Monday, October 25, 2010

DelVal/GSWC WCA Shooting & Retrieving Ratings Test

Savi with her new title ribbon - Novice Shooting Dog (NSD) at 9 months of age!
 We had a perfect weather day for the combined Delaware Valley & Garden State Weimaraner Club's Shooting & Retrieving Ratings tests at Collier's Mills Wildlife Management Area in New Egypt, NJ.  The Ratings tests are Weimaraner Club of America hunting tests that have their own set of standards, similar but different than the AKC hunt tests, and at the lower levels, test a dogs natural ability in the field.  Since there are no AKC retrieving tests for Weimaraners, the WCA has its own retrieving ratings, as they are called, to test retrieving skills on both land and water.  All of the tests are judged against specific criteria that the dog must meet and done on a pass/fail basis.

We had a large entry for both the morning and afternoon tests and had to put people on a waiting list as we reached the maximum number of dogs that could be run in the available daylight.  We arrived first thing in morning, 6:45 a.m., since not only were we there to help run the test, but Jam was entered in the first brace at 7:30 a.m.  This is what it looked like when we arrived...dawn with the full moon watching over us.

There was much excitement in the air as each van or truck pulled up with Weims and their owners, club members and those entered or helping, looking forward to a fun day of running the dogs.  There was great camaraderie as everyone gathered to cheer each dog on and then we all enjoyed a terrific pot luck lunch. 

Jam and Savi were entered in the morning tests and I had the pleasure of judging the afternoon tests.  It was a wonderful experience to be in the field with fellow judge, Brian Hess, seeing all these Weims first hand.  There were many talented dogs and some that it was there first time in the field with novice handlers, both of which needed more training and exposure to birds.  Not only did we do our best to judge fairly, but also felt a great responsibility to make sure that the dogs and handlers were safe and also to make it a positive experience for all. 

Savi, nine months old, was entered in both the Novice Shooting Dog (NSD) and Novice Retrieving Dog (NRD) tests and we are pleased that she passed the NSD test to get her first WCA title.  She passed the land portion of the NRD but would not retrieve the duck from the water.  Her performance throughout both tests was impressive and I couldn't be prouder of her.  As for the water retrieve, more on that later...

Jam was entered in the Shooting Dog test and started out well, finding two birds and pointing them in the back course.  She showed boldness, independence and hunted with style. The conditions were difficult as the grass cover was very high and you couldn't see the dogs.  Unfortunately, she got too far ahead of me and took out the Chukkar the other dog was pointing, not a good thing, and retrieved it to me...back to the trainer we go!
 Savi, pointing a loose quail, as we waited at the start line for our NSD test.  She hunted well, had nice points and found a number of birds on course, even retrieved it to me.
 A very excited Savi, during the land portion of the retrieving ratings.  The handler must remain in the circle made out of hose and the dog has to bring the bird back in to the circle to the handler.
 Savi went out like a shot and brought the bird right back to me!
 One of our fellow club members commented that "Savi makes it look so easy!"
 Did someone say duck?  That was the bird they used for the water retrieves and unfortunately, Savi had never been exposed to ducks and even though she had a great swim out to it, refused to bring it back.  After the test, we had an opportunity to practice with the duck and within minutes, our little retrieving machine was bringing them back from the water as if she was an old pro at this....we'll have to wait until next year to get that NRD.
Savi - did someone see that quail?


And this is what the grounds looked like just as we were leaving...a beautiful sunset.  It was a very long day, from dawn to dusk, but well worth it.  Everyone chipped in to help make the event a success and our gunners, none of whom own Weims, actually English Setters, were amazing, not only in their shooting skills, but helped us run both the shooting and retrieving portions of the test. We couldn't have done it without them.

A special thanks to my friend, Kellyann, who took all these amazing pictures plus photographed all the dogs during the day.

1 comment:

hotdogjunie said...

I can't get the Marx Bros. "Cocoanuts" skit out of my head! "why a duck? Why a no chicken?" LOL...

It was an amazing day--full of many learning experiences, tons of walking, great food, friendly company and lots of fun.

I was honored to tag along and take photos of such amazing dogs doing what they were bred to do!