Dash’s First Retriever Test – 6 May 2012

Yesterday we spent the day at a Retriever Working Test and Dash had an opportunity to show off her retrieving skills.  The test was organised by Sue and Dave Forder and Anne and Geoff Skelton and the venue was the wonderful farm part-owned by Geoff and Anne out in the Midlands beyond the Dargle valley.

What a wonderful place this is in the foothills of the Drakensburg.  Rolling hills as far as the eye can see interspersed with gullies and dams and every now and then herds of blesbok either grazing peacefully on the grass – still green, thanks to the late rains – or running across the landscape like the moving shadow of a cloud.

Dash didn’t disappoint me.  Totally focussed on the retrieve – “dashing” out at a great speed to the dummy and returning to me (also at great speed) to deliver (most of the time) to hand.  Of course she is still not steady and had to be restrained after the shot and throw until she was calm and could be released, and still a bit noisy, but very accurate in her marking and with a fabulous hunt in the longer grass, keeping to a really tight hunt with persistence that I have rarely seen in such a young dog.  I’m delighted with her, apart from the excited squealing when she takes off.  I’m confident that will improve with time and training though.

She ended up with a pretty respectable score of 71% and had a wonderful time during our breaks running with the older dogs.

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