Daughter’s Labrador, Wren, is now going on for 11 months old and doing really well with her gundog training. She is now doing marked retrieves (when she sees the target being thrown) and unmarked retrieves (where see seeks out a target that was planted unseen). She’ll also observe a target being thrown and remember its position until told to fetch it later. It’s all very impressive to watch her do this out on walks. She has such a strong drive to retrieve and it’s great to see her doing something that she not only enjoys but is exactly what retrievers were bred for.
On Friday Wren got a chance to show off her skills. We were at Northumberland County Show. COVID restrictions cancelled the previous 2 shows so it was lovely to be back among the food and craft stalls, and watching breeders and owners show their animals. There was a dog show and all sorts of livestock classes: cattle, sheep, goats, alpaca, even chickens and rabbits. We watched a friend ride in one of the many equestrian classes. Wren’s chance to shine was the gundog scurry.
This involves a series of marked retrieves against the clock and requires the dog to jump obstacles both approaching the target and when fetching it back to the handler.
Daughter was quite nervous – the scurry always attracts quite a crowd. Wren loves her work though, and despite all the distracting sights, sounds and smells all around her she immediately focussed on the job. Wren waited at the start with Daughter, watching the target being thrown, then Daughter gave the command and the clock started. Wren was off like a rocket! She leapt the straw bales heading straight for the target, then brought it back almost as quickly, and presented it to Daughter.
She had a few tries, going perfectly every time and was lying in second place. She went back to try and improve her time later in the day, ending up only 2 seconds behind the leader. There were many older, more experienced gundogs competing. What an impressive scurry debut for young Wren! We are all very proud of her. She’s really a credit to Daughter and all the hard work they have put in with the training.
See a video of Wren’s scurry here.