Posts Tagged ‘AKC Junior Hunter’

Carlin is my third retriever Junior Hunter, falling somewhere in between Cooper’s stellar performance and Tooey’s slow, grudging one. Carlin loves going out to look for birds, but he has struggled with delivering the ducks to hand and with going straight out to the fallen bird, rather than quartering out to it like a spaniel.

Fortunately, at the hunt test put on by Sand and Sage Hunting Retriever Club, he delivered all four birds directly to hand, succumbing to his spaniel instincts only once.

The test was held in Othello, Washington. The club’s name describes the landscape pretty well — sandy, desert soil studded with sagebrush and long tall, seedy grass. The grounds were located on a professional retriever trainer’s property, so the fields and ponds were already in pretty good shape for the test.

Carlin ran #10. I prefer #3 or #4, just because he gets pretty amped up waiting his turn in the holding blinds. But when we got to the line, he sat when I asked him to, and studied the objectives before him.

The first mark was pretty short — only about 60 yards. It did involve running through a dry, shallow swale, but this didn’t put off any of the dogs. Most of the run was through flattened grass, the bird landed just on the edge of a large patch of sage brush.

Carlin picked it up and brought it right back to me. No dropping it on the way.

The second mark was a live flying duck. When gunners shoot a live duck, you never know exactly where it will fall. Carlin’s was long, about 105 yards. As the duck flew and fell, Carlin sat quietly by my side. I know he saw the bird go down because his butt came up just slightly when the bird landed (out just past the post, into the long grass to the right).

From my perspective, that mark should have been easy. And it was, for a few dogs. But there was apparently some kind of force field out there that made many dogs shy off about 15 yards before the area of the bird’s fall. Most dogs, though, eventually found it.

Carlin eventually found it, too. He started quartering the field just at about the same place that all the other dogs got off track. He ran to the right almost to the sage brush, then back toward the trees for about 40 yards, and then quartered the field back and forth toward me. Finally, he got close enough to the bird to wind it, pick it up, and bring it back to hand.

We had a touch of excitement when Carlin decided to go see the dog waiting his turn in the holding blind. This is not a good thing as it shows lack of control. But I got him back, leashed him up, and waited for callbacks.

Most of the dogs got called back. A few didn’t. There was one dog that decided to eat the bird, another that never did come back willingly to the handler and had to be corralled, and a couple of dogs who didn’t deliver their bird to hand. But that was the minority. I really felt for those people, having been in their shoes with one of my dogs too many times.

But we were called back to the water.

I think the two marks were about 80 yards and 70 yards. Both of them had the dog leave the bank, swim across some water, get up onto the land on the far side of the pond, trot some distance to pick up the bird, and then do a return trip. Or at least, that was the idea. It was a relatively small pond, so several of us were not surprised when the test dog ran along the bank around the pond instead of swimming through it.

So the judges put up a hunting blind at the start line, just to the left of the handler, with the idea that this would dissuade the dogs from running the bank.

It worked. I don’t think any of the dogs ran the bank. Instead, they all happily entered the water. Some, like Carlin, leapt in, ears a’flyin’, while others more sedately trotted in.

Carlin did a nice, very straightforward job of his water marks. In the water, out on the land, pick up the bird, and bring it back to hand. No bank running, no shenanigans, no quartering. Just solid good work.

That was Carlin’s 4th pass in a retriever Junior Hunt test, and that earned him his JH title. I was so pleased and so grateful to all the people how have helped us get to this place.

Carlin, Junior Hunter, Sand and Sage Hunting Retriever Club, October 1, 2017 with judges Eric VanStaveren and Chelsea Jensen


Read Full Post »

All-Around IWS. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? (Yes, it does.)

The Irish Water Spaniel Club of America awards a Certificate of Recognition called the “AKC All-Around Irish Water Spaniel” to IWS that are AKC Champions of Record (CH), have earned an AKC obedience title of CD or better, and have earned an AKC hunting title of JH or better.

As I wrote last Monday, the AKC officially recorded her CD (Companion Dog), the last of the necessary titles to recognize Tooey as an All-Around IWS.

She earned her show championship first at the Del Valle Dog Club show on October 24, 2010. It was her third major, and it was earned in the pouring rain.

Tooey, after her championship point, photo by Holloway Photos

Then, after almost 2-1/2 years of working at it, she passed her fourth Junior Hunt Test for her JH title at the Greater Pacific Northwest Retriever Trial Club 2013 Spring Hunt Test on March 24, 2013.

Tooey Irish Water Spaniel

Tooey, after earning her 4th JH ribbon

And finally, she qualified for the third leg of her CD at the Sherwood Dog Training Club trial on Oct 12, 2013.

Tooey_SDTC_CD_131012sm copy

Tooey with her 3rd CD ribbon — photo by Danielle Silverstein

Like all owners of All-Around IWS, I am very proud of my girl dog’s achievements. But just as I was with Cooper, I am most proud of the fact that Russ and I did it (mostly) ourselves.

  • I handled Tooey to all but 1 of her 15 conformation points for the Ch (and all 3 of her majors). The 1 point I didn’t handle her to was put on by Loren, a lovely young handler who surprised everyone when she and Tooey took the point.
  • Russ handled Tooey to 3 of her 4 retriever Junior Hunter (JH) legs (and 2 of her spaniel Junior Hunter Upland legs, too).
  • I also handled her to all 3 of her Obedience legs, qualifying in 3 of the 5 Novice trials she was entered in. She may have done better if she hadn’t been either pregnant (the first NQ) or just finished nursing her second litter of puppies (the 2nd NQ).

We did it ourselves, but of course, we didn’t do it by ourselves. We had help, lots of help, with training, grooming, transportation, housing, more training, more grooming, and untold amounts of emotional support.

So a lot of thanks are in order.

For the CH, thank you to Stacy, Rebecca, and Colleen for their skills and hours of grooming help. And to Jack and Colleen for observing Tooey and I running around and up-and-back in the conformation ring, and then making helpful comments. To Tammy who convinced me to travel with her to California, where Tooey got her last championship point. And to all the IWSCOPS and IWSCA members who applauded our efforts at shows and specialties, and encouraged me to continue showing even though Tooey seemed to keep getting Reserve Winners (2nd place) instead of Winners.

For the JH, thank you to Butch Higgins, who trained Tooey to mark, fetch, hold, and deliver birds. She wasn’t easy, not having the confidence or the natural drive Cooper has and being way more stubborn than he. But she got the basics at Butch’s (as well as 1 JH pass), and when she got home, she realized that she mostly liked working for Russ (more than working with Butch or me, anyway) and had fun practicing with him in the field. That doesn’t mean that it went quickly. It took her 2-1/2 years and 11 tries to get her JH title. But we all worked, she gradually gained confidence in handling strange places and people, and finally, she got those last 4 birds for her 4th Junior Hunter pass.

So thanks to everyone who helped us practice and Tooey to gain confidence. I’m sure I’ll forget some folks, but thanks to Hank, Holly, Norm, Jim DavisAnne Everett, Janice, Donna, and Christine and all of our hunt test friends and training groups who helped us with training, test scenarios, advice, stories, real hunting experience, commiseration, and encouragement.

And for the CD, my gratitude goes to Colleen and the Academy of Canine Behavior trainers who worked with Tooey while she was in season, pregnant, or nursing and staying at Colleen’s, to my teachers Joan Armstrong and Cindy Leung, and also to Claudia, Linda, and Cathy, and the many other members of the Sherwood Dog Training Club who set up matches and played judge for Tooey and I to practice with.

And most of all, thank you to Judith, who bred Tooey, and to Colleen, who sent Tooey to me, thinking that she was lending Tooey to me for only a few months. And to Russ, again and always, for everything.

Read Full Post »

The AKC website confirms that March was truly wonderful. I still smile whenever I think about it.

First Cooper got his Rally Excellent (RE) title:


And then Tooey got her Junior Hunter (JH) title:


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: