Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle: Preparing for the NAVHDA UT Test

Cleo at Steady by the Blind

This posts title is a bit misleading because we never really leave the "saddle". Were always busy with the girls working towards some type of goal. It's good for our sanity and theirs as well. Well directed GSP energy creates happy GSP's. Happy GSP's eat less of my stuff like expensive flip flops keeping me happy which in return makes Jim happy and then were all happy. I love it when were all happy.

The title is more accurate in a sense that I've been a legit crappy blogger as of late. I've been training for some Muay Thai competitions and the thing that has suffered the most has been this blog. Which sucks BUT after this July I'll be way more dedicated to keeping this blog up to date. This is when I put down my bourbon and lemonade slushy and cover my tye dye t-shirt wearing heart and raise the other hand and pledge to do a less crappy job for all of you help me god.

Master Hunter Bling and a happy Jimbo

Now that we have that out of the way a quick spring recap and then onto the UT update. We ran the girls in some AKC Hunt Test braces this spring. Luna was our little super star bypassing Juniors and Seniors and jumping right into the Masters division and passing her first brace at the age of 13 months. By 15 months of age she completed 5 of the required 6 braces. We will finish off her title this coming fall as soon as the seasonal tests become available again. Cleo also did a pretty darn good job in Masters and only has 2 more braces to earn her respective title.

Luna also had her first heat cycle followed by a crazy growth spurt. She is close to an inch taller than Cleo now and maybe four inches longer. Her chest is dropping and we feel she is going to fill out a bit more. She's turned into quite a hellacious tank. My little pupper is all grown up. ***This is when the sad trombone music plays***

Luna returning from her Duck Drag

Cleo being sent on a duck drag. Jim telling her to Track Track Track Track....

Cleo bringing back the bounty

This time last year Luna was a 16 week old puppy and therefore missed out on a good portion of the UT work we put in with Cleo last year. We introduced her to ducks at 18 weeks of age and tried to lay a good foundation for her with mini searches and tracks but we knew the real work would start this spring. This past Friday and then again on Sunday we began formally introducing her to the sequences of the Utility Test. Both Luna and Cleo are scheduled to test in the UT this coming September at the Delval Chapter.

Cleo being sent during the steady by the blind sequence

Luna staying steady during her turn

We kicked training off for the dogs with some duck drags. Cleo has historically done a fantastic job with drags and did so again this weekend. We set a small drag up for Luna on Friday and after a successful first time out he increased the distance on Sunday. She had no issues with the track and we quickly moved onto the Steady by the Blind sequence. The steady by the blind sequence is where the wheels came off the cart for Cleo last year when she tested in UT. Up until that point she had knocked her field work and duck search out of the park with 4's. Needless to say we will be spending more time in this area of the test for her this time around. She did a pretty nice job during training this weekend so we feel were off to a good start. Luna did an exceptional job considering she had never been exposed to this segment of the test before. She heeled wonderfully, sat quietly and retrieved her bumper delivering it to hand.

Luna's duck search

Luna getting to carry her duck back to the truck

Is that Cleo or the Swamp Thing??

After some mud puddle four wheeling we made our way over to the duck search pond. Our friend wanted to see if we could get Luna to go out without a visual. He kayaked out the receiver off of one of his Dogtra remote release traps and hid it on an island across from the area we would send Luna from. The receiver can either quack or beep to be located. If needed we could use the quacking to coax Luna out farther into the pond. Jim brought Luna up to the shoreline for her first real duck search and sent her out. She swam out a ways and then returned not entirely sure what was expected of her. Jim called her over, set her back up and resent her and then our friend hit the receiver with the quacking. It was like fireworks went off in her head and she moved right out into the water, past the island and across the pond to the other side. After about 15 minutes she started making her way back with a duck. Success! It was a great first time out for her.

Water Serpent....Jim's favorite

Kerry Lucas receiving a duck from her girl Indy after a very nice duck search

Occupying my time while waiting for the dogs to return.

Cleo also had a successful duck search. She milled around for a minute or two after being sent but then took off across the pond. It took about 10 minutes before she appeared with her mouth stuffed full of duck. It was a positive and progressive day of training. We'll stay focused on water work for the next couple of weeks and hopefully be a well oiled machine by test time. Below are some additional pics of our and our friends dogs during training.

Cleo and Luna's older sister Grace owned by Keith and Kerry Lucas. I'd LOVE to know what was going through her head.

Indy also owned by Keith and Kerry Lucas jumping a tree on a duck drag

Luna's duck drag hand off

Bonnie's crazed duck game face! Bonnie is owned by Bob G

This is Cleo with the hammer down barreling towards the water. 

Cleo and Luna's father Maximus owned by Bob G

I do love me some dragonfly pics

Miss Grace AKA The Duck Stalker

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