Kevin McDonnell takes us behind the scenes at the 3rd annual Hunt Test with some amazing pointer dogs at his side.
A Hunt Test for pointing dogs is a non-competitive event in which two dogs are braced together with their handlers and judged against an AKC standard, not against each other.
The dogs and their handlers are on foot, while the judges ride on horseback.
Prior to the start of hunting season, many pointing dog owners use this time and event to train with their dogs. Even though it’s called a Hunt Test, the participants do not have to be hunters. This event focuses on training, so dog and handler can learn to work together as a team.
Many dog owners feel nervous about letting their dog lose in an open field, fearing they would never come back. In my experience, however, the training I did just preparing for a hunt test improved my dog’s recall 100%. I would say that 90% of the dog’s training is in obedience. The dogs are not the only ones in training here, though. The handlers have to practice too and some people would say, that more mistakes are made by the handlers than the dogs.
For example, pointing dogs will naturally point birds. It’s up to the handler to understand the conditions of the field and bring out the best in their dog. There are three levels in which a handler and dog can compete, Junior, Senior and Master Hunter.
The participants were excited to hear Filson sponsored the event and many sported their own Filson gear, including chaps, strap vests and hats. What I heard the participants say most often about Filson was that they stood behind the brand and its products because of the quality and the fact that they are made to last forever.
For more info on Hunt Tests, be sure to visit the AKC here: http://www.akc.org/events/hunting_tests/pointing_breeds/brochure.cfm
President, Whid Isle Brittany Club, WA