I had always imagined running a dog or two in AKC's and/or NAVHDA's hunt tests. But due to my career, the ridiculously long hours I used to work, and living overseas or other locations too far off the beaten path I never got to do any of it. So now that I have the time, it seemed appropriate to try it out.
I fully understand why my mentor isn't a fan of these things, and to be honest I've learned these avenues aren't really my jam. Having said that the part I do like is being able to showcase a field dog that was "trained" using Force-Free techniques. So why do them? I hope to open a few eyes to the possibility of using modern techniques to guide (train) their hunting dog. Not only can a field dog can be trained using humane means, but exceptionally high levels of performance can also be achieved without the need to "take any hunt" out of your dog - an expression I sadly hear all too frequently in and around this type of venue.
With that being said, we signed Fizzy up for a Double, Double being held outside Kennewick WA, and I went. She did a great job, locating on average 4 birds on each outing, with only 5 to 10 minutes in the 'bird field' no less. She ran well, made nice stylish Spinone points, and held each one until I could get to her. In some cases, this was an extended period as I was on one side and she the other of the bird field.
Fizzy went 4 for 4 with great ease as a yearling. If her retrieve was a bit tighter, she would be ready for the AKC Senior Hunter test and just a few heart beats away from Master level! So as part of her journey we will help guide her in making a few improvements in her performance. She has been both interesting and fun to work with so far. I expect to have a lot of fun with this dog once our flight pen gets filled with birds here soon! Afterall, it's about the dog(s) having fun with them and getting out of the house once in a while.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some years later this is what you get.