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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday the URC Southern Area held their Puppy and Novice tests at Popes Oak Farm. The judges were Mrs Sheila Rapley, Nick Potts and Roger Wade. The awards were separate – the puppy being for dogs up to 18 months of age, although the tests appeared to be very similar to the novice ones in the main.

I awoke to find Oak with a slightly “iffy” tail. He has never had “cold tail” before, but I was decidedly suspicious of it. However a search of the URC literature revealed no number to ring for withdrawals, and a short walk around the field revealed a puppy looking perfectly normal – careering around and eating cow pats with gay abandon, so I popped Oak in the Landrover and set off for the venue, with the intention of withdrawing at any point in the day should his tail appear to cause him discomfort.

Out first tests was a water retrieve – “Oh great”, I thought, “just what Oak’s tail needs!!” It was a simple mark into water (here the novices went over the water), and although the view was slightly obscured by cover it was a nice easy mark. Oak flew in, grabbed the dummy and returned at full speed. Now my mind went into overdrive. I have been working very hard to prevent Oak from shaking which he does about 3 – 6 foot away from me on the return from water. He doesn’t drop the dummy, but none the less it is a habit I have been advised to break. Given that I was in a test, and immediately behind us there was a huge combine at work, running backwards away from the water was not an option! So I had the choice of remaining quiet like the perfect handler, and practically guaranteeing that Oak would shake, or “pip pip pip, pip pip pip” on the whistle to encourage him in to me. Although I knew the judge, Roger Wade, would fault me for whistling, I felt that I needed to be consistent and that was more important than winning prizes. So as Oak’s paws hit dry land I began a musical concerto and he only had a slight head shake as he passed me the dummy to hand. So I was pleased, and although I did lose 2 marks, when I discussed it with Roger afterwards he agreed that I was right to train the shake habit out and gave me some good advice regarding doing so.

Second test was a long mark on a grass ride. The dog had to go though long grass, up a hill on an angle. Oak shot out, got to the ride a little below the dummy but worked up with no help from me and scored 19.

Third test sounds nice, but caused a lot of problems in both Puppy and Novice, with only I think 3 dogs doing it very nicely. We were with the majority! The mark was thrown into a “rubbishy” area of ground, with grass tracks either side. For some reason the majority of dogs did not mark it accurately and needed a lot of handling. There was also a lot of very interesting non dummy scent in the area, which was taking dogs mind’s of the dummy. I had to handle Oak a lot, and it was a long distance away to do so. He did ok, and got the dummy, but without his usual style and speed, and we scored 16. I was worried that his tail may be starting to hurt him. It was still “not quite right”, although he was holding it straight when working. We stopped for lunch now I discussed my worries with a couple of friends. Both felt that Oak looked fine, and I should continue. I decide it would depend on the next test – if he wasn’t happy I would withdraw.

Fourth tests was off lead heel work beside a pond, with a dummy thrown in there as a distraction. You then had to send for a blind straight ahead of you, stopping the dog and handling left down a path where you lost sight of them and had to hope they found the dummy. Oak did this copy book style and scored a 20. I thought perhaps I was worrying unnecessarily about his tail.

Fifth test was off lead heelwork along the side of the combine harvester field, with an unseen in the long grass beside the ditch on your right. You had to send the dog straight, stop him, and handle right. Oak did it perfectly and scored 20.

Out final test was a four dog walk up, then a drive, and then turn and send for an unseen on an angle behind. A number of puppies found this too much and ran in. Oak was steady but our downfall came with the retrieve. You had to send on an angle to an unseen. This was forward and to the right of you, beside a lake. The danger was that once the dog got into the area you would lose sight of him, and on such a hot day could easily disappear from sight into the lake, and join the family of two swans with their cygnets! I intended to send straight up the ride, then stop Oak hand handle right directly to the area. On our left was a field of corn which I though would be a barrier to guide him straight ahead – wrong!! Oak headed straight into the corn! I stopped him, which he did well but with a confused look on his face. I asked the judge (Roger again) if I needed to send him from there or if I could restart him. Roger said “hmmm, well you should send from there but go on, restart him”, so I set him up again, and he did exactly he same thing!! Roger then said, “take him forward a bit and send him again”. I walked a few steps forward, and send him on the angle, and he did it perfectly! Obviously we scored a zero but I was pleased that Oak achieved and cross with myself because I can’t have set him up properly in the first place.

All in all, despite a zero, Oak came 6th, and I felt that given the heat and the questionable tail he did really well. By the evening the tail was definitely droopy so he was a real trouper to do so well for me.

The results were a well deserved win for B Harvey with Garrethall Quartz – 120 - full marks!! 2nd W Harrison Chalvington Coast – 117 3rd and 4th H Fletcher Henergy Pineapple Rock 113 and Henergy Brodwin Orange (not sure of the mark) COM N Franklin Leadburn Gamble 106

Novice results were 1st D Petty Fyrlewalk Charlie, 2nd T Walsh Tudorcourt Hornbill, 3rd P Sales Hogarth Cookie 4th C Cox (not sure which of her two dogs)

Thank you to everyone who made it such a nice day

Katy
 

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Katy, it sounds as if you did some really good handling work! you tried to help Oak the best you could when he was struggling a bit and yet still ended up in a very respective 6th place - well done!!! 8)

Natasha
 

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thanks Katy - sounds like Oak & you did really well especially if he had a slightly troubled tail

please keep these reports coming - I don't have a clue at the moment (though i hope to put that right in the future :wink: ) but all these reports get my mind working and starting to try to envisage things.
 

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great write up and well done to you and Oak. Hope his tail isn't causing him any problems today
 

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Sounds like a fantastic effort! Well done to both of you :)
 

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Great write up, thank you for that :wink: I do always enjoy reading about other's days. Sounds like he did a good job for you, especially since he had a wonky tail, bless him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to you all for your nice comments. I was very pleased with my boy.

Poor Oak's tail was a bit droopy yesterday, but is back to full wag today! He is going to see his Mum and sister in a minute, so he can wag it to full effect now!

Katy
 

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Well done Katy, was very pleased for Wendy - and little Bondy baby loved his quick walk round meeting everyone!

Glad Oaks tail is OK.
Di
 
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