Saturday, 14 April 2012

Quincy's Big Day Out

Quincy and I competed in our first Gundog Test today. We completed a series of 3 tests: field retrieves, water retrieves, and hunted retrieves in cover. Quincy struggled a bit with the first, I let her down on the second, but once we got over our nerves we achieved a perfect score of 20 on the last one.

This is my Noble Canine pose...

Doesn't she look proud? She should - she earned a 3rd place in the Puppy Retriever Class, with a respectable score of 46/60.

I think she's smiling in this picture!

If I'd not made a mistake at the water retrieve, it would have been 2nd place. I think Quincy forgives me but, just in case, I've made her a conciliatory dinner of scrambled pheasant eggs and pasta.

We move up to the Open class, and will compete again in July. Quincy has plenty of time to train me between now and then.


Poppy Cottage said...

Fantastic and congratulations. She is looking mighty lovely, boy do I miss Daz on times like this.

Good luck with The Jen Training Quincy.

Patti Skorupa said...

I would love to read a description of the tests and the challenges you faced. I expect the test is very different from the ones we participate in in the U.S.

Congratulations on Quincy's Third Place!

Captain Shagrat said...

wow she's all grown up. Beautiful

Jennifer Montero said...

Patti - There doesn't seem to be any definitive test, or series of tests, that you can look up and practice for (like there is in dressage for horses for example).

More confusing, there are working tests (to assess a working gundog) and there are field trials which appear to be ultra-competitive with dogs trained like souped-up sports cars.

We did a Retriever working test. Neither Quincy nor I had ever been before, so my experience is limited. I can tell you what our 3 tests consisted of:
1) Double retrieve in open field. Handler asks dog to sit. remove lead. walk to heel 10 ft to next peg. sit dog. gun goes off and 1st dummy thrown. gun goes off and 2nd dummy thrown. Judge tells you to retrieve 1st dummy. Send dog. Dog retrieves to your hand. Take dummy from dog. Send for 2nd dummy. Dog retrieves etc. as above Finish with a sit or stand at heel. Put on lead.

In this case we got marked down because Quincy failed to see 1st dummy so I had to guide her in (5 pts. off). She marked 2nd dummy but hunted it the last few feet when a retriever should go straight out/straight back in open field (5pts off).

2) Water retrieve similar but only one dummy to retrieve: Sit dog at peg. gun fires, dummy is thrown into pond, dog marks it. Judge tells you when to send your dog. Send dog on voice command. Dog swims to retrieve dummy, brings it to hand. I forgot to sit Quincy (5pts off) and when she brought dummy back, she dropped it to shake water off herself, then picked it up and brought it to hand (5 pts off - big no-no. Must give dummy, THEN shake. I have to train her to do that now)

3)Marked retrieve in covert. Again a sit-heel-sit to start. Gun fired. Dummy thrown into covert (tall grass, bracken etc). Dog marks it. Judge tells you when to send your dog. Dog sent on voice command and hunting is encouraged. Retrieves to hand. We had no faults on that test.

I hope that gives you an idea for comparison purposes - is it much different for the US gundog tests? You can find more info/details about working test standards on

Even if Quincy was brilliantly trained, we could never compete in field trials because Quincy would have to be registered with the Kennel Club and she doesn't have any papers (although she's a lab, she's unregistered). She's a commoner, like me!

Jennifer Montero said...

She's still a baby mentally, but I see her making grown-up steps, and gaining confidence all the time. I miss having a little puppy to cuddle though.

Terry Scoville said...

Congrats to you and Quincy. That takes a lot of time to train them and patience too. I know who I'm gonna visit when I get my new Yellow Lab pup. Quincy looks to be a tight package as in all muscle and very strong, beautiful!

Patricia Skorupa said...

Sorry for the delayed reply, Jennifer. We were out training our Flatcoats all day yesterday.

Thanks for the overview. There are so many different tests/trials in the U.S., that it's hard to compare a U.S. test to a U.K. one. I would be happy to send you more complete descriptions of tests in the U.S., but here is an overview.

There are three major groups that offer tests/trials for retrievers in the U.S. The AKC, NAHRA, and UKC. The largest group is the AKC, the American Kennel Club. They offer titles in two different events. Hunt tests, and field trials.

Hunt tests are judged by performance against a standard. For young dogs or (or older dogs that haven't had other experience, their first event would be the Junior Hunter tests. That test doesn't require steadiness (dog is brought to line on lead, handler can remove lead, but hold onto collar until released to retrieve), and is two land singles, two water singles.

The AKC Field trial stakes (the sports car events) are judged for placements and JAMs (judges' awards of merit), and have several classifications. For puppies under two, there is the derby. Singles and doubles on land and on water, but the distances are huge, and the dogs are judged on the straightness of the lines taken to the marks.

The AKC also recently allowed some retrievers to compete in spaniel tests, which also include upland tests (finding non-marked game in cover.)

NAHRA has some upland in their advanced tests, as does the Canadian Kennel Club.

The UKC more closely replicates actual hunting situations that U.S. hunters are likely to encounter, but for advanced stakes, the distances between the line and the fall are huge, and the terrain plays a big part. In their super retriever series, that is a big element in separating the winners from the other dogs.

Patricia Skorupa said...

BTW - spayed/neutered dogs/bitches can compete in AKC hunt tests/field trials after applying for a ILP (or new equivalent) registration. If two lab club members agree that the dog looks like a lab, they can compete in everything that fully registered labs can do. The only thing ILP dogs can't do is conformation.