I will try to not make the a long post (it probably will be) but here is our background.
My now 12yo is absolutly crazy about Duck hunting! i hadnt duck hunted in several year and I got back into mostly for him. we have been hunting together for the last 3 or 4 years and i cherish every hunt.
Last year we got into a different lease with several guys who had retrievers. He fell in love with the idea of having his own dog. He dropped hints all season long about wanting a retriever of his own. After much debate with my wife, we decided to set him down and descuss it with him. You know the "you have to feed and take care of him" speech. So we secured a pup in january and she came home with us late febuary. He is up every morning at 5:30 to feed and let the dog out as well as spend a little time with her before he catches the bus at 6:30. He also does much of the training. He taught her all of her obdiance commands as well as working with her on retieving.
Neither one of us has ever trained a dog.
At 6 months old i sent her off to be forch fetched, collar conditioned as well as a few other things. she has been gone for almost 2 months and we are getting her back soon, we will continue to train as well as hunt her some this season.
He has since day one had a desire to run his dog in hunt test, We have been to several throught the area last spring and this fall to get an idea of what is expected as well as watch some of the pros run. I even got him to bird boy a couple of local test.
Now for the question:
As a 12 yo how far can he go in this game? We are planning to start running started test this spring. I have come to the realization that it is as much if not more about the handler than it is about the dog. Every dog has good days and bad but i think its up to the handler to work the dog through the bad days and complete the test. I often refere hunt test as a chess match, a thinking mans game. I have seen very few kids his age run test and several of the one i did were pros kids . We have several pro's locally that are willing to work with my son and prepare him for the test. Even with this, i am unsure how far someone his age can go.
Be honest! I would love to hear you comments and suggestions,and anyone that has been in my shoes please tell me what to expect.
As a dad i would like to make sure my son has every tool as well as every oppertunity to be succesful as handler and a hunter! Who knows this could be his calling!
Thanks in advance for your help