So having arisen at the crack of dawn, finally the journey was over and I’d found my spot in a field, thankful of the invention of 4 wheel drive I squished in amongst the other cars and went to meet Dave and Maureen.
We started with a brief outline of what to expect then we all got our dogs out to give them a stretch before starting any real work.
The day was split into 2 main sections, before lunch was all track based and after lunch we covered the remaining disciplines.
Thankfully we had all wrapped up warm as it was a chilly, chilly day. We did a very brief bit of heel work at different paces just to see how the dogs were with their handlers.
As everything had already been set up before our arrival we then popped our dogs into their tracking harness’ and we were good to go. I wasn’t sure how we would do as when Kodi used to attend the Essex 2000 WT club he wasn’t very focused at it but it seems he must have grown up some in between. As the first track was laid out Dave teased Kodi with the toy we had bought along and as he became more excited he sat and looked to me (we normally start our ‘go find’ games at home like this so I guess he thought he wouldn’t get to go find without sitting and looking for his go ahead command). When the track was finished I took him to the start pole and encouraged his nose to the floor then let him go, I had to make sure that the line he was on was fed out slowly and that I held him back as he went as he was sweeping and I was told that we didn’t want that to get too wide, he flew along the track to the toy and was really pleased with himself at the end! We did a second one straight off and he did well once more, Dave said he thought Kodi was a great dog who would do well for me as he was so eager to work, its something I hear alot but I need to learn to balance his full on energy and drive with the patience to wait for the work. I also often find myself one pace behind rather than in front (figuratively speaking!).
It was interesting watching the others work too and it was actually interesting to watch how the other dogs watched each dog working, when things got exciting the watching dogs got excited and when things were tense they were all quiet and watching. Sometimes in between the younger (or younger at heart) characters would stop for a brief romp.
We then popped to a local cafe for lunch although most of us were already exhausted and just had a cuppa and a rest.
After lunch we headed back to have one more go at the tracking but this time we would each get to do one long one, it was good as it gave a much better picture of how they would do as the last pole was removed so we had to rely solely on the dog.
With the tracking line work out of the way the harness’ were removed for the jumps. I had secretly been looking forward to these all day long! On all the jumps and scales we were talked through and shown the best way to set our dogs up for success, firstly as a group then individually once Dave had seen how each dog worked.
We started with the normal jump at low level and gradually added a bar or two depending on how well the dogs were coping with the jump. Kodi jumped it no problem and was very good at landing and sitting when asked to. We used his toy to make sure he kept focus and didn’t go off to play (he and a 3yr old HPR lad had taken a shine to one another from the off that day) but I don’t think he would have been distracted without it as he really wanted to work.
The scale was next but this was definately not our forte. Kodi made it over but he took it for a jump rather than a scale and he also seemed to find it a bit scarey. It was strange as it was the same height as the jump but just solid and I can only assume that was what put him off.
Long jump was last and this was definately Kodi’s thing, I think having such a long body and long legs really helped as he cleared it by miles everytime he went over.
Retrieves were next but we were not so good at them, it all started well but after finding and acknowledging the toy Kodi moved on to a new smell and went off hunting, luckily he was on a long line as they had wanted to see how he would do before letting him off. I did call out to him to ‘bring’ and eventually he went back to the toy, picked it and bought it back for me but he didn’t really see the point beyond actually finding it. It was during the retrieve I managed to take a tumble and hurt my hand, the field was quite bumpy/holey and I missed my footing, fell and landed on my back, Kodi however continued to track and as the line was round my hand it pulled it in some way that ended up with all my fingers hurting, I’m thinking it was just muscular though as they ache today but that’s all.
The day ended with the search squares but Kodi and I didn’t have a go as it was just after I had hurt my hand doing the retrieve, it was interesting to watch though and perhaps next time we can give that one a go.
At the end of the day, once again, I am never cease to be amazed with my boys energy levels, I came home and flaked out and he came home and was looking for his next job!! Once again he did good, I was proud of him as always as he always gives 200% and it was an enjoyable day.
The club might be putting only a monthly Working Trials club, I enjoyed it thoroughly but don’t see it being my ‘thing’ as I have been so struck with the hunting day we did with Trevor. Anyone interested in more details of the WT Days feel free to mail me and I will give you the relevant details.