Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Tests

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Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:55 am

The good news is both guys I trained with all summer scored Prize 1s on Saturday. The bad news is my pup had probably his worst day ever since we began training.

Field work was pretty solid, even in the 50-mph wind gusts and dealing with some crazy bird situations. All 4s. But then during duck search he lost his confidence. The wind was blowing straight across, which made it super hard for the dogs. He shot across great considering the conditions, but a coot hiding in the cattails was an unexpected wrench in the cogs. It crappie flopped into the water, and he chased it for a bit until it got into the cattails and flushed out of sight. He couldn't get that out of his head. Ranged well and at one point I thought he was actually going to find a duck...but he got hung up on where that coot got into the cattails. Next thing I know, he's crossing the water at the coot spot...coming back with no duck. Tried resending him three times, and each time he'd get about 50 yards out, get blasted by a wave, and turn back. No excuses. We just didn't get to train in high winds this year. The look in his eyes said it all.

Steadiness and heel by blind went well. But he totally blew the drag. I have no idea what happened. It's a task he's pretty good at. He just couldn't get down range enough. Kept heading to the right and working the previous two drags. It had warmed up by then and he was starting to stumble and loose his balance. I called him back and tried resending him, but he did the same thing. I finally asked the judge if I could just walk out there with the dog. I knew it was a zero, but I wanted him to be successful. So I led Blitz down the trail and about 50 yards from the trees he shot in, caught scent, grabbed the dog and brought it straight to me.

I fortunately found a spot at another regional test in two weeks, so we're going to try again. But I'm at a loss as to what my next steps should be. Next week I'm gone on business through Thursday, and then we'll be heading to the cities Friday evening before the test. My only chance is to get out this week and weekend.

What can I do at this point? I was pretty confident in a PI or PII dog going into the test, but now I think we're both struggling to look on the bright side. Any thoughts? I'm thinking we need to focus on the drag and duck search, simply because those are where he did the worst.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GPBLITZ » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:22 am

Chalk it up to another day training , testing. I would move forward and not do much different. Sounds like Blitz is a young dog and made a youngsters mistake on duck search. Had this happen to me running Cage on her first UT test at 17 months. 4's across the board and 3 in duck search because she produce a duck , lost it and would not leave the area she found the duck in . 2 weeks later went to Kelly farms and Cage nailed a 204. Drag maybe take alittle more time before the send??? You say the cities so I take it your going to Kelly Farm. Good luck.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:59 am

GPBLITZ wrote:Chalk it up to another day training , testing. I would move forward and not do much different. Sounds like Blitz is a young dog and made a youngsters mistake on duck search. Had this happen to me running Cage on her first UT test at 17 months. 4's across the board and 3 in duck search because she produce a duck , lost it and would not leave the area she found the duck in . 2 weeks later went to Kelly farms and Cage nailed a 204. Drag maybe take alittle more time before the send??? You say the cities so I take it your going to Kelly Farm. Good luck.


I was hoping you'd chime in.

He is still a young dog, will be three in September. Just not at the maturity level, but I know he has the goods.

Yes, Kelly Farms with the Minnesota Chapter. Sounded like I had a good chance of getting in the test, but we'll see. Fingers crossed. I'd really like a chance at redemption before throwing in the towel.

More time before the send, as in lead him to the pile, then make him wait a few seconds before the retrieve?
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby gwp4me2 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:35 pm

GWPtyler wrote:Next thing I know, he's crossing the water at the coot spot...coming back with no duck. Tried resending him three times,

One mistake I've made in the past is getting too nervous and doing a re-send too quickly. Chasing and searching for the coot probably cost you nothing and may have even helped. When the dog comes back you can still be ok if you give the dog a chance to continue searching on its own. Now I try to just stand facing the water ignoring the dog just like you would on an NA track. Often they will take that message and continue searching. Give the dog a chance, maybe up to a minute. If the dog has quit then the re-send likely won't work well anyway. You probably spent all the points the dog had earned by trying 3 sends, especially if the dog had 4 work and spent some time on the original search. The waves are a tough break that you just can't duplicate in preparation.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:27 pm

To clarify, he did search a bit around me, then heeled. He may have gone on his own had I waited a few more moments, but in my mind he did indeed quit.

Then again, it was just a weird friggin' day all around. I have three training sessions planned in the next week before I'm gone on business next week. Then it's the test (hopefully). Should find out by Wednesday if I'm in (that's when the entry form and check should be delivered).

I have a lot to consider in the meantime, but a very small window to work with.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GPBLITZ » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:56 pm

GWPtyler wrote:I have a lot to consider in the meantime, but a very small window to work with.


I don't think the cities has had much rain. Could be some mud flats at back water.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:27 am

Well knock on wood and cross your fingers for me: the training secretary texted last night to inform me that the test just filled. I'm first on the waiting list, however, so if there's a scratch we are in.

I plan on training like I already have a spot...but it would be nice to get the nod sooner rather than later.

I'd really like one last shot...
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby Duckdon » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:58 am

GWPtyler wrote:Well knock on wood and cross your fingers for me: the training secretary texted last night to inform me that the test just filled. I'm first on the waiting list, however, so if there's a scratch we are in.

I plan on training like I already have a spot...but it would be nice to get the nod sooner rather than later.

I'd really like one last shot...


Tyler, I am thinking a couple things. Your dog was stumbling around on the drag. I am thinking low Blood Sugar or dehydration? Make sure you keep his fluid levels up and if its low glucose issue consult a vet. On the plus, at Kelly Farms you will not have waves on the duck search. Mud, now, that will be another issue.
Worst case, you can't get in this season. That would give you another hunt season and a whole summer of "get the lug nuts tight". Good Luck
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:31 am

Duckdon,

Blitz's issue is that he's from NSTRA lines. He has NO middle gear. When he does a drag...or anything of that matter...it's at full throttle. By the time we hit the drag on Sunday, the temps climbed and the high winds really dried things out. He just plum ran himself out of gas and overheated. After carrying him back to the truck, he crawled into the shade, I gave him water and dumped the rest of the jug over his head. In 10 minutes he quit panting and was ready to go again. The dog has zero quit. Good sometimes...bad other times.

The only reason I want to get in one more time this year is because I know he has the goods. We've put in the time. I and my training buddies have seen him go through the steps. He's a prize dog.

True, a hunting season definitely wouldn't hurt him, and if I can't get in to test again until next spring I'm sure he'll do even better. But I really want one more shot. Blitz deserves a second chance to prove to himself and myself that it was something else (i.e. the wind) and not just him/me.

Then again, if he has a repeat performance in better conditions, well, then we know... :oops:
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby Duckdon » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:47 am

I just bet ya Blitz don't care one dam about no prize. Not much you can do from now til test time so just maintain. He knows what he knows. Good Luck, you will be fine. It's all about spending time with your dog. Thumbs up.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:38 am

Duckdon wrote:I just bet ya Blitz don't care one dam about no prize. Not much you can do from now til test time so just maintain. He knows what he knows. Good Luck, you will be fine. It's all about spending time with your dog. Thumbs up.
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Haha that's a bet you'd win! All he gives two rips about is finding the darn birds!! Which, at the end of the day, is all that really matters.

He does look pretty on point, though (just wish he had a few more whiskers). This is from a quick tune-up session last night.
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GPBLITZ » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:43 am

Now This old fart is confused... Is Blitz a slicker or a GSP?
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:46 am

GPBLITZ wrote:Now This old fart is confused... Is Blitz a slicker or a GSP?


He's a GWP without all the extra fluff.

Just don't tell him that....he's a bit sensitive. :wink:
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Re: Regrouping After the Wheels Fall Off

Postby GWPtyler » Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:14 am

Well, even though I was No. 1 on the wait list, we didn't get a spot in the Minnesota Chapter test this weekend. Only chance I had. Shucks! Guess I'll just have to hunt the heck out of him this fall and regroup next spring.
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