Elettra hasn’t tested in 3 years and I wanted her to pass another Junior Hunt Test before entering her in Senior. It was a tough weekend for her since the temperatures there were 30 degrees warmer than at home and her tests were back-to-back both days .
Elettra’s Junior test 1 – Elettra was braced with a black pointer pup that became lost after crossing a distant ridge, and we watched him run back to camp. The continuous whistling and hacking (calling and yelling) from his handler confused and distracted Elettra, and she didn’t handle the back field very well. Time was called moments before Elettra began working a bird and going on a beautiful point.
Elettra’s Junior test 2 – As soon as her first test was over, we headed for the next test. She did a very nice job of hunting and pointed her bird perfectly, so I was fully expecting her to pass even though she hadn’t recovered from her first test. She scored high in every category except “Hunting” and therefore didn’t pass.
In a hunting test, a dog must remain in the bird field and hunting for the entire duration of the test and are disqualified if they fail to do so. When I saw her brace mate, handler, and their judge leaving the bird field with 2 ½ minutes left in the test, I assumed that the dog had been disqualified but that wasn’t the case as the Brittany scored high in every category.
Elettra’s Junior test 3 – This was Elettra’s best test and I was convinced that she would pass. She ran well and hunting nicely in the back course, and it didn’t take long for her to go on a beautiful point in the bird field. The partridge refused to flush, but Elettra remained steady while I chased it around in front of her, throwing my hat and sticks at it trying to get it to flush. Unlike her brace mate who was disqualified, I left the test knowing that she had passed. Failed in the Hunting category again.
Elettra’s Junior test 4 – When I’ve tested here in the past, my dogs haven’t passed every test but I felt they were judged fairly. So by now I was a just little angry over their low Hunting test scores and considered scratching her last test, particularly since she hadn’t recovered from her previous one which was ran in mid-day heat.
Upon starting the test, Elettra ran about 50 feet before returning and walked by my side; the heat had gotten to her. When the judge told me that I needed to get her out hunting or she wouldn’t pass her test, well, that was when I gave him an earful.
I pointed out their bias against any dog that didn’t run big like a German Shorthair or Brittany Spaniel, which he denied until I repeated what the judge told me the night before and had the test scores to prove it. This line of discussion continued for a few minutes before we went on to more a civil conversation regarding dogs and hunting.
Elettra would recover enough to begin hunting once we entered the bird field, but of course she had failed as soon as the test began. Working the cross-wind, she went on a beautiful point and I rewarded her with the flush. With that, the test and a forgettable weekend of testing ended.