the judges explain how they've set the test up and what they want you to do. Not necessary to be there for that, but a good idea. I got to run about 1/3 of the way down the order in the morning. There were 52 dogs. Morning was the land series. The first throw was about 60 yards away. Landed on the far side of a little rise so dogs couldn't see it once it fell. No problem. The second was clearly visible on the ground, but the dog had to go down through a ravine to get to it, so lost sight of it while he was on the way. Again no problem. I remembered all the rules about leash completely in the pocket, no talking once I've called for the bird, no touching of him until I've taken the bird. Judges said "good job" and some people clapped so I figured we'd passed that section.
Water was in the afternoon. A smallish pond. The first throw fell directly in the water about halfway across. An easy mark. The second one was on the other end and was hand thrown. It was supposed to land on top of the bank. Not visible, but still right on top. Some people got a lucky throw which landed on this side of the bank at the edge of the water, so the dog could see it, and some got a worse throw which landed on the far side of the bank/berm. Dog could not see it, and once the dog crossed the berm the handler could not see the dog.
I was not so lucky in running order. I was about three from the end. Waiting and waiting! There was an old man there who was sort of a loud mouth. Sat around in the gallery (where the observers sit, lawn chairs) all afternoon WITH his dog with him. That is NOT ok. The dogs are not supposed to see the marks ahead of time. The judges had even made us move some of our cars so the dogs couldn't see! But no one said anything to him about sitting there with his dog! Weird. He's talking off and on all afternoon about how he's been running field trials for THIRTY years! So he for sure should have known better. Anyway he is running the water marks right before me. He's number 31, I'm number 34. His dog does them well. (I guess so!). He leaves with his dog, going to put him back up I guess in his truck.
I am called to the line. Go up there, leash off, call for the first bird (this is the one that is thrown directly out into the middle of the pond, clearly visible), gun goes off (they were using howitzers I think. BIG booms!) bird flies out, plops in the water. All very exciting to dogs! I send Sam. He makes his usual Oh, my favorite! splashing leap, and starts swimming madly toward the bird. Then I hear, "NO, Jake!!! NO, NO, HERE!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the next thing I know there is another dog in the water swimming on an angle toward Sam and the mark. Oh, dear. Serious problem. The old man has somehow let his dog get away from him, and the dog is headed for Sam's bird. Sam is headed for Sam's bird. All this is happening very quickly. i looked at the judge, she says "CAN you call your dog back?" I said yes. She said "then do it". Sam is about 10 feet from the bird now, so is Jake. I start with the come whistle and HERE. Sam turns around in the water and looks at me like "you want me to WHAT?????" I privately agreed with him, but blew COME again with a verbal serious HERE and that most excellent, obedient GOOD dog turned in the water and swam back to me, without the bird, totally ignoring the other dog, who proceeded on and retrieved it. I was so proud of Sam!
Now I suspect hard core field trialers would say that Sam's obedience would indicate a lack of desire. That the dog should want to get the bird NO MATTER WHAT. And maybe so. But I am not a field trialer and my opinion is that my dog should be obedient first! And he was.
I just can't convey how totally delighted I was with him, when he turned around, giving up what he's been trained to do, and what he WANTS to do, with no understanding of why, other than I said to. The judge told us to move back in the line however far I wanted to, to give him a break (and me!) so I moved back to the furtherest away holding blind. He was calm, sat by me nicely, we came back up to the line, and he got the marks with no problem. So we passed!
You know it's nice to get the passes, and it's nice to get the titles, but what I am REALLY getting out of this is the total pleasure of seeing the hearts of some of these great dogs. They just continue to amaze me.
That's so awesome! Congratulations on your success!!
Good boy Sam!! Congrats!
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
I would be very proud of Sam too. Congrats on the pass and big congrats on the obedience!! ;D
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
Wanted to say congrats!
That's what it is all about isn't it. I am glad you passed, but glad that you had the opportunity to see what your dog is REALLY made up of, and how much he respects you.
We were at a dog show all weekend, a benched show with 100,000 people visiting over the two days, dogs have to stay and let me tell you, my Ruby, though she didn't bring home any blue or purple made me so proud, just playing and socializing and loving on every person who stopped to pat her big old head.
She makes me proud because she is so Labrador, and it sounds like Sam is too.
YEA for Sam Dog and YOU!!! I am proud of both of you!
GREAT job, Sam and Frances, very well done. Congratulations to both of you.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I agree that obedience is key and the fact that he came mid-retrieve is a testament to your training. Good job and good luck on your final pass.
Good job SAM!!! You should be so proud of him!