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Alfred Houde 04-10-2022 07:17 AM

Since someone brought up AKC trials, I have to tell this story...

Years ago when my American Water Spaniel was a pup I entered him into an AKC Junior Hunter Spaniel Hunt Test. He had already passed I think two NAHRA Started Retriever Hunt Tests. If I remember, the first part of the test required the dog to search a field, find and flush two birds, and retrieve both within "close proximity to the handler."

He passed the first part. Next was the water test, which was a single retrieve of a shot bird. It literally looked like a golf course pond, no cover at all. I thought "this will be an easy ribbon both days." It was early summer, and most if not all of the other entries were Cockers. Mine was the only AWS. I brought him to the line. Bird goes in the water and the Judge gives me the okay to send him. Off he goes. He swam out, grabbed the bird and started in, when he suddenly changed course and headed left towards the gallery off the bank. He exits the pond, starts toward me and then turns straight for the gallery. He decides to parade with the bird, showing all in the gallery "look what I have." He heads back to me, when he turns again towards the gallery and parades some more.

They had one of those blue plastic kiddie pools off to the side behind the gallery where handlers were dunking their Cockers after the tests to cool them down. Drake climbed in the pool still holding the bird, lifted his leg and p***ed in it.

The Judge finally thanked me and told me to leash him. Needless to say, no pass or ribbon that day.

I ended up titling him as a Hunting Retriever in NAHRA and retired him from Hunt Tests. Best duck and pheasant dog I ever owned, but he just didn't fit in with the Hunt Tests.

Sometimes they just do what they want.

Alfred Houde 04-10-2022 10:59 AM

Part of the NAHRA Hunter Test is a trailing test. I was surprised how many dogs fail this part. They drag a dead duck in a varying pattern in cover for a distance. No less than 30 but no more than 50 yards. You bring the dog to the line and he or she is judged on how they follow the trail and must make the recovery/retrieve to hand.

During this particular test day, a number of dogs failed. They would drag a fresh duck on the trail location and then set it on the pile of previous birds that the failed dogs didn't locate.

Up comes my guy (same AWS). He starts to trail and easily locates the pile of birds. He fiddles around and I'm wondering what the heck he is doing. Here he comes with the retrieve and he somehow managed to get three of those ducks in his mouth which he delivered right to me. He even sat perfectly.

Like I said earlier, you never know what the heck they are going to do. I guess that's part of the fun of it all.

Dan Steingraber 04-10-2022 11:09 AM

The hunt test stories are so funny. The more hunt tests you attend the more funny stuff you see. It’s amazing how many times you hear a handler say “he’s (she’s) never done that before.” Funny stuff.

Marty Kohler 04-11-2022 03:36 PM

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Just thought I'd share this pic.
Allie is my current gun dog.

Had many other labs... This one is a thinker.......sometimes a stinker..

Dan Steingraber 04-11-2022 03:40 PM

Handsome pup. Nice "British" head.

allen newell 04-13-2022 10:55 AM

My dad with Skyrocket's Ruff Grouse circa early 1950's
http://C:\USERS\Allen Newell\Pictures\DSCN1022.JPG

One of these days I'll figure out how to post pictures on this site

Allen Peterson 04-17-2022 11:11 PM from73 and a couple of years ago. still enjoy them

John Dunkle 05-05-2022 10:01 PM

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I've been watching this thread since it was posted, and, well...

Taken February 21st 2008, the day I rescued her from a kill shelter who diagnosed her condition as "a ditzy and crazy some sort of Spaniel" after she was found on the streets in Bangor Maine. She was twenty-seven pounds of "hot mess and bundled up energy" of rescued full bred French Brittany puppy needing for a foster home....

But instead of passing her on, she stayed with us until her final day, which was February 25, 2020. Jen and I loved her every single day of those 12 wonderful years. She out-hunted many dogs three times her size and 100 times her training - and without a lick of training, retrieved to hand - and had a rock solid point until I flushed the bird.

Dean Romig 05-06-2022 12:00 AM

Very special.


Garry L Gordon 05-06-2022 08:04 AM

What a beautiful dog, John, and an even more beautiful story.

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