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.

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