Hi all. First time poster long time lingerer. My first Lab I trained to hunt, great at birds in the decoys, ob in the blind , and simple cast. A good meat and potatoes dog. I then got Jelly her granddaughter shortly before Gina passed. When Gina passed I just couldn't bring myself to train. Jelly didn't lose many birds, she would go forever after a running downed pheasant. But she was not very good in the blind, no manners, my fault. When Jelly started to get to old, I started looking for a pup, joined a retriever club, went to there events, pitched in, and that was it the begining of it all. To see what these dogs are capable of I was hooked. My buddy lost his lab shortly before Jelly passed so he also got a new lab. I told him that I was going to run hunt test with my new one, I made a promise to Jelly that I'd never waste a good dog agian. So we both started on the path. We then started playing with field trial setups. and now we are out there everyday training. And we are both addicted. And lovin it.
Rick! I remember Mercy back then! Mercy me!!
Some years back I was fortunate enough to become friends with the same group Rick trains with....Ellison Armfield and I met at a dog show doing the pretty dog thing....she asked me down for a weekend and I said, what the heck! I'll never forget that weekend.
Me, Ellison, good friends Narda Croughell and Susan Bonner spent the day working my dog, 3 yr old Coal, who has elbow dysplasia. I had been really focused on obedience comp at the time and coal was plastered to my leg. The first time the girls brought a bird out, Coal took one sniff and hid between my legs! It was comical! WTH is that!!! Within a half hour he was retrieving like a pro.
Coal is now 9. He used to never leave my side. At his first Master test last year, he BROKE! I didn't give a damn I was laughing so hard remembering that first day! We were four for four in Junior, took 8 tries in senior because I was a terrible handler (Richard Reese still knocks me with a heeling stick to make me respond faster!). Now we are running master and having a blast. Coal should have his title by now, but I travel for work and can't get the training time we need. He doesn't care about the ribbons.....he's just happy to get all those birds!
I now have his niece, who has 2 senior legs, and her daughter, who has three senior legs. Z, the daughter, will be running Master next fall. She has 6 points towards her championship. Maybe she'll be a CH/MH. I'm grateful to Ellison, Narda and Susan for getting me involved. Ellison for giving me the drive to attempt for the dual titles. I love this sport and the people are wonderful!
We had 2 labs before this that we had just trained for basic obedience so they would be socially acceptable and good house dogs. We dove hunt and one of them was just naturally very good at marking and retrieving them. One of them had bilateral hip dysplasia and we paid for the OFA's when he needed them. They both lived long lives, one 15 yrs. and the other 14 yrs. They were only 3 years apart in age so about a year after losing the first one, we started looking for another.
This time we knew to look for health clearances and that led us to realize we had to choose between either field bred labs or show bred labs. We decided to go with field bred and found out about hunt tests and field trials when we started looking. We wound up with a wonderful yellow female that loves to retrieve.
Neither of us had ever trained a dog to retrieve, so I thought it would be a good thing for me to do, learn something new. I have multiple sclerosis so learning new things and staying active helps me stay functional. I bought EG's Smartworks DVD's and got with some local people and went to work. So far, she and I, with my husband's help, have managed to attain her Senior Hunter title and 3 Master passes. So I'm hooked on the training and tests, it is a challenge I enjoy and she loves it. She has also turned out to be pretty good on a dove shoot! We've also met a lot of good people while doing something fun.
I started by accident.
A few years back, my mom took in a stray dog and it found its way to my house. The pup was quick to learn basic obedience commands (wife insisted) and regarding more advanced retriever training stuff..."I owed it to the dog" to teach it how to retrieve (smartest thing I ever did, because it helped transform my dog into an awesome companion). The rest is history.
A little over a year ago my boys got drawn for a controlled youth hunt at a local management area, we had hunted waterfowl for a few years before that but never with a dog after setting the decoys and getting settled in we were approached by the manager of the wma and asked if we minded if he retrieved the birds we shot with his lab. Well after seeing her retrieve 6 ducks and 3 geese the boys decided they wanted a lab for Christmas, and now it's HRC meetings every month HTs and learning as much as I can from the pro trainer that trained Razr as well as the great people we have met through our HRC club. It has become a family adventure all 4 of the boys throw birds and help train as well as my wife, we all travel to the HTs and spend a lot of time together. So out of it we have a very nice dog that we take hunting with us, we have met a long list of great people and have a hobby that allows us to spend good quality family time together,could you ask for any more!
I never had my own dog, I'd hunted over many dogs and as a child my family always had one or two German Shepherds.
Several years ago I had committed to getting a dog( a hunting dog), I knew i wanted a Labrador. My commitment was solidified went i went to hunt test at the local training grounds( Prado) and watched a Pro run a labrador on blind retrieve, this was the first time I'd ever seen this in person and I told everyone I talked to about the event and how unbelievable this dog was, like everyone I said to myself right then that" I want a dog that will do that". Personal obligations prevented me from getting a dog right at that time but just over 3 years ago an opportunity arose and I got a dog, a BLF, and as a family we've never looked back.
We now have 3, I have my BLF that has done everything I've asked of her, My son has his CLF, who's a great hunting dog a wonderful companion for my son and a great family dog, and just over a week a ago my daughter got her YLF, Delilah.
Our dogs have introduced us to a wonderful and colorful group of people that we would've other wise never had met, and they bring the whole family closer together( most of the time).
And my wife is a saint for accepting and supporting my dog addiction.
In February of 1994 I got my first purebred Labrador. He was a bench dog. It had been about 7 years since my lab mix had passed on. I still lived in my Parents’ house so I of course needed their blessing to have a dog.
I boarded my horses at a stable were a friend had a really nice yellow male. Laid back well minored. She completed in Obedience with him. On Saturday’s I would bring him home with me from the boarding stable at lunch time. He sucked my mother in but good.
One day my Mom with me at the stable and our horse vet pulled in. I was playing with the lab. He said to my Mom you know she has been without a dog for too long. She asked if I told him to say that. He really had no idea what she meant but I was giving the ok to get a dog. I would have gotten a toy breed if that was what she wanted I didn’t care I was getting a dog. I really wanted another lab. I wanted to do obedience like my friend.
Cruiser took me places I never dreamed I would go. We got obedience titles in the US and Canada. I played in the breed ring back when it was fun. I even put a point on him and some reserves. I did it myself. He could mark like crazy but didn’t really care for birds. He would bring back bumpers but nothing with feathers. He would bark and say hey here it is come get it. I had no clue what force fetch was back then.
So, I got pup out of his sister. Stormy taught me a lot running JR. Her daughter Chaos took me onto Senior. She couldn’t count past two so I got a field dog. Pasta has taken me to Master. I have learnt a whole world of things with these dogs.
Pasta has now blessed me with 5 wonderful pups. The one I am keeping will take me to more places I have never been I am sure of it as we are talking about possibly trying derby with her.
Will we be good at it? Who knows but I know one thing, it will be a fun.
I have never hunted for real. I hope to some day. I have only shot poppers out of my 12 gage. Who knows maybe someday I will learn to shoot.
All I know is having the dogs has been one great ride. They have taken me many places and have met some incredible people along the way. I wouldn’t change one second of it.