As a member of the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association I am blessed with a club that loves to get their retrievers involved in all kinds of events. It is also great to see the level of folks ready to lend a hand to make these events a success.
Every year after the duck hunting season winds down the PSLRA starts having hunt training days that lead up to the twice annual Working Certificate event and our spring and summer AKC Hunt Test events. The purpose of the training days is to introduce the dogs and their owners to the basics of hunt training for working certificates or hunt tests. There are generally a bunch of puppies running around getting their first look at a bird and some more seasoned dogs to help show everyone how it’s done. We have hunt test judges as well as folks that participate at all levels of hunt games all the way up to field trials. All-in-all, it makes for a great educational day as well as just one more opportunity that the PSLRA offers us to all get together and have some fun with our Labradors.
This day was different than most of the training days I have attended. Generally speaking, winter is usually starting to loosen its grip on the Seattle area by this time, however, a nice winter storm worked its way across western Washington and left it blanketed in snow for the last week. It was a brisk and lightly snowing so only the hardiest of souls showed up. Our Labradors were especially active as they love the snow and took every opportunity to romp around as we prepared for the event.
Kimberly Dotson (Clovercreek Labradors) chaired the event. With the help of Ron Perry (PSLRA President), Darlene Pado (ReiMur Labradors), Dixie Humble, Fred Drennan, and our trainers – Chuck Hilton and Sharon Hilton (Hiltonhall Labradors) – we all had a great time with our dogs.
We first ran through some of the basics. Dixie and the black Labrador, Miley, showed us a trick for training by yourself – teach your pup to sit (and stay) on a mat or small platform and then you can go to where you want to throw your mark without additional assistance. It is a little more time consuming but it will get the job done. Then Chuck demonstrated how to teach your dog to hold starting with placing a gloved finger in the dog’s mouth.
Then it was onto the fun. Each dog had its turn at the line. Some of the more experienced dogs went first while owners and their dogs watched getting the gist of approaching the holding blind, coming to the line, and releasing your dog after the judge says “dog”. Most dogs did great although my girl Bala (Rimrock Anlan Of Balbriggan) got so excited that she managed to twist herself around before the bird landed so she did not see the fall. She needed a little assistance finding the bird but immediately picked it up and brought it back. Not quite a retriever to hand but we are on our way. Bala wil begin working towards her AKC Junior Hunter Title this spring.
This event, like all of the events that the PSLRA and its members put on, was a smashing success! Thanks.
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