Before discussing ”bye” dogs, a medical update on Doc. I stated that in his hunt tests last week that he wasn’t his normal self and we thought he had an ear infection. We took him to the vet on Friday and it turns out that he has a severe ear infection, in spite of the fact that we’ve been diligent with trying to keep his ears clean. He’s now on antibiotics and a new type of ear wash, and is scheduled for a checkup in a couple of weeks. Considering the severity of his ear infection, it makes his it makes performance in last week’s hunt tests even more admirable.
Now for “bye” dogs. In AKC pointer hunt tests, two dogs are braced together for each test, so when a dog is without a brace mate, another dog – a “bye” dog – is braced with the dog that is being tested. The bye dog can be evaluated, scored, or simply run in the test without being evaluated or scored.
Some owners or handlers may not want to volunteer their dogs as a bye dog especially if they are going to be testing, because each test wears them down a little. However I volunteered Doc as a bye dog although he was going to be testing twice that same day. I decided that it would be good experience and since we normally hunting 4-6 hours a day during hunting season, an hour-and-a-half of testing wasn’t asking too much.
I could have moved Doc up to a Senior in both of his remaining tests but that would have complicated the testing schedule. The test chairman would have had to find a bye dog to replace Doc in one of his Junior tests, and for Doc to enter two Senior tests, an additional brace would have had to been created and a bye dog would have had to be found for Doc.
A light rain fell Sunday morning, 5-18-14
Doc was almost back to normal by Sunday, so I decided to move him up to a Senior hunter. To keep from causing scheduling problems, I moved him up to Senior in only one of his tests and I believe that he would have passed it had it not been for my handling error.
Doc actually ran in three tests, the first as a bye dog in a Junior hunt test – more on that in the next post. Unlike Saturday, it rained most of the morning and the cool temperature invigorated him. As a reslult, he ran an almost perfect test as the bye dog. Doc had one beautiful point and then did a very nice job of honoring his bracemate, a German Shorthair who earned her Junior title with that test. However I noticed that he flinched when the blanks were fired, leading me to believe that his ear infection had returned.
Doc’s Senior test came up while we were still running his Junior test, so he was given the opportunity to take a short break before his Senior test. He had already ran in two tests but didn’t show any sign of being tired, so I gave him about five minutes to catch his breath and wet him down. Then we hit the field and his first Senior test was underway.
Doc was quartering when he flushed a bird that was downwind from him. He whirled around and stopped, and at that point I could and should have “whoa’d” him. Instead, I said nothing and he took off in pursuit, an immediate disqualification. The problem was that I’d gotten some of the Master and Senior test rules mixed up and forgot that I could “whoa” him once he established his point.
Regardless, he did very well in spite of an apparently painful ear infection. Now it’s looking forward to next year, and Senior titles for both Doc and Mia.
Darby Canyon Doc Savage earns his hunt title, 5/17/2014
Doc Savage earned his Junior Hunt title on Saturday and may have passed his first Senior Hunt test on Sunday had it not been for handler error. It was a tough weekend of testing, as Saturday he struggled with either the heat or long car ride the day before, and Sunday I pushed him with an additional test. Regardless, he overcame it all and I couldn’t have been happier with his effort.
I don’t like my dogs to hunt or test on an empty stomach but I don’t feed them a big meal either. Doc refused his breakfast on Saturday morning and since he’s not always a morning eater, I didn’t think anything of it. The weather was sunny and in the upper 60’s when we arrived at the test site, and in the low 70’s when he hit the bird field. He was braced with a little Brittany who qualified for her Jr. Hunt title later that morning.
Doc didn’t have much energy before the test and even though I wet him down, didn’t seem very interested in hunting; the judge and several people who’d seen him test in March also commented on his lack of energy. As a result, he didn’t find a bird and subsequently didn’t pass the test. It was also partly my fault; the judge explained that I wasn’t reading Doc’s body language correctly – particularly his tail – and it was making him indecisive.
We had a couple of hours between tests, so I cleaned out his ears thinking that perhaps his ear infection had returned, then put a cooling vest on him and we both took a nap. Whatever his issues were, he awoke refreshed and was back to his normal self by the time his second test began.
Doc was braced with a German Shorthair and we were well into the bird field when the Shorthair went on point. Doc, coming in behind her, hit a solid point himself. The Shorthair’s owner flushed the bird and they were off hunting again but Doc remained on point; where I thought he was honoring the Shorthair, he was pointing a bird of his own.
He pointed one more bird before “time” was called, and with that Doc earned a very respectable score of 7-9-9-10.
I took the guys out in the pasture for an afternoon run and with our pond now full of water, it turned into an afternoon swim. While everyone enjoyed wading and grazing on grass, Sophie, Dakota and Doc retrieved sticks.
Dakota goes airborne for a stick.
Where’s my stick?
Choco joins the guys wading.
All sorts of things to sniff!
I finally get my chance to retrieve!
Although the law regarding tail docking was passed in Ireland, it looks like veterinarians are standing together in refusing to dock tails – Thanks again for bringing this to my attention. http://www.irishshooter.com/showthread.php?12111-vets-standing-together-NOT-tail-docking-working-dogs-or-not