Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The journey to our first JHR pictures

Enjoy these wonderful pictures of the journey to our first JHR leg.  
Photos by Diane Gallagher and Nan Caison.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I had to sit on a bucket for the tests on Saturday

Coming back with the first bird

On her way to the second bird.  Mia tried really hard but just couldn't come up with the bird.  It was a challenging mark - see the picture below.

Sunday, October 14, 2012
It's a little cold this morning...and this water is kinda dirty...but there's a bird out there and I'm gonna get it!

Love the reflection!

I found it!
Here I come - is this what you wanted??
2nd mark - Almost there...
Darn water in my ears! 
I got another one!

On the way to the blind for land marks

Are we going again mamma?

I'm ready to go...I smell them birds!

And she's off!


I got it!


2nd mark - Mia had to go through water and get out on the other side

Took some work  (and some praying) but I kept my cool and managed to get her to the bird!  Phew!

We did it!!!  One down...three to go :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mia earns her first JHR leg!!

So proud of herself - almost like she's saying, "That's right, I did it!"
I am beyond thrilled to announce that Mia earned her first JHR leg  (Junior Hunter-Retrieving) this weekend at the Lumber River Retrieving Club Hunt Test in Rose Hill, NC!!  Starting in September 2011 (just over a year ago), the AKC decided to allow the versatile hunting dogs, like weimaraners, to enter retrieving hunt tests.  Since Mia is such an awesome retriever and I have an amazing mentor, Diane Gallagher, I decided to take a shot and see how she did.  I entered her in Junior Hunter which requires back to back singles on land and water.  In addition, the handler cannot touch the dog, except to gently restrain the dog on the line, and all birds must be delivered to hand.  Even though Mia had been successful at the retrieving ratings for the weimaraner club, I knew the distances would be longer and the terrain would be more challenging...and it was!  The judge on Saturday was known for setting up rather difficult junior tests.  Mia did really well on the land retrieves and almost passed except for the second water mark.  The bird fell in the middle of floating grass and even though Mia tried really hard and stayed out and hunted for a long time, she just couldn't figure out how to navigate the grass.  Many of the junior dogs had a hard time with the second mark and had to be handled to it (which is frowned upon for marks).  On Sunday, Mia did the water retrieves first with relative ease.  She did the first land retrieve well and then struggled some with the second mark.  The second retrieve required the dog to go through a small pond and get out on land on the other side.  Mia had no problem with getting out of the water but missed the bird when she got over there.  It took some handling by me but eventually, I was able to get her to the bird.  I was beyond proud of how she performed both days and I know she represented the breed well.  I did get a lot of looks and questions from people there, including the judges but I think overall, people were quite supportive and pleased that we passed.  I even wore a weimaraner shirt on Sunday to help everyone figure out what she was (they had a tendency to think she was a silver lab).  Since these tests require water retrieves, I probably won't enter her in another test until late spring or early summer.  Even though Mia might be willing to swim in colder water, her coat is not designed to endure the same temperatures as the other retrievers and I would hate to turn her off of swimming because of it being too cold.  For now, we will focus on land retrieves and handling, training for utility obedience, agility, tracking, and pointing hunt tests - more than enough to keep us busy through the winter.  More pictures fromt he hunt test will be posted later this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mia earns her RD rating from the WCA!

I am thrilled to announce that Mia earned her RD (Retrieving Dog) rating from the Weimaraner Club of America on October 7, 2012.  Mia did beautiful land and water retrieves and received many compliments from the other weim owners.  The RD test requires the dog to complete a land and water double.  The dog is supposed to be steady on the line (with no restraint from the handler) and should not move until sent to retrieve by the handler.  In RD, a controlled break is allowed if the dog moves.  As long as the handler is able to verbally stop the dog before leaving the circle, you can still qualify.  Mia did break a couple of times but I was able to control her by reminding her to sit.  The RD test also requires that birds be retrieved to hand and the handler is not allowed to touch the dog at any point during the test.  Mia is very close to being ready for RDX but we have to work on her steadiness on the line.  She is very steady in training but working real birds increases her adrenaline and drive exponentially.  We also need to do some work with her releasing the bird on command.  She does pretty well the first few retrieves but then starts to get greedy and wants to hang on to the bird.  I am hoping to run her in RDX in the spring if she is ready.  

The RD test also requires the dog to retrieve birds through water decoys which is what you see in the middle right side of the picture.

Thanks to Gretchen Stephenson for taking pictures of my girl!