Some days you are the windshield...not today! After having a
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Some days you are the windshield...not today! After having a
Pizza and I did a 3 hour agility seminar this morning. I can't say enough good things about her - she was focused and enthusiastic for the full 3 hours, a complete rock star. I had people sit out in the ring for several of her runs and she never even looked at them. On the one hand, this made me
I am adding a couple of new chapters in my upcoming book
Lucky Pizza was in the first Master brace. She was fantastic off the start line, and very early in the backfield she went on a nice solid point. It took me forever to find the bird...actually I never did find it. I heeled her off, and proceeded to knock the bird up. She froze, I blanked it, and we went on working...
When we got to the bird field, my heart sunk. The cover was indeed just as bad as last year - standing well over my head for the most part (and I am 5'9"!). Worse than last year - they had much fewer paths mowed into the field, so when your dog was hunting, it was impossible to figure out where they were or to get to them quickly.
Finally Pizza went on point deep in the high cover, about 6-7 feet off the path. Thankfully I could clearly see the large chukkar she was pointing. I waited for the gunners to get in position and I flushed the bird. They shot it, and it landed in the middle of heavy, high cover, and neither Pizza nor I could even see the fall since we were standing in cover over our heads. I sent her to retrieve in the direction of the bird, and she hunted for it...and hunted and hunted and searched and searched...came out and I sent her back in several times...what seemed like
Noodle was in the third brace. She broke away like a field trial dog and was
Here's where things got weird. On her way to the retrieve, she slammed to a point. I thought she was pointing the downed bird (which was about 20-30 feet ahead of her). I kept commanding her to "get it" but she stayed locked up and ignored me.
Then things got
Finally I advocated for my dog (why the hell didn't I do that in the first place???) and told the judge that at this point my dog had no idea what I was asking her to do, and I was moving on. The other dog as on point right on the other side of the tall cover, so the judge told me to bring her in for her honor. I did, but Noodle was so scrambled she ran right by the dog and went in the cover, still thinking she was supposed to retrieve. UGH.
After I leashed her up, the judge tried to tell me she should have gotten that second retrieve, and that "in retrieving tests" she would be expected to do double and triple blind retrieves. I reminded him that this is NOT a retrieving test, and NOT a requirement. The judge's response was "You are right, this fail is on me". Not much consolation when I spent $50 and failed an otherwise awesome test.
Weird things always happen in hunt tests, and I find it fascinating how the dogs, handlers, and judges handle it. Every master test I run is educational. This knowledge truly is power, because I am going to use it to become better, and to help others become better...stay tuned!
I had the opportunity to do some field training with a friend. I brought Noodle, and we both practiced honoring back and forth. Her first one was ICKY - clear sight of the dog on point and I had to get after her 2 or 3 times before she stopped solid. After that, we had three amazing honors (OK, 2 amazing honors and one passable one). She had one where she stopped waaaay ahead of me and I didn't even realize the other dog was on point, but she did! Of course, this is training, and she knows it. She doesn't have the huge adrenaline rush she gets at hunt tests. We have another hunt test this weekend - 2 more chances to try and finish not only her Master Advanced title, but her AKC Master Hunter Award of Merit (12 MH passes). I am hopeful...guardedly hopeful.
Although I am super bummed that we are not in Florida right now, and a little heartbroken at the condition of our property after Hurricane Ian, I walked in the field today and couldn't' help feeling thankful that circumstances made it so that I didn't miss this
I worked with my field trainer today, and worked a bunch on Noodle honoring. She was outstanding. OK, I am
We put out 6 birds in launchers for Dolphin, and worked him alone. I am
Today was day #1 of the Greater Cincinnati Weimaraner Club hunt test, and I was READY! Pizza got to go first, and we soon found out that the bird field was
Noodle was next, I barely got a breather before I had to head back out. The girls were in back to back braces, and since I had the only two master hunter entries they both had to run with bye dogs.
Noodle actually stayed fairly under control in the backfield (I didn't lose her this year, yay!), but she reached the bird field way ahead of me and was already hunting. She had a beautiful solid point, the bird was shot, and she did a perfect retrieve to hand with no command. She soon went on point on another bird, but the bird flew over her head and towards the judge so a safety was called. All that was left to do was the honor, and this was the part I was the most nervous about as we have been working
Noodle is now:
Noodle got the privilege of going first at the hunt test today. Yesterday and today I had the only two Master Hunter entries, but thankfully there was someone with a couple of wonderful retired Weimaraners that she ran as bye dogs for me. Sometimes your brace mate can make or break your go, so having good ones was a definite plus.
Noodle was wise to the game and the course today, so when I released her from the start line she took off like a bullet, and was into the bird field in minutes. However, I still had to walk the entire back course, but luckily she was well-behaved in the bird field without me (according to witnesses LOL!)
Noodle hunted really hard, and there were
Noodle's bracemate went on point, and I brought her in on the honor. She was charging ahead and I had to really caution her to make her slow down so she would notice the other dog. She did stop, and I stood next to her while the other dog worked the bird. When they shot and the dog went for the retrieve, Noodle hopped forward an inch or so but stayed put. I quietly "whoa-ed" her to caution her and she stayed put the rest of the time. However, the judges told me they wanted to see her honor and hold without me cautioning her, so they went ahead and set up another honor.
At this point, Noodle was pretty
This was a nice Master Hunter pass #13, although I felt her scores were a little harsh considering how well everything else went. Oh well...I know that some judges just like to score generic passing scores and although that bothers me, there isn't much I can do about that...YET.
Next it was Pizza's turn. Man, Pizza was on fire, hunted beautifully! Her first pointed bird was shot at and it looked like a miss as it looked to have flown down on to the path. The judges gave me the option to go ahead and try to retrieve it or heel off. I chose the latter, and we heeled off and went on hunting. Pizza's second bird was a nice solid point, a good flush by me (yay!), and they shot it. I sent her in for the retrieve, and when she went out to the bird, it flew up in the air. It had only been winged. It landed again and she did get it. The bird was flapping and squawking like crazy, and Pizza only put it down once to readjust, and delivered it right to me. Probably one of the best retrieves I have gotten out of her in a long time!
We had a beautiful dramatic honor (I may or may not have done a fist pump in the air when I saw her do that from a distance LOL!). We held nicely through the retrieve, and then the judges had a little meeting and decided they wanted to see
But to further dispel that notion and complicate things, when I leashed her up, she did pick up the bird, and I walked all the way back to the van with her carrying the bird in her mouth on leash. Hmmm...this is a puzzle, and I am
Of course, tonight as I was out in the yard playing with her and Dolphin, I penned Dolphin up and threw the toy for Pizza and she retrieved three times in a row beautifully to me (for lots of praise and treats). I am going to do this every day, making it the most fun and positive experience for her so that she just gets into the habit of retrieving and enjoying it...and once that is solid we will move to throwing a dead bird for the retrieve. I have 3 weeks until our next test...
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I don't know what's gotten into Dolphin, but his agility classes yesterday and today were awesome - he was on
Yesterday I took Pizza for some field training with my friend, and she hunted amazing - there were birds EVERYWHERE and man she was finding them! The last bird was finally shot successfully, and her retrieve SUCKED. Argh! I had been practicing a retrieve at home the past few days and she was doing great! I have to get my mind wrapped around this problem and figure out a solution. And yes, I am obsessing about it. That's how I operate.
The worst thing that happened this week was Noodle...she had her agility class today and started off awesome, but towards the end I noticed that tiny little limp came back. I have rested her all week, with just a little bit of free running time out on the property. Back home we went, back on Carprofen and more rest. I am so worried, this is so unlike her. I have so many plans for her coming up, I pray she has nothing serious going on.
Dolphin!!! We headed to Zanesville for an agility trial. Sadly, I had to pull Noodle from the trial. Dolphin was a bit...um...
Master Standard was awesome - smooth and fast and under control for a really nice Q and he actually won the 24" Master Standard class...woot! Master Jumpers was a bit on the edge, and we had the trifecta - a knocked bar, a missed weave entrance, and the wrong end of the tunnel. BUT, he was fast, motivated, and happy. I'll take that!!!
I flew out at night to Raleigh, North Carolina for step #2 in my personal little goal...and I attended the AKC hunt test judges' seminar. I am excited!
The judges' seminar yesterday was AWESOME! I learned so much. I may possibly have asked a few too many questions, but I got a lot of the information I was looking for and I feel much more confident in my journey. Make a change - be the change, right? Yep!
I had the bonus of getting a chance to talk to a friend who lives out there and is an outstanding dog trainer. She gave me some great advice for Pizza, as I feel like the pressure of me and the judges is possibly what is turning her off on the retrieve. She suggested instead of standing square at her, I should turn slightly sideways so my shoulders aren't facing directly at her, to help lessen the pressure. Also, don't bend down, just stand more casually. I got home today and tried it with Pizza, and she did great! I think I might move to a dead bird this week and up it a little since she is retrieving her bumpers and toys great at home. I like having a plan. It may not work, but a plan is a plan and my crazy obsessive brain is now satisfied.
So every day this week I took Pizza outside several times and threw the rope ball or bumper for her to retrieve, she retrieved
When I run into these things that seemingly have no solution, it really gets to me. But leave it to Noodle to cheer me up - this evening I got her out and I see NO limp. I did some fun double retrieves in the house just to remind myself that I CAN actually train a retrieve successfully...my Noodlehead always raises my spirits when I need her. Even Pretzel got in on the action, he was retrieving toys like a fiend! He always loved retrieving (Dolphin gets that from him for sure!).
Oh well, back to the drawing board. I will figure something out. There is no time limit...please, someone needs to keep reminding me of this. The girl already has her Master Hunter. We will get through this blip in training eventually.
On the plus side, both Dolphin and Pizza were
Noodle stayed home from agility class today, I am hoping this nice long rest will heal whatever is bothering her in her leg or shoulder. I took her to my friend who is a canine massage therapist, she did find a knot in her right shoulder that she worked out. I am hoping and praying that she is healed...I am so afraid to take any chances with her right now.
I had brought home a dead quail from yesterday, and I brought it out to do some retrieving with Pizza in the front yard. She has been doing so awesome with retrieving the toys and bumpers, I thought it would be a nice transition to do the same retrieve in the same place, but with a dead bird this time. Yeah...
I threw the bird for Dolphin just for fun, he ran out and was so surprised to actually see a dead bird and not the usual toy. He picked it up and brought it to me but was WAAAAAY overly excited about it and I had trouble getting it back from him. I'll take that enthusiasm!
I spent the weekend with Dolphin at a Scent Work seminar. It was an all-day affair both days. We got a lot of good information to help us continue our training. The two days were very long, and I was proud of how good Dolphin was - hanging out in his crate all day with just brief moments where he got out to run the searches.
Saturday evening when I got home, I took Dolphin and Pizza out in the front yard mainly to let Dolphin burn off some steam. I brought out a new toy - a giant tennis ball. Dolphin for some reason is