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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Edit: June 24, 2012,

The deadline for entries has arrived. The random draw for qualifying entries has been done. Those drawn were, on order:

Post #54 by bruce, post 15 by Vammy, #34 by Matt Weberpal, #44 by sara c, and #35 by tom476.

These have all been moved into a separate poll thread. Please go here

Fowl Dawgs Voting Poll link to pick the winner

and click on one of the above 5 entries as your vote. The one with the most votes wins the set.

Thanks,

Chris




Rick Stawski is giving away a full set of his Fowl Dawgs 1, 2, 3 and 4 series to a lucky RTF user.

All registered users may sign up to win in this thread. But to do so, you must follow the rules.

1) You may post ONLY ONCE in this thread. Anybody posting more than once in this thread is ineligible to win.

2) You may edit your one and only post in this thread right up until the deadline, which is Sunday June 24.

3) To enter, merely post in this thread one simple topic - your favorite retriever memory. It can be a poem, a story, an image, anything. But here's the kicker, it will be voted upon. The winner will be the one with the most votes.

4) This thread will be locked on Sunday June 24. At that time a random draw will be done to select five (5) posts in this thread.

5) A poll will be run for a limited time period. During that time, all RTF users may vote using the poll buttons for their favorite of those 5 randomly drawn entries.

This sweepstakes is part luck, part skill, part popularity. In the end, one of you will win a full set of the Fowl Dawgs series, including the new Fowl Dawgs 4.

Good luck and have fun! Chris



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Waste of time. Rules will be ignored same as last contest. Ends up being a popularity contest.

Sandy,

Rick Stawski asked me to help administer this little fun giveaway.

I'm pretty sure your sort of participation is outside of what Rick was hoping for. I can't control how folks vote, but I would sure imagine you're not exactly in the lead at this time.

I, by the way, am no longer eligible to win. This is my second post in the thread.

I would suggest that you either a) edit your post if you are interested in participating in the giveaway or b) choose to spend your time elsewhere. Do not post any further posts in this thread.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Chris
 

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My Favorite retriever moment was with my 1st Lab Java and my middle son Andrew. Andrew was 12 yrs old and trained with us every day. We had so much fun spending time together. Java and I ha passed 3 Jr test and Andrew wanted to run him for his title. I was thrilled to let him do it. I told him to make sure he held on to the collar so we would not have a break.

Well in the Land series, Andrew took the dog off lead and walked at heel to the line giving me the "I got this Dad" look
1st to marks were picked up clean and the dog never even looked like he might break.

In the water series, somehow we were the last dog. Once again, Andrew walk the dog off lead to the edge of the water, 1st water mark went down with a big splash, The dog was steady and made the retrieve, 2nd Water mark was a no bird, Loud pop about 20 yards down the shore, winger goes off but no bird. Andrew turns the dog around and they reload. Back to the line, this time the dog was a little hyped up so I told him to hold the collar, Once again he ignored me. Andrew signals for the bird again, loud pop and the winger goes into the water. No bird number 2. No bird # 3 was like #1 but this time the dog is about to come unglued. The judge tells him, "Son, you might want to kisten to your dad and hold the collar but again he chose not 2. The 4th bird went off, no pop but the dog saw the bird and the splash.
The dog got his title but even better, my son was hooked. He is great with the dogs and and I cant wait for him to finish college and come train with me again.

Terry
 

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I could go on all day putting in FAVORITE memories... A few even involve training with the notorious Melanie Foster, and some things she had Peyton doing that amazed me. :D But... Here goes one that will live forever.

Peyton's first ever retrieve on live game during a pheasant hunt.

I was hunting with a buddy, his lab, and his 11 year old son, Jake. We got about 1/2 way across the field and Peyton gets birdy for her first time ever. After about 20 seconds, she zeros in and finds the rooster. Up he comes with all of the noise and cackling he can muster. Jake pulls up his Remington 870 and fires two shots. The birds is hit lightly and sails about 150 yards away. Peyton who I had been training to sit to flush did exactly that, so she marked the bird like a champ. As soon as it hit the ground she was off like a rocket and hammered the retrieve. As soon as she hit the AOF, she snatched the still live bird up and came running back. Jake was so excited, he was telling his dad that he was going to go get it from her. His dad told him to wait, because she was doing her job to bring it back, which she did with style.

Little did I know, the reason Jake was so excited was because Peyton's first ever pheasant was his as well. A first for the both of them. :cool:

We were able to get one more bird up that day, which Peyton retrieved as stylish as the first.

The rest as they say, is history.

Mark
 

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While I have many "favorite" retriever and hunting memories, my all time favorite memory involves a little boy (I don't know his name) and Blitz. We were in Ontario for the summer and had the privilege to run at Kingston and Area HRC’s spring test. One of the extras offered by the club was a fun retrieve with kids. There was a little boy who was slightly spooked by the quite animated black lab someone had for the kids without a dog. I noticed that the little boy seemed keen to run a dog, but the big black lab was just a little too much for him. So, I offered Blitz for the little guy to run. Blitz was a real gentleman with the little boy, waited patiently to be sent and delivered to hand when asked. Attached are the pictures that someone from the club sent me. Passing the Grand, getting Master titles, earning 500 points, going hunting and training are all cool and memorable, but seeing Blitz work with and be run by that little boy is my favorite retriever memory of all time. The joy on that little guys face will stay with me forever.
 

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Here is a quick little poem I threw together recalling my puppy (at the time just barely a year old) and his first live bird retrieve.

Only lasting a few seconds, but seemingly forever,
Was my puppy’s first live bird retrieve endeavor.
It was an October dove hunt, in a dusty peanut field,
As Miller sat quiet and attentive at heel.
The birds started flying, and his excitement grew.
As a single flew closer, and my gun I drew.
As shells were ejected, and recoil expired,
I knew the bird had not been retired.
It sailed over a nearby terrace and fell.
So I lined my dog as best I could tell.
With a quick command, he was off like a light.
And soon he too was out of sight.
Shortly thereafter he came proudly trotting back.
And the goal of his retrieve he did not lack.
He promptly sat at heel with his prize,
As the bird had yet to see its demise.
To grab the bird was my intent,
But I failed to grip it, and off it went.
Only three feet high as it tried to flee,
My puppy did not have to wait for me.
Off he blasted, and gaining very fast,
This second retrieve, very long did not last.
His timing was flawless as he leapt with care,
And retrieved the dove right out of midair.
My puppy had proven he had what it takes,
Regardless of all my training mistakes.
I hope you all enjoy the pleasure,
Reading of a memory I will cherish forever.
 

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My best retriever moment, well one of my best. My pup had a huge tendancy to flare left on blinds. When we started out on cold blinds his lines sucked. A lot of attrition and a lot of training time was spent on blind work. In a seasoned test this spring he picked up his land doubles which i was worried he's overun the memory bird. Decent 80 yard go bird and a 35 yeard memory bird. Land blind 62 yards outside the falls. Lined him up and sent back. Lined to the stake where i sat him. Heard ine of the judges say it was the blind of the day. Those words did not make me proud it made me feel as if my pup and i belonged where we were at, gave us accountability for all the training we have been through. I am not a pro, this is my first dog at an elevated level beyond mear dog. Can be intimidating when you are amongst pros and old timers with what they know are proven methods. Water series, not bick water, marks pretty straight forward. Blind didn mt look tough cutting the pond about 45 degrees the down the shore into the back of a small finger 5 yeards up the bank. I beviever 34 dogs were brought to water from land. I sat and watch the blind chew up digs and spit them out. Had a good cross wind they did not like casting into, wanting to bank early and so on. Our turn cam up, picked up the water double and lined him up. Now the line was 3 feet from the water. Most wiuld be happy with that but as we have trained the issue if 90 degreeing the bank that close has reared its head. Thought he was locked in and sent back. He 90 degreed it and made it 5 ft before i stopped him. We sat intently waiting, already knowing where he raised my blood pressure. Gave him a silent over inti the water which he took and then parralleled him down the bank to the pin picking up the duck. If it would have been a 39 yard entry no issues but the close ones we had wars with. Judges came up to me thinking this is not good, both judges usually do not come out unless they are giving you the DAH tag. One judge shook my hand and said it felt good to finally pass a dog today. The other one said he could not believe thepup would parallel the shore like he did and his initial thought was "here we go again".
Very next test was a senior double. Stiff land marks in knee high grass. He front footed both. Went to land blind which was 82 yards through a keyhole. The said it wasn't a keyhole but it was. If the dog got left you lost him. Lost sight of the dog down a little revine just hoping he would pop out in the same spot. The line was obvious once standing on the mat. My pup lined it

Next went to water blind. 40 yard angle entry into water then diwn the shore up the opposite bank 10 yards, duck is behind a log. Sent the pup, i honestly think he'd had lined the entry but stopped him just to thraed the hole that was obvious they were to split ti get wet. 3 whisktes later he was on the way back with his duck. Few dogs were dropped on this blind

Last series was a water series, walk up with a 30 yard splash and a ling bird requires swimming getting out and an 80 yard run up an incline of a hill diaginally. Mas sweating this. Di i secondary select, get that short bird 10 yards off the go birds line or send long. Havn't secondary selected as of yet so not much faith. Sent him for the long, he starts but stops for the short. Takes off for the long and lost his mine. It was obvious he lost the mark. We had not trained in this tight of lines, but we do now:). Had to habdle him to the last bird. Long wait for that test to finish on the bubble. Finally time for the ribbons snd our number was called. Afterwards talked to the judges thanking them for the test. I love running challenging test. For some reason they just mean more to me. Judge admits he gives no freebies but is fair to the dogs. Explained that if the title was given by him that dog is ready for masters work. If not there is no doubt what needs worked on. I knew what we needed to do in training afterwards to help with masters. Of course he saud mu pup was marked down on the last retrieve but the dog was confused, he could see it. The reason he passed was the work up to that point and that he was willing ti work as a team to get through it and pass.

These two test are my favorite memories as of yet. They showed me my dog is capable of running with the big boys dogs and really brought us together as a team. Two ribbons earned that mean a lot more than the other ones in which we flee through with no adversion
 

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Bang earned her first ribbon. An orange, I completed the junior test successfully ribbon. All went well, but the last retrieve was story worthy! And here is the story;
We had made it to water, the first water retrieve was a straight forward 80-85 yard swim to pick up the duck and come back to mama. The second and last retrieve was in the middle of a bunch of lily pads. After the duck hit the water and made a splash I couldn't even see where it was. So, I sent Bang in the direction of the splash. She swam out and got tangled in the lily pads and did a 360 to get out of them which is when she lost her mark. She got up on shore and hunted around, got back in the water then back on shore. She started to head back to the old fall and I made sure that was what she was doing and I gave her a whistle sit, which she did very well. I gave her an over cast to get her back in the area of the duck. Mind you I couldn't see where exactly the duck was. I was just hoping and praying that she would be able to see it or get a good nose full of it once I got her over there. So she swam back into the lily pads (what a good girl!) and picked up what appeared to be a couple of lily pads and started swimming back to me. There was talk at the line like: The judge said, She wouldn't bring lily pads back would she? Which I answered, I honestly don't know! Then there was a lot of does she have it? by not only myself but the judge and the gallery. At one point I asked the gallery if they could see if she had the duck. The judge was standing right behind me and told me to stop her when she got close so that if I couldn't see the duck I could give her a back cast to get her back out there. I walked up and down the bank but no matter what vantage point I tried to gain there was only green in her mouth. When she got to about 10 feet in front of me I could see one single feather sticking out of this lily pad duck buritto that she was bringing me. She got out and delivered the bird and lily pads and everyone that was there cheered and clapped. I was so proud of my girl! Not only did she bring me the duck but she gift wrapped it too!
 

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One of my favorite memory of retrievers that we have owned & trained happened at HRC Upland here in Central Fl.test when we first started running them. My wife Had a FBL that we trained without collar. She was named Tillie & titled HRCH after several years.. She was an excellent duck hunting & phesant hunting retriever. I digress. At the Upland test we did walk up & first flyer fine. On 2nd flyer, I didn't have whistle in my mouth & when quail flushed & was shot she broke & ran out & caught dead quail in midair like an outfielder in baseball looking over her shoulder. One judge was a friend & he said that was spectacular but you are out.
 

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A memory and a message from a lost but never forgotten friend:

Rhumbline’s Guinness is Good, JH
9/17/99 ~ 11/25/10


....My 1st “real” dog. He taught me SO MUCH .... Never earned more than 1 SH pass, but was the greatest dog I will ever have the honor of putting my hand over..... A strong dog with a lion heart. His greatest message to me always - work hard at what you love &

“persevere”
|ˌpərsəˈvi(ə)r|
verb [ intrans. ]: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty


(photo of “Guinness” by Chip Laughton Days a Field Photography).
 

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The first hunt test I ever ran was with my first AWS, Nappy. There was to be a working certificate test close to our house, so I entered Started Dog and Working Dog. Since it was closeby, I trained on the water there several times (not against the AWSC's rules) before the test. One of the two ponds had a white fertilizer sack sticking up which was very visable. We threw a mark and Nappy marked on the white sack (understandable for a young 10 month old) dog. There were some live ducks swimming there also, so when he realized he had missed his mark, he started for the live ducks. My trainer yelled "NO!" and gave him a big correction. For the next three weeks, he would not even enter the water in that pond, but, that pond only...all others were ok. We had created a hot spot.
On test day, guess which pond was selected? I was dog #1 in Started. He refused to go in, so I dejectedly put him in the truck, failing my first hunt test. Later, when the dogs for the Working Dog test (which was a delayed double) were called, we were again dog #1. I was going to scratch, since I knew he would not go in. My wife convinced me to go to the line. The mark was thrown, I called his name, and low and behold, he went! I was so choked up with emotion, I could hardly blow the duck call for the diversion....it sounded like feeding chatter. We failed Started Dog and passed Working Dog that day. I was very proud of my 10 month old pup.
 

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I was told when I started with Labs, that every person should have one great dog in his life if he/she was lucky. Ben, was my great dog. An average size Black male, with a big heart, and strong drive, he became a retrieving machine inspite of my short comings as a trainer. In our time together he picked up hundreds of ducks, geese, pheasants, doves, 2 big Rio Grande gobblers, and a 3 pound bullfrog, which he delivered to hand! He had a few quirks, among which the worst was his complete and total hatred for skunks. I never was able to break him of full frontal assualts on these creatures and delivering to hand the stinking beast upon it's demise. It is a miracle he never suffered any serious injury or disease. He also was not as fond of bumpers as he was of real birds, agin not so uncommon.
In my younger days, I suffered severely from the "legend in my own mind' syndrome, which is common to people who own dogs that are much more intelligent than they are. One spring day while Ben was allowing me to go through the paces of water retrieves, I put a big 3" bumper over some tall cattails that lined a small pond, with the intent of getting Ben used to heading directly through obstacles to get the bumper. The cattails were about 10 feet thick from the bank to open water. Ben marked the throw and I sent him on. He made it about 5 feet, which was out of sight, and began to circle in the thick stuff. Now he would take a line with the best, and never shirk a challenge such as the thick cover. This time he came back with no bumper, heeled to my left side and sat perfectly. Just before I had determined he was just blowing me off, and about to take corrective measures, I heard a very low sound. As I paused to listen, I distinctly heard a muffled cheep, cheep ! Reaching my hand out to Ben, he opened his mouth and sitting upon his tongue was a very naked Red-Wing black bird chick with an open mouth, chirping his brains out. Ben promptly placed him in my hand and gave me a big grin. I never doubted him again for the rest of his life. Why he didn't swallow that morsel whole, I do not know. He sure had a soft mouth, though. I waded in the cattails found the nest and replaced the youngster with his siblings and headed home in my soaking pants. A memory forever !
 

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I have so many stories about my big yellow dog that it is hard to find a favorite, but the one that comes to mind right now is his first upland hunt. The trainer who was going to FF him said to be sure he got to retrieve a shot bird before he went for training, so we took him along for a hunt we had planned in Oregon. This is what I wrote when we got home:

What was truly amazing was his marking ability! He did some long retrieves-over 100 yards away with the bird landing out of sight over a hill or on the other side of a stream, or in the thick crop fields. His first retrieve-on a hun he pointed!-was through a short field, down a bank, across a stream, up an almost vertical 8 foot bank, and through some bushes. He pointed a chukkar, and Bob shot it, but it wasn't dead. The bird flew a LONG way, out of sight down the mountain. I sent Churchill (praying he would come back without me having to go find him and tug the cord, which I had to do sometimes to get him to come all the way back with the bird)-and a few minutes later he ran up and delivered the bird to hand. He brought all of them right to me from then on, and always had a very soft mouth.

I could not be happier with this pup! Churchill is only 6 months and 10 days old and I'm pretty new at this dog training stuff. We've done "the walk", some hand thrown bumpers, two sessions with the retrieve-r-trainer, and some basic OB. If this isn't proof of good genetics, I don't know what is!

And, since I am on a roll now :), here is a story from his first waterfowl hunt...he was 16 months old...

Got back last night from a great hunt for ducks and geese near Edmonton. There were big Canada geese, snow geese (even one of the blue phase, which is a gorgeous bird), specklebellies, pintails, and mallards, and maybe another type of duck or two. Lots of firsts for the pup-we had never worked from a layout blind; he had never been in a multi-gun hunt situation before; he had never been on a hunt where birds flew over and were shot down-and he was a superstar! After the first morning Churchill had it all figured out. Nothing better than watching your dog do what he was bred to do. Talk about a natural ability test! I could write an epic, probably, but I'll stick to a couple of retrieves that were special.

The first day, he went out for a Canada goose that wasn't dead and was pretty cranky. It hissed, bit him, hit him in the head with his wing-and he didn't want any part of it. After the hunt (more geese were coming in, and it wasn't the time to work with him right then) I got one of the geese out and let him figure out how to pick it up and carry it-the one I have in my freezer for practice is about half the size of these birds. The next day, a Canada landed in the field and stood up looking around. I sent Churchill-and the goose started running and flapping it's wings trying to take off. As they crested a hill, Churchill caught the goose (probably a 60 yard chase), grabbed it by the shoulders, and brought it back proud as could be. All the geese for the rest of the trip were no problem, and he always went for crippled ones first-and he never killed one.

A Specklebelly goose was shot and flew a while before falling to the ground. Churchill took off after it, and when he wasn't back pretty soon, I started walking over his direction. I see him running back and forth along the fence line-obviously the bird was on the other side, and he couldn't get through. I went over, let him through the fence, went after him-and the bird wasn't in the brush on the close side of the road. We crossed the road-bird not there, either. We went through the second fence into a big pasture with lots of slough grass-big, thick, tall stuff-and the pup started looking for the bird. Found it a couple of minutes later. The bird landed about 325-350 yards from where we were when it started to fall.
 

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There are two dog stories that go down in the "hunting lore" of my pheasant hunting buddies....since I can't decide which to tell, I'll tell them both!

"The Retrieve"

It was mid-90's, Bailey was 6 or 7 years old...she was a capable retriever, steady to flush and shot, simple casting, awesome at tracking down birds, and she could mark. We were hunting pheasants in SE Nebraska on brilliant January day with our best friend Kevin...mid-afternoon, light snow on the ground, we were walking through a corn field to get to a fenceline that had always been pretty good. Halfway through the field, Bailey goes hot, and flushes a rooster! The bird flies right, a simple passing shot for me...and 3 shots later, the bird is apparently untouched, and winging it towards a plum thicket 100+ yards away on the far edge of the field (and not the direction we're going). We all watch that bird fly away for several seconds, the bird pulls up, landing gear down, and flutters into the thicket...and Bailey breaks for the bird! I'm screaming NO!, whistling sit, then recall, and she's not listening for nothing. Totally unlike her, and as Kevin and I start to walk that direction to get her, we're discussing what the heck is her problem, and how in hades had I missed that bird...we get to the thicket, and Bailey is nowhere to be found. We can see dog tracks in the snow, we see where the bird lit and ducked into the thicket, and she followed it in...but no dog. I'm calling (yelling, now), and hitting the whistle, and getting madder and madder; Kevin and I meet on other side of the thicket, I'm ready to kill her, and Kevin says "Oh, I wouldn't be too hard on her. Turn around"....and there she is, standing 5 feet behind me, with the rooster!

Now, there is no question she broke, and there's no question she disobeyed and kept going after that bird...but Kevin and I believe she saw something in how that bird landed, that she knew it was dead, and she needed to retrieve it...

The Year of the Hunt 'Em Up Blinds

Fast forward to 2006; new dog, YLM, Chase...if Bailey was good, Chase was exceptional. A pheasant hunting machine, with tireless energy. We're in South Dakota, the usual group of 6 guys and 3 dogs, Chase and my buddy's 2 Vislas. 2006 had been a wet summer, and a very dry fall where we hunt...the cattail sloughs were so thick you could hardly walk through them, and the seed pods were so dry, they'd explode into fluff if you hit one. We ate more cattail fluff that year than I can even describe, and the leaves and stems were so sharp, you'd have 1000 cuts on your arms and hands if you left them exposed. But, that's where the birds were, and that's where we hunted. All three dogs were having a field day blowing birds out; they were in there just as thick as the cattails. The problem was, the dogs couldn't mark anything that went down! So practically every bird was a handle to AOF (or take them to AOF, handling was all but nonexistent when you can't see the dog and he can't see you), and then hunt 'em up...and this is where Chase excelled. Both of the Vislas are excellent pointers, but in that thick crap we hunted, they had trouble finding dead birds. Time and again, it was "Vermeer, bring Chase, we've got a bird down." So imagine a 10 yard circle of busted up cattails that had been stomped by 2-3 guys and 1 or more dogs, and send your dog in to find that bird...add to it was the place was loaded with bird scent...and Chase simply went to work and dug them out. Every single one; we did not lose a bird that weekend. And we shot a few...if you look closely at Chase in the attached pic, you'll see his eyes are busted up like a prize fighter...poor guy was cut up from those cattails, but you couldn't keep him in the truck...no, he'd scream bloody murder. That dog simply did not know "quit", and if he knew a bird was in there, he wasn't leaving until he found it. So 2006 went down as "the year we almost died in the cattails but Chase didn't lose a bird"

2006 PHABDM.jpg

God Bless you Chase...you were one in a million.
 

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Waste of time. Rules will be ignored same as last contest. Ends up being a popularity contest.

That's the best retriever memory you have? Your gonna have to vote for yourself on this one...
 

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Since i'm training my first retriever theres not a whole lot to draw from but to date, my best memory is from an event held by the local retriever club a few months ago. The event was a marking test, Seven rounds, seven single marks. Dogs dropped based on performance.

To date our marking training has been chaos at best. Haphazardly throwing marks no "real" thought to terrain, varying cover, and limited distances to around 100 yards.

Well on the day of the test we made it through the first 3 rounds pretty easily, pretty simple land marks around 90-100 yards in tall grass, similar to something we have trained for. We made it, and were called back for round 4. That alone was more than I had expected for the day! the judges decided to run the next two rounds before making another cut. Great. Two more birds I thought!
The fourth mark, was long I guess it to be about 150-175 yards, but seemingly straight forward, down a hill and across a the field. Cooper Picked it up with a short hunt.

The fifth mark, was long (for us anyway) about 250 yards, angle through a ditch, down a hill and across a field. We stepped up to the line, Cooper was a completely focused. Spine straight, ears up, eyes locked on the field, shaking with excitement. More focused than any other time I've seen. Almost as if he had a competative side to him or something to prove. I recall thinking to myself that this was it, no way have we ever done something like this we are TOAST! Oh well its been a great day! I signalled for the bird, the bird was tossed, and the judge gave us the signal to run. Cooper was just about to vibrate out of his skin when I released him. I could hear him grunt as he dug in and sprinted off the line. It was like he was shot out of a cannon!! He practically jumped the ditch, and was down the hill and before I could even get the whistle in my mouth. He NAILED the mark. I couldnt beleve it!!

OK, So who took my dog and replaced it with this marking machine???

Callbacks -- sure enough we made it through!! At this point, I'm stunned. Not knowing exactly the extent of our accomplishments...we were just running marks. At the time I had no reference to the "actual" difficuly of the marks, and apparently neither did Cooper.

Round Six - about 150 yards, two angled canal crossings, and a hidden gunner. Most of the remaining handlers were somewhat stunned at the difficulty of this round. Myself included. We drew the last dog to run this round. So I sat in the gallery and watched. Dog after dog failed to make the second canal crossing, and never found a bird. Finally it was our turn to run, we stepped up to the line, and once again Cooper turned into this completely focused machine. Almost as if he had something to prove...
I signalled for the bird, and gave Cooper his release. Across the first canal, and then right down to the waters edge on the second canal. He stopped and made and little hunt as did some many dogs before. he disappeared out of sight, I thought we were done, when suddenly he barrelled across the second canal and picked up the bird!! I assume there must have been a swirl of wind and he scented the bird. The entire gallery gave applause and cheers!! I was completely speechless!

Call backs...seventh and final round... only four dogs made it through into the last round, and we were one of them!

Final mark...300 plus yards, across a field and behind a mound. We were the second dog to run. As we stepped up to the line, I thought about the roller coaster we were on, what the heck I figured, he's surprised me a lot today! The bird was tossed and I released Cooper. He bolted across the field, and ALMOST nailed it, but then he went into a rather large hunt. Still good as far as I was concerned we had never even thought about marks at that distance! Cooper disappeared behind the mound, and came out with nothing....he circled back again, this time he emerged with the duck in his mouth and once again I was amazed!!

After he returned and delivered I thanked the judges and walked back to the truck. Shaking my head in total astonishment. I really hadnt done anything today it was ALL Cooper. I just held the leash....When it was time to announce the winner I didnt know who had won. All the dogs in the last round picked up the bird. We ended up not winning the event, but in my mind, we did more than win. We had just gotten a very addictive taste to this great past time and sport.
 

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There are many memories form hunting and running tests, but my favorite is when my wife and I tried to get a picture of Josie when she was a very young pup, and we wanted to get her to sit on the walkover on the dunes at the OBX. My wife tried and tried and everytime she would back away Josie would follow her down the steps. She never gave up and finally got this picture. I think this is where Josie learned that sit, means sit.

 

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My best dog ever "Ice"

Ill never forget the day I decided to do the right thing for him and bring him peace from the pain he lived with every day with. Despite all his accomplishments and our trips to the line including the the MN, I'll never forget both the pain and relief I felt sitting on Dr Hanks floor looking into Ices eyes as we ended our time together here on earth. I'll never forget how much he taught me about what being a trainer really is about. I'll never forget his eyes as he left, knowing that what he tought me would shape my work with every dog after him. I will never forget holding him and sobbing before we put him in the cart. I'll never forget spreading his ashes in our favorite hunting spot on Siltcoos lake.

Rest in peace old friend, I'll never forget what you did for me

/paul
 
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