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.