Monday, October 11, 2010

And then the wheels came off..

at the NA test. We went to Gunners NA test as you all know yesterday. I will attempt to tell you all about it. In that I try to be brutally honest in this blog, posting the good days/times/training and the bad. Also as an Athlete I know you can have the Natural Talent and have trained and sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. Yesterday we were Bear snacks.
We all got up at 2:30 am and Left for the testing ground about 4 am. Got there right about 7 the drive was dark but uneventful. It was cool at that time...that would change.
Took Gunner over to stretch out his legs and get some relaxed. Me too. The got out his new stake out thing and got him all set up. He was fine with it but was wound tighter than a 2 dollar watch. All the new people and dogs and activity. The meeting was called an the Judges gave out the instructions. The Judges were very nice and helpful and I truly appreciate what they must go through on the 2 days of testing all these different dogs and handlers. So any comments are not a reflection on them. But on myself and my boy.
Were were dog number seven. First test of the day was the field portion. It runs 20 minutes per dog. One at a time. Poor Gunner had to wait about 2-3 hours for his turn then we got to go.
I was worried about alot of things going into this test. As you all know he has had an issue flushing his birds and catching or chasing. But he ALWAYYS points first!! I mean always. Well not on Test day. I will not say that his points are always magazine cover perfect or very long but they are getting longer and more steady. So I was worried about his chasing. Yay he did not do that. But he only pointed twice. Once I know the judge did not see and the other was not very good. We did the test a bit different than I have trained too. That was my fault in being prepared. When we hunt it is more let Gunner lead with his nose and if he gets birdy, you Weim folks know the little tick tock of the tail that tells you. I slow down and he either finds and points or moves on. On this test I had to just keep walking and not really slow. So I felt off and a bit uncomfortable too. Gunner spend alot of time catching up and then running into the brush to hunt. I'll have to work on that. He still should have pointed because he did find a couple birds.
We got to the second part of the field and he was tired and even laid down under some shade.I have never seen him lay down and we work some hard terrain in the afternoon heat. After that he did bump up 2 pheasant hens and one chukara. Again he did not chase. I don't think by then he cared. Never saw that before either. He was not bad about his recall until he was truly bad. I let him get way to far out in some deep cover and away he went. I was so nervous I could hardly call him back and I did not hunt him with confident like normally. So his terrible score of a 1 in Pointing and I think either a 2 or 3 in Cooperation was partly/mostly my fault. I felt bad about it and like I let Gunner down. He did look happy for most of the field by the end he just wanted to get in the pond and get cool.
The rest of the dogs went after us and I think most of them did stellar. Then we had lunch.
After lunch it was the Track portion. The Judges were very helpful and I credit them for helping me get Gunner going in not to excited. Even though we did have to wait on another bird to track. Out first one got to hot and had to be taken back to the pen. Anyway I did as the Judges instructed and after letting him smell the feather pile the first 2 times before I let him go he was a bit distracted but the third time was the charms and I released him softly with not a sound and off he went like a little tick tock tail vacuum cleaner. Not running in circle or all over just tick, tick to the edge of the woods. He went in and I hoped he would find it and point but he did not find it and after he looked for a bit came back out and I swear as he went by Judge Tony L. He looked up like OK?? and came back to me and we exited the hot and windy field. Gunner got a 4 in the Tracking. That is the best you can get and I was feeling better. Then we waited for the rest of the dogs to do theirs.
Then it was time for the Water part. And my now water loving dog was happy and excited to do this. We got down to the water and the Judges once again gave instruction and I threw the first dummy and Gunner just flew after it. I actually threw it too far. Not for Gunner but the Judge said you dont have to throw it that far. Gunner brought it back and I threw again and he did great. He snagged an extra bumper while I was taking him up the bank for his physical exam. But he gave it to me not a problem. Gunner got a 4 in this as well. Then they checked his teeth. Gunner did OK with this . No growling and let the judge look at them. They checked his coat and he was squirmy and he was not happy about them checking the testes. Again he didn't growl or anything bad but he didn't like it either.
We were done and just had to wait for the Judges to total up the scores. Some of our dogs did great. Andrew, Out test sec.s Dog ,I believe got a 112 prize 1. I was happy and very nice guy from Penn got a 110 prize 1 too. Gunner got an 87 I think..I think because I was a little upset. I knew that we did not do well on the field I was expecting not a good score. It was upsetting all the same. I also was trying not to be a girl and cry so I'll have to wait to get the rest of the numbers but I do know we did not prize. I was a long drive home and Gunner was crashed out all the way home. And when we got home he got a treat, a White Castle Hamburger, for doing everything I asked him too. Clearly and with confidence. I can't ask him for any more than that . He is a good dog and I know he points...I don't really truly know what happened to it yesterday but we will just move on from here and do some hunting and some training and look towards the future and the UT and his AKC stuff. If you stuck it out this far I want to thank you all for your support and my emotions are a bit tender this morning. Thanks to all th eguys and ladies of MId-Ohio and especially Ron B who has helped Gunner and I alot. And he if I drive him nuts he at least doesn't show it to me and is very helpful. Thanks to Bill for being very calming. Gunner is tired but his usual self and we will go run later. I'm disappointed in me..not in Gunner, but will keep moving forward.


  1. Aww...I am sorry that it didn't go better. It was a totally new environment to Gunner and trialing the first time is always so nerve wracking. Even though you try not to let your nerves get the best of you it doesn't seem to work and the dogs can totally sense that. Plus, it is all new to him as well and I am sure he was exhausted after all of that. The first agility trial we took Sagira to, she was SO mean and unhappy by the end of it I didn't think I ever wanted to take her to another, but they do come around and get used to it and then things just "click". Keep it up, you guys will know what to expect next time and go in and kick some bird butt! :)

  2. I also posted on WA... this was an excellent learning experience... keep at it... you and Gunner will get it!

    thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. It sounds like a very exciting experience. Keep at it and Gunner will always be our number one! Debbie and Holly