So Let’s See How This Goes

Any one that has known me for a while knows that I have never put a title of any kind on any of my dogs. My first exposure to any organized testing was a test put on by the now defunct Eastern Carolina Pointing Breeds Club. They put on a fun hunt and judged the dogs the way they would be in a test. After that the club lost its place to train and then soon went under. To say I was interested after this experience would not express the way that I really felt.

 So I read about tests and then started looking for a local club.The nearest club was about three hours drive from where I live. I looked at it as that is a long drive to run for fifteen minutes. So I watched from a distance and talked about going to one and then not getting the entry in or something like that. This went on for a long time.

 Then I met a friend that got a pup and agreed with the breeder that the pup would be tested in the NAVHDA system. So having read about the system and knowing very little about it I told him I could get him through the field work but had know idea about the water work because I have never worked with a retriever or a water dog. After helping him with the NA work and him being successful and having a good time with his dog, it motivated me to stop talking and start doing. This and wanting to see if I can do it I decided to start entering and stop talking.

  This brings us to where we are today. I went to my first test in December 2017. I tried to enter one around Thanksgiving but it got cancelled do to it being near the holiday and they couldn’t get judges. That is understandable. So being a little disappointed I get back on the AKC website and start looking for another test. Just so happens that time I was going to be in Central Florida the Central Florida German Shorthaired Pointer Club (CFGSP) was hosting a test.

 I entered my dog in the Junior Hunter stake. I figure that I better start somewhere and  get my feet wet and learn how these things go. I decided to start with the first one in line. Also I haven’t gotten my dog as steady as he needs to be.

   There are a lot of people that claim the JH is not a good judge of a dog’s ability and trainability. I don’t agree with this. I know that it is not the a finished performance but that is not the purpose of it. I believe that it is a good judgement of a dogs natural ability to hunt and demonstrate that he is trainable to do the task at hand. I also believe that it helps people get used to handling a dog under judgement and what that feels like.

 So with that being said we arrive for our test. I have to say that the people at the CFGSPC are first rate. I checked in and let them know that I have never done one of these and they were more than obliging in making sure that I knew what was going on and how things were working so that I had a very enjoyable day. I got to follow a brace to see the course so I would have an idea where to go.I have never been on this part of the property.

 So as the day progresses we wait for our turn. I walk my dog a few times just to keep the edge off him from being confined alot. I talk to alot of people and they are all very friendly and helpful and enthusiastic about their dogs as I am.

 The time comes for us to run. We head to the break away and wait for the turn ‘em loose from the judges. I have to say that I think I was more concerned than my dog.

 So the judges say to let them go and off we go. We have about 200 yards to go until a right hand turn into the bird field. The dogs stay side by side for about a minute and then split up.

My setter Cash heads to the lower part of the field and then up the side of a hill. I am beginning to think that the birds are not in this area.Just as I was thinking about changing directions the dog goes on point. I move in to flush and the bird goes up and the blank gun goes bang. Cash gives a little chase and redirects to go with me.

 We move down the hill and the Cash goes on point again. This time the bracemate comes over and instead of backing the dog moves in front of Cash and steals the point. The judges and everyone notice this and we all get a chuckle.

The judges move the other dog along and we get a flush and a shot and move out again. We don’t get into another bird for about five minutes as we make our way around the course. As we are coming to the end of the course we get another point. This time is no different than the rest and we get another flush. This time the dog breaks and goes into a thicket that I have to go in after him.I go in the hedgerow and find him on point again. I call point and the judges say they need to see the bird or no credit will be given. Fortunately the bird flies over them and they say they saw it. This is the last bird and the judges pick ‘em up.

 I leash the dog and walk out of the field with our bracemate and head back to where everyone is gathered. We are greeted with “how did it go?”. I give the well he ran and we went around the course and that it appeared to go well.

 After everyone finished their runs the club gathered us around to give out awards. They award MH and SH and then to the JH. It turns out that Cash did well enough to get a passing score and we end up getting a ribbon. I have to say that I am pretty excited because this is the first award that I have received with a dog that I was handling and that I have been working with. It actually feels pretty cool.

   So now that we have started this little journey there will be more to come. Leg number two will be run in Virginia at the Dick Cross WMA in a short amount of time and I will let you know how it goes.

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