To say Cleo was a hunting machine today would be a gross understatement. She nailed every bird that was put out for her brace and then some. The judges kept commenting about how much drive she had and how that's something you can't teach a dog. They either have it or they don't. She would barrel through the thickest cover without hesitation. At one point she actually army crawled under a log to get into a hedgerow. The judges kept saying wow she can really hunt. But on her second to last bird, just like yesterday the bird flushed itself and Cleo broke. She lept into the air, caught the bird and delivered it to hand to Jim. It was such a great feeling that she brought it back but at the same time we knew she failed.
Cleo on the go!
Cleo not only hunted great and found birds today but she listened wonderfully and honored. I think everyone in the field was disappointed for us. When we were finished the one judge shook Jim's hand and said, "I'd love to pass this dog but I can't. But feel free to drop her off at my truck on your way out because she is one driven dog." That's such a nice thing to hear and we know she did well. So it's back to training. We won't be able to run her in another AKC event until the fall. We also plan on running her in the NAVHDA UT Test at the end of September so we have a few more months to keep working on things.
Cleo's brace mate a male Vizsla named Jak
Overall this weekend was a great experience. I can tell you both Jim and I learned so much about handling. There was an AKC official there from Tennessee that walked with me yesterday and he was super generous with information. All the judges were friendly and helpful. I also want to take a second and say thank you to the Del Val German Wirehair Club for sponsoring the event. Their volunteers really work hard to make sure things go smoothly and if it wasn't for people like them, people like me and Jim wouldn't have a place to do this stuff. It would have been nice if things would have been different but just like in fighting you always learn more from your losses than from your wins.