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On Good Friday, Lena and I went to another working test (WT). This time we didn’t need to travel so far – only to Susegården between Falkenberg and Halmstad where SSRK West Halland section arranged a working test.

We were lucky, the dog after me didn’t start, so Lena could take that spot instead of starting almost at the end of the test. In the glorious sun we moved in a loop between the five stations – and were done in less than an hour. Everything just flowed – a really great event.

Both of us started in beginner’s class and then it is just a single marked retrieve on each station. It may sound simple, but it really doesn’t have to be.

The first station began with a short stretch of heeling through a few thickets / bushes. You then stood on a small hill and a single marked retrieve landed on the next hill.

Keen’s heeling was fine, and he handled the marked retrieve very well. We were rewarded with 19 points. Tassla also managed the marked retrieve really well, got 19 points and standing ovations for the best delivery of the day!

The second station was a bit tricky. There was a marked retrieve in backlight out on a meadow without reference points, which meant that several dogs had difficulty marking. The mark landed in a little slump, so many dogs ran too far past it.

Keen marked well, searched a little; perhaps a little wider than I would have wished for, but he solved it well. However, we lost two points on a sloppy delivery … With those two extra points we would had ended up higher on podium 😉. The result was 16 points.

Tassla missed the mark because of the backlight, but Lena directed her, and she finally got it. Tassla responded nicely to all the directions from Lena, but it became a bit cumbersome and they ended up on 8 points.

The third station began with heeling and then a mark in a thicket on the other side of a meadow.

Keen was a bit wide in the heeling a couple of yards before our designated set up spot, so we lost some points. He solved the mark well and in total we got 18 points.

Tassla and Lena also got some deductions for the heeling but solved the mark nicely and was rewarded with 18 points. It was the only station we managed to film during the entire day. You can see what it looked like in the video below:

The fourth station was a mark in the forest.

Keen solved the mark well, but it ended up a bit in a slump, so he had to hunt for a bit longer than I expected. 18 points.

Tassla also marked well and did a great job with the wind, which the judge cheered her for 😀. 19 points.

The fifth station was also a mark in the forest, this one at a fairly short distance.

Keen solved it quickly and smoothly, 19 points, and Tassla finished strongly with 20 points – she couldn’t have performed any better, so Lena thought it was a fair score. 😉 I am a little uncertain about what Keen’s points deduction was due to. Perhaps the delivery was a bit quick – I just received him with a hand target without him sitting neatly in front of me to deliver.

Overall, I and Keen ended up with 90 points and a fifth place out of the 60 teams that started. Lena and Tassla got 84 points and a 12th place.

We both really enjoy competing, seeing what’s working and what we need to devote more time to work on. This time, Keen was able to keep himself together the entire time and marked so well that I didn’t have to direct him. For the next working test, we hope to be able to start in open class instead and therefore we will put more work into casting, heeling and the stop signal, even when he begins to get a bit tired.

Lena isn’t allowed to start in open class on retriever working test with Tassla, but might do another beginner’s working test just because it’s so much fun. 🙂 It really is a nice and social competition form – the equivalent does not exist for spaniels, who really do their most important work before the shot. But they can be great at marking and retrieving too! 😀


Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training
Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training

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