A Retriever Match!

Day #4 of Zumi's bird exposure went fantastic!!!  Still started out with hestitant sniffing but that only lasted maybe 30 seconds before willing to retrieve the pigeon.  Switching the duck and again only brief sniffing before doing retrieves AND holds on the duck!!!  Good enough and with little encouragement needed from me that I actually took pictures too!

Vito too :)

Then the very next day was an "informal trial" basically a retriever match.  Apparently they do one every month in the winter.  I didn't hear about it until now and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to get Zumi in the hunt test environment.  I wasn't going to enter Zumi as she only had 1 successful day of retrieving a bird, but decided to when I got there.  Technically she was too old for the puppy class consisting of 2 singles with pigeons, but they let me enter FEO.  I wanted to take Vito but due to the cold weather and me not knowing about the setup/where I could crate him I left him at home.  Zumi is easy, she could just stay in the car crate like every other dog there!

I knew there would be a good chance she wouldn't retrieve the pigeon but I was hoping that she would bite it with some encouragement.  No such luck.  On the first single Zumi marked it perfectly and ran out with great excitement but then just started sniffing the bird.  She told me that she needs to learn each bird's story before she will pick it up.  I ran out into the field with her all the way to the bird and while Zumi remained happy and interested she just wouldn't mouth it.  The guy still had me do single #2 and somehow it went a bit better.  Still no retrieve of the pigeon but she mouthed it a few times once I went out there with her.

The judges let me take the pigeon and keep working on it.  It took a bit of encouragement again to work up from sniffing to actually biting, but Zumi would do retrieves of the pigeon on the sidelines.

After the first test I approached the nice judges and asked if they would let me use dokkens on round two to get success and build her confidence.  They hesitated but agreed!
Throw #1 went pretty well although she was a bit distracted by something on the ground and broke her line to see it before correcting herself.  Unfortunately then 2nd throw the gunner didn't use my dokken and used the pigeon.  I didn't realize it, thought he fixed it on a resend, and it took some time for her dokken to get out there.

Puppy Derby Round 2

So not exactly picture perfect.  But considering birds are so new for Zumi I couldn't really expect too much.  I am glad I went though and I am proud of her first real exposure to gun shots and being in such a new environment.  And while it was a bit scary to be a non-camo wearing, vegetarian, positive trainer, woman, everyone was pretty nice.  I just smiled, kept my mouth shout, and nodded a lot at well intentioned advice on doing "the program" and starting force fetching.  It was also helpful that I wasn't completely alone as another positive training friend was there with her young Labrador puppy.  Who actually did amazing!

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