Friday, April 29, 2011

Favorite things

Jam - pure enjoyment!
 The dogs have many favorite things but raw and smoked bones top the list.  I call them doggie pacifiers or babysitters, especially when earlier in the week, we had torrential rainstorms and tornado warnings so taking the dogs for a run was out of the question.  The bones also have the benefit of keeping their teeth clean.  We love the smoked bones from Paws Up On Health , who we see frequently at dog shows and agility trials, and raw bones from Wholistic Paws. , which has two stores in our area.
 Trixie in a chewing trance...find a comfortable dog bed and chew to your hearts desire or until Mom takes it away.  Sometimes the dogs play musical bones, since your bone must taste better than mine.  Fortunately, they are pretty good but we always keep a close eye as we do not want any fights or choking incidents.
Savi tries to fit the whole thing in her mouth...notice she picked the most comfy spot in the house, the king size bed!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back at it for another try...

 or are we gluttons for punishment!  At the GSWC Hunt Test, even though Jam did not qualify, the judges and our friends were very impressed with how Jam ran and encouraged us to enter the Vizsla Club of Greater New York's Hunt Test weekend at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in New Jersey the next weekend.  The consensus was that she's ready and so close to qualifying that we should keep trying.  So, enter I did.  The weekend came and the weather was confused, it was very cold and windy (very un-Springlike) and unfortunately, the grounds at Assunpink had been cut down and the birdfield was as bald as a bowling ball.  The first day, Saturday, Jam and her bracemate made it through the backcourse without getting into trouble, as there were coveys of quail in the hedgerows and bushes.  We entered the birdfield and that's when the trouble started...walking birds!  Our bracemate, a nice Vizsla saw it first and Jam not to be outdone took a look at the bird and both dogs took off after the Chukkar!  Automatic disqualification.  As much training as we've done, walking birds are just too much of a temptation.  Many of the Master level dogs and Senior dogs were taken out by the same difficult conditions.
Day two of the test, the weather turned warm and Jam was not herself, staying close and not hunting as well as usual.  However, once we hit the birdfield, I had my dog back and her body language changed and the huntress was on fire.  She immediately found a bird and went on a beautiful point.  She held the point while her bracemate backed her.
 I gave the gunners instruction as to where I was going to flush the bird.  Jam, holding her point all this time and then I went to flush the Chukkar, who was sitting in plain sight.  The darn bird would not fly, I chased it, threw my hat at it and then....Jam just couldn't stand it anymore and broke point and flushed it herself!  The bird went up, Jam did an Olympic medal worthy leap into the air and caught the bird.
 Jam repositioned the bird in her mouth for the retrieve and the bird got caught in a sticker branch on the ground.  You can see her GSP bracemate honoring through the whole fiasco. 
Then I went and untangled the bird and Jam released it and leashed my dog.  Thank you handler....
 Oh well, we were done.  I thanked the judges and moved off the birdfield.  Our bracemate did not fare too well, pointing a bird and then going in on it before it was even shot.  Tough conditions for all the dogs this weekend.  Crazy thing, we still had fun.  The Vizsla Club ran a terrific test, very well organized, had a nice raffle and thanks to Kellyann, Natural Balance dog biscuits were given to all the handlers. Many of our friends were there plus Kellyann joined us for her first ever hunt test.  She took these pictures and got the Hunt Test 101 plus spent quality time with her PBP (Puppy By Proxy), Savi.
I decided that this would be our last hunt test of the season.  Yes, Jam was very close to qualifying at times but with the weather getting warmer and cover conditions not ideal, I knew it wasn't in our best interest to continue.  She could use more training, especially on walking birds and stop to flushes, and it seems, my very smart girl is going through the terrible twos!  We have all Spring and Summer to train and will be back in style for the fall tests in another attempt to complete her Senior Hunter title.
Savi was along for the ride and had fun socializing with people and dogs alike but her favorite part was running in the fields after the test was over.  She was rewarded for her patience and as soon as she hit the birdfield, she found a quail and retrieved it to me.  Good girl!

Monday, April 11, 2011

GSWC Hunt Test Weekend

Hanging out with Junior test judges, Frank Luksa & Lou Manipelli.  Savi was along for the ride.
We were away this past weekend for hunt tests at Freeland Kennels in Weatherly, PA.  These are terrific grounds with wooded pine areas which open onto large fields.  Lots of great cover for bird planting and excellent grounds for the dogs to run and hunt on.  One of my favorite things about these grounds is that the clubhouse sits on a hill overlooking the Senior and Master birdfield and is the perfect vantage point for viewing all the action.

Saturday's test was hosted by the Pointer Club of Central New Jersey and Sunday's test was hosted by my club, the Garden State Weimaraner Club (GSWC). The Pointer Club hosted a delicious judges dinner on Saturday night.  As the Hunt Test Chair for the GSWC and that means that I was in charge of everything related to the test which started many months ago: from hiring the judges and gunners, securing the grounds, applying to the AKC to get approval for the test, preparing the premium, buying the birds, managing the helpers and a zillion other small details.  My hubby was the Hunt Test Secretary and all the entries went to him and he took care of all the paperwork the AKC requires for the test.  All in all, a very big job and I'm happy to say, we had a successful event, with forty entries, lots of qualifiers and everyone had a great time.  I was lucky to have wonderful club members who came out and helped plant birds (Peter, Mary & Peter), got handlers to the line (Michelle and Lilly) and sold a delicious breakfast and lunch (Jack, Marilyn, Lilly, Joline) plus our talented club photographer Michelle who photographed all the qualifiers. We also had a special treat for everyone who entered - a one pound bag of Natural Balance dog treats - thanks to Natural Balance and Kellyann for this greatly appreciated donation.  A heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped!

At the GSWC test, we had a good number of Weims entered in the Junior Hunter level and Jam was in Senior.  People commented how nice it was to see more Weims getting back to field work and I agree.  Lots of talented dogs from many of the pointing breeds were represented and our gray ghosts held their own.  It was a jovial crowd and very welcoming for all the novices, who felt comfortable asking questions and learning from more experienced folks. 

Jam was entered in Senior Hunter both days but did not qualify.  Her and her bracemates had great honors in the back course and made it to the birdfield.  Unfortunately, those darn Chukkar just wouldn't stay put and challenged us.  Jam received high scores of 9 out of 10 in hunting and trainability and compliments from the judges so I was pleased with her runs.  She is soooo close to qualifying and we just hope it all comes together at the next hunt tests.  

An exhausting weekend of travel, working and running dogs but well worth it.  It's also important to note that without the help of active volunteers, none of the dog clubs could put on successful events like this.  Yes, it's hard work but it is important to give back, especially when we enjoy and enter tests/shows/trials put on by other clubs.  If you haven't volunteered or stepped up, it's time to pay it forward...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Open Double Q!!!

Jam's debut in Open agility was double the fun with her qualifying in both 24" Open Standard and Open Jumpers With Weaves!  She got what we agility folks call a "double Q" and is pretty cool.  She also earned 2nd place in each class with her terrific runs, earning a leg in each and getting some new toys to take home.  Next agility trial will be at the Weimaraner Club of America Nationals, where we hope she runs just as well.