I had a wonderful weekend taking in my first ever field test hosted by the Vancouver Island Pointing Dog Club. First off I have to say how wonderful this club is, they are welcoming, encouraging and just plain wonderful to work with. If you are in the area and are even kind of considering getting involved in bird dog training with your pointing breed than I highly recommend you join the club and see what it's all about, you won't regret it.
Friday April 4th was the first field test and while I had my doubts that Libby was ready (we have only been out in the field working on birds a couple of times) I entered her anyway as a good way for the two of us to get some experience and to see what tests are all about. I packed up the kiddies and my Libby girl bright and early Friday morning and headed to the grounds which were about an hour from my house. I arrived with some time to exercise, potty and water Libby before our run and the club as a whole watched over Ella and Marshall while I went out into the field, which I am beyond grateful for (didn't I tell you this club is great?).
I was nervous but one thing about field tests is that they are pretty relaxed and you are able to talk to the judge as you go along which makes for a great learning experience. You are also really able to see the dog in action and how they work the wind currents for scent, how big they range etc.., and when they lock on point it's seriously exciting.
I didn't have anyone to take photos on the Friday and I sure wasn't going to try to take pics myself while I was working with Libby so there are no field pictures for that day but she had two bird finds, the first point was a little shaky but on the second one she locked on hard and we got the first leg of our FDJ (Field Dog Junior) title! To say I was thrilled would be an understatement.
Marshall and Ella played hard all day and really enjoyed themselves.
They didn't last long on the drive home.....
Saturday April 5th was a field trial and while I had entered that as well I was halfway to the trial when I got a phone call from my vet telling me they needed Phoebe in for a progesterone test before noon (stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about all that!) so I had to turn around and unfortunately missed the trial which I was very sad about. The club has a Fin, Feather and Game lunch on their trial day and apparently it was excellent....I was really hoping to get the chance to try pheasant for my first time, but next year I guess.
Sunday April 6th was the second field test and it dawned bright and sunny.
I also had a photographer as husband Chris and the kiddies all came along to watch and support Libby and I. Chris never disappoints me with his picture taking and he always takes a lot so when he comes along to dog shows and trials I'm thrilled!
Libby had a little meet and greet with Weimaraner puppy Lacey. Libby is always good with other dogs, adult and puppy alike.
Pretty head shot with Ella.
A little Mariah and Libby loving before the test started.
Did you say birds??
Heading out to the field with the judge.
Libby was raring to go!
And go we did....hunt those birds little girl!
Quick point here before moving on...just some feathers.
Here was the real point while I was getting ready with my starter pistol (the dog has to be ok with the gunshot noise in order to pass).
Walking in to kick the bird up to fly...
And my favourite shot of the day, all four feet way off the ground....she wanted that chukar!
Come back here bird! They don't have to be steady to wing at the field dog junior level, they just have to find and point the bird.
Trotting back after calling her off the bird (such a good girl for coming back...that is a real test in obedience).
We passed! That was leg number two, just one more to go before she gets to add the FDJ title to the end of her name.
What a great weekend, I am officially hooked! :)