OK. So I am a rookie in this sport. I have one great advantage. I have a very capable versatile hunting dog in Bailey. He is from great hunting stock with field champions on both sides. In golf, a great set of clubs does not make a bad golfer good, but will make a good golfer better. If I can learn this sport and put in the time with Bailey, we can do well.
AKC Open Puppy Stakes
Dogs from 6 months to 15 months old. Open means that the stake is open to professional handlers and beginners alike.
What the judges might be looking look for:
- How does the dog start?
- How does the dog run?
- How does the dog search?
- How does the dog behave?
- Does the dog finish strong?
The start is where the judges look for the desire. Bailey shot out into the field along with his brace mate. It looks like a sprint between the dogs to see who can get out there first.
During the Open Puppy stake Bailey ran well but would come back and check in with me quite often. This is called YO-YOING and is looked down on. The well trained dogs ran side of field to side of field out front and seldom came back to the handler.
Bailey behaved quite well. He left his brace mate alone mostly and went about his job as a hunter.
The puppy stake was 25 minutes long and after 20 minutes Bailey was spent. This was a big course and the dogs really had to be in shape. It was a warm morning in the upper 70's but not bad. It got into the upper 90's by the afternoon on Sauvie Island.
Walking a brace later I talked to an old time handler and he said something that stuck: " I was taught to judge a dog by two things: did he find birds and did he finish strong." I believe this is why we did not place in Puppy.
This is where the athletic conditioning comes in to play. To play with the "big boys" means daily work outs and training. A field championship is hard to achieve and it should be.