and always in the ones you dont think about.....
against the advice of many of you of course, we ran the senior test yesterday. the test was set up by the same judges that sat up a certain controversial jr test the day before. this was no different, maybe even worse, based on the easily audible grumblings from several pros and upper crust amateurs. water test in the am, with all the meat - walk up, diversion shot, honor. go bird about 90deg angle to shore, downhill with wind from left, dropped in grassy shoreline of a large lake, about 70 yds or so - memory bird at about 10:00 (the line being at 6:00) 70-80 yds across a very near perfect circular pond adjacent to the lake, lots of real estate between line and pond. so imagine the sliver from 6:00 to 10:00, then back up 30 yds. thinner sliver. the dog had to get wet. handle to get wet if you have to. (but does that burn your handle for the day?) much discussion and consternation here, but in the end all was well - for me at least. go bird was snap, handled the boy to get wet for the memory bird, let him continue with the mark.
the blind...hmmmm......a "water" blind...hmmm......yeah.. 100yds or so, almost into the wind, angle downslope to the grassy shore. 97 of these yds is land. 1/5 of the way to the blind is a deep dried up depression with about an SUV-sized puddle of water left in the middle, heavy brush around half of it. the dog had to get wet - of course, its a "water" blind. most all dogs wanted to angle to the right a bit and cross the muddy edge, but the line went through water so you had to handle into the water before continuing. kinda reminded me like playing "mother may i" or something.
after a few whistles to get his feet wet, the last 60 yds was a straight back, slight scallop halted, left hand back , bingo.
only 23 of 43 dogs passed the above, pro'lly equal among memory bird and blind, but i am just guessing.
on to land, and this was literally from a "blood bath" (even a judge used that term for the 1st series) to a bubble bath. nearly same line but going the opposite direction, memory bird upslope to the right to a bird winged at a slight angle back, right to left, 100 yds. go bird a shot flyer to the left, left to right, across two shallow slews leading to the round pond. blind directly 90deg to edge of the larger lake, downslope, wind left to right. blind is exactly dead center between the 2 marks of the first series.
bubble bath, right? but ahhhh the details - Brady had 2 flyers last weekend, no issues so i thought we were home free in that arena - but yesterdays flyer was a cripple. as he approached it the duck was able to pop its head up and crawl a couple of feet, and that was enough to spook that little 8 mo old pup. totally freaked him out. "da-ad - it looked at me!" was the post incident commentary from a friend. that still makes me chuckle.
oh well. that totally blew my planned "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" post to all the naysayers and brady-doubters that warned me not to run! lol
i was very confident in his mechanics for a Senior level test, and rightly so - walk-up was perfectly steady, marks on the money, blind spot-on, and he honored like a guard at Buckingham Palace - but i also knew our downfall if any would be maturity - or lack thereof, at 8 mos - i just thought it would be manners at the line and not getting spooked by a live bird. if HRC still used live birds i would have FF'ed and trained with them by now, but i figured there was no reason to do so.
anyway it was a great day with friends and making new ones - enjoyed visiting with the RTF'ers on hand, Angie was all smiles so she must have been having a good day, met David Maddox too, and Vicki tell your Dave thanks for his kind words - i was severely deflated after that episode! so now we have 2-1/2 weeks to be ready for Big D, we will be training with live ducks!
so does anyone know where i can get a couple of mallards in Houston? Wabash doesnt carry them........