Here are a few reflections on the weekend -- which may be useful for folks out there who have pointing dogs and, while they may never hunt them, may be interested in more fully exploring their dog's intellect and genetic disposition.
As I mentioned, we met some great folks at the test including Kim and Mike Barry who are Forest King Vizslas. (Kim is also the President of the VCCNE. And therefore an Important Person.) We also met Rich and Adrian who were at their first hunt tests as well. They had brought Ella, their beautiful 16mos Vizsla-girl -- who took a shine to Jozsi, in particular.
In any case, her hunting ability outshone her taste in boys. The video is of Ella's run on Sunday morning. Even in the video, you can see what a pretty girl she is. And she does the same thing Momo does when she absolutely knows she's found a bird... everything goes rigid except the wiggling stub of her tail. She stays nicely staunch while Rich goes in to grab the bird (because it doesn't want to fly) and then throws it into the air. I'm not sure if Rich's pistol mis-fired or the video cuts off the 'pop', but for the purposes of the test when the bird flushes (or has to be thrown), the handler fires the pistol.
Here's Rich and Ella. Another proud dad and a dog who's happy their dad's so happy. And if there are a couple of things I've learned halfway through Junior Hunter, it's that this test level is really about the dog -- and if the dog has had some exposure to game birds, then the best thing the handler can do is simply minimize their presence as much as possible. You can certainly do your best to get the dog in as good a starting position as possible with regard to the bird-field and the wind -- but just trust the dog and get out of its way.