Well, today didn’t go as well as yesterday. She started out pretty good with lots of energy. Unfortunately, due to yesterday’s cow poop situation, I opted NOT to run her beforehand which I think was a big mistake because she was TOO excited to get into the field and hunt.
We entered the backfield and made it through without encountering any birds however, when we entered the bird field that the Junior Hunters used which was before our official bird field we encountered a bird. Roxie pointed and stood as I flushed it, fired of the blank gun and the bird flew away. She watched it fly away and as I went to release her and take her into a different direction, she ran to find where the bird went. In a regular hunting situation, this would be ok because you WANT to find the bird that you missed. But in a hunt test situation and especially in the backfield you want to avoid situations that could get you disqualified so I went in another direction and called her my way.
We finally entered the bird field and I was having a hard time keeping up with her. She went on point pretty quickly and I was rushing to get to her and breathing quite heavy. I finally got to her along with the gunners and she was solid steady. I flushed the bird, the gunners shot and she held until I released her to retreive. She got the bird but did not immediately come back to me. At the same time, the other dog who was honoring, broke free and rushed in to “greet” Roxie and just as Roxie was getting close to bring it back to me, the other dog came in too close so Roxie ran away to keep the other dog from grabbing it. But, luckily she stayed close and still brought the bird back to me!
Shortly thereafter, the other dog went on point so we went in for the honor, however Roxie ran near the other dog around and around, but didn’t stop. The other dog eventually left her spot as there wasn’t really a bird there. I didn’t know if that would count or not since there wasn’t a bird afterall. So we moved on. At this point, Roxie had showed everything but the honor so we just needed the other dog find a bird. They hunted the area and Roxie was just in the way so they asked me to hold her until the other dog found a bird.
The other dog finally went on point and I released Roxie who chose to just run around and around and around. She refused to look towards the dog. Finally, the judge saw that she “slowed to acknowledge” the other dog and to go ahead and get a hold of her. As I went towards her, she finally saw the other dog and stopped on her own, but it was too late. She had already blown it. Turns out, they looked for the bird that the dog pointed but didn’t find anything. Once again, the other dog didn’t have a bird at all.
With both of these honor opportunities, it turned out that there wasn’t a bird there at all. Did Roxie know that? Is that why she didn’t stop? Was the dog not solid enough for her to acknowledge that there was something not worthy of stopping for? Looking back, the handler (who was the same dog and handler we were braced with the day before) didn’t trust the dog yesterday when she was on a bird so today, at the first opportunity she “whoa’d” her dog when there wasn’t a bird there at all. Was this a true honor situation? I don’t think so, but this is a test and the rules say when the other dog is stopped, your dog must stop to honor and Roxie didn’t. So, it’s back to training we go.
After that, Roxie still had a few minute to finish out the time in the bird field and once again, I tried to keep her close by. At the end, they asked if she could point a bird in order to allow a dog from a previous brace to get her honor. So they planted a bird and I let Roxie go find it. She found it and worked it perfectly. She even retreived it almost to hand. But her scoring time was over, so nothing she did meant anything to anyone other than me. I was very proud of her.
While heading back, I wasn’t sure whether she was going to pass because the honor situation was questionable. She DID eventually stop to honor the other dog but I think it was too late. I anxsiously awaited her scores and after some debate with the judges, they decided that she did not deserve a passing score for an honor. In talking with them, they said that from their vantage point on the first honor opportunity, she DID see the other dog and just simply blew her off. They also said they were impressed with her style and hunting ability and they were proud of her. She just needs a little more work. Their comments were nice to hear and it’s always good to learn a few things.
Below is video of today’s test:
So what’s next? MORE TRAINING! We will begin working on retreiving to hand and most importanly honoring. The next hunt test is in two weeks with the Irish Setter Club.
Thanks to everyone for your congratulations and postive thoughts. Until next time…
Renee & Roxie