When I was training Murray this weekend, my friend's friend was watching (she does a lot of hunt type activities with her dogs).* She said she was very impressed with Murray's retrieves. She said "see if he'll retrieve one of these" and handed me a training dummy.* I laughed and said "if I throw it, he will retrieve it". I told him to stay, threw the bumper and he sat beside me leaning forward and quivering with excitement.* I purposely waited a little longer than usual before sending him because she wanted to see what he would do. He finally couldn't contain his excitement anymore and broke. She said he has the natural drive to be a really good retriever and that he could probably get a senior hunter title in no time because of his obedience skills. She wants me to bring him to the next field training session (only once/month) to see how he does.* I'm really torn. I've always wanted to see if Murray could do what he is bred to do but I really don't want to kill birds just to find out.* :'(
Go do it. It is so much fun and the dogs really enjoy it.
The first time I went I was very squeamish about the dead birds (we used pigeons). Even now I won't handle them without gloves on.. and I don't really like it... but I will do it because Ruger REALLY seems to enjoy it. Haven't trained him for JH yet... but probably would if we didn't have so many alligators in our waters
I say go! I went to my first one the other day with Sam, and while he couldn't participate, it was so much fun to watch, and very satisfying somehow to see the dogs doing what they love to do! While I can't quite wrap my mind around some of the training procedures (they still seem too harsh to me), I cannot question that the dogs I saw were way better trained and behaved than Sam!
The dead birds didn't bother me. They told me that they are killed humanely (if that helps any!)
It was VERY interesting......I hope you decide to go!