Saturday July 22, 2017

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Hosted by the National Retriever Club of Canada. Daily reports, photos and drawings by Dona Martin


Brought to you by all of our sponsors

Purina logo  Avery Sporting Dog logo  Tri-tronics logo 
Zinger Winger logo Connie Swanson Animal Portraits Ducks Unlimited Canada logo

The 2017 Canadian National Amateur would like to thank our sponsors, Nestle-Purina the Official Sponsor of the Canadian National Open and Canadian National Amateur Retriever Championships, Official Dog Food Sponsor and the Official Dog Food Supplier to the National Retriever Club of Canada, Avery Sporting Dog, Garmin Tri-Tronics official e-collar supplier, Winchester Ammunition official ammunition supplier. Thank you as well to Ducks Unlimited Canada supplier of the finalist gifts, Zinger Winger official remote launcher supplier, and Animal Portraits by Connie Swanson for supplying portrait to the winner.

Test 9 - Land Quad With 3 Retired Guns

For the final day, the judges planned a big day with a land quad for the 9th, followed by a water quad for the 10th. The weather didn’t really cooperate as it fluctuated between rain and drizzle. Visibility was poor with low lying clouds and fog. The temperature was 15C to start and there was barely a breath of wind. Weather said 6 km/hr, felt like 1.
Test 9 was run in a cut hay field with cover varying from 6”- 12” in the field and 2”-3” through the uncut patch of grass that jutted into the field in front of the left hand mark. The field had rolling hills and shallow valleys where the dogs went out of sight and needed to re-orient themselves to the mark they were retrieving. Distances to the marks were; 76 yards to the go bird, 350 yards to the centre left retired, 245 yards to the centre right, and 265 yards to the right retired. Rooster pheasants were thrown for the go bird and centre right marks. A hen mallard was thrown for the right retired mark and a drake mallard with white ribbon was thrown at the centre left retired station.
The left centre and right hand gunners retired. The right centre remained visible. The gunners for the go bird remained hidden until they walked out to shoot and throw their bird. They retired after the dog picked up their bird. The line to the go bird was through a heavy patch of high grass, but the bird landed in 6’-12’ cut hay. The line to the long centre left retired, caught a corner of the same patch of high grass and then up and down through rolling terrain to the bird. The throw was angled back and landed in the cut hay. The centre right bird was thrown angled back towards the long centre left gunner station, and landed in the cut hay. The right hand bird was thrown angled back and downhill, in front of a large bush where the gunners retired.


John van der Lee with AFTCH Pekisko’s Real Steel ran male test dog. Not much to say other than Rocky ran an excellent test, going directly to the area of the fall for all 4 birds. There didn’t appear to be much scent on the right hand mark and Rocky was practically standing on the bird without coming up with it immediately. Female test dog was Emmy Lou’s LA Express, owned by Gord & Marlene Benn and handled by Marlene Benn. Emmy had no difficulty with the go bird. For the right hand retired she went wrong side of the bush where the gunners hid and then curled around behind the bush and showed up at the bird. For the centre right, Emmy took a line outside of the mark and then curled in and hunted short before working her way to the bird. For the long centre left retired, Emmy took a good line to the bird. The guns for the first running dog, #7 went off at 8:00 am.


Callbacks: 8 dogs called back to the 10th series. Dogs called back; 5,7,8,15,17,21,23,32. Dogs not called back; 1,11,12,37.

Test 10 - Water Quad With 3 Retired Guns

Test 10 was a water quad with 3 retired guns. The centre marks were a flower pot with 2 gun stations on an island, the left centre throwing angled back, right to left and the right centre throwing angled back, left to right. The left centre gunners retired. A boat and mound of high grass separates the gun stations. All of the birds were thrown left to right except the left centre island bird. The order of the guns was long right retired, centre left retired, centre right and finally the short wiper bird on the near shore, that retired after they threw their bird. Distances to the birds were; 275 yards to the long right, 155 yards to the centre right, 170 yards to the centre left and 40 yards to the left go bird. The test was run from the top of a dyke, down a steep side slope to a plateau of cut grass and then high grass at the edge of the water. Apparently the water level dropped 2 feet since setup. Some of the swimming water from last week was now a heavy slog through marsh grass and duck weed. The wind was coming across the test from right to left with the island birds mostly downwind. The wind was somewhat fickle and didn’t play a major roll.
The left hand go bird was thrown out into the water with a big splash. All of the other birds landed in heavy marsh grass. The line to the left hand island mark was actually through the blackberry bush and under the arc of the go bird. With the steep slope to fall off, the best a handler could hope for was the dog corrected their line after they went by the bush. Once again this was an extremely physically and mentally demanding test. The dogs had to keep their focus through the heavy cover and re-orient themselves when given the chance when they were in relatively clear water to swim. By the 10 series, the dogs were exhausted from the previous tests but could not give into the temptation of taking an easier route to the bird, especially the long right hand retired mark that was thrown into dense marsh grass to the right. It definitely looked like an easier route to take left of the gun station.


Female test dog was FCTCH AFTCH Castile Creeks Rivers Ripple, owned by Daniel Shnitka and Birgit Juergensen, and handled by Daniel. Good go bird. Rip took a good line to the right hand island bird and hunted under the arc out of sight before showing up at the bird. For the left island bird, she corrected around the blackberry bush, took a few steps down the shore then squared across to the gun station where the gunners were hidden under a ghillie blanket. Rip then turned and went directly to the bird. For the long right hand retired, Rip took a line left of the gun station and was heading into no man’s land and then turned left so she was handled to the bird. Next up was male test dog FTCH AFTCH Hard Road Jack, owned by Robert Sluggett & Hope Roberts, and handled by Hope. Jack had a good go bird, and a good right hand island bird. For the left hand island bird, he hugged the near shore and then squared across and curled into the bird. For the long right hand retired, he started on a good line but faded to the left quite early and was handled to the bird. The test took 25-30 minutes a dogs.
Catching ZZZ

Dog in Box

What an exciting end to a week of challenging tests. Going into the test, 4 dogs had not handled. Anyone could step up and win. Both dogs and handlers are exhausted so it will take teamwork, focus and determination to get all of the birds clean. In the end, no dog completed the 10th series without handling.