Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East of the Mississippi
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(I'm not at the NRC, so my thoughts are based only on what I read and the photos I see on the blog.)
The first series was a bit out of the ordinary for a national, which typically starts with a double and a blind. So a triple was unusual, but it was a good test. The first of the difficulties in the first series was the use of two hen pheasants, which throw off almost no scent, on the two retired marks. The second difficulty was asking the dogs to run along the top of a levee when en route to the middle retired mark ... dogs do not like running along the top of ridges like that. Six dogs were eliminated by the first series (it stinks to be dropped so early!).
As for the second series, the middle retired and right retired marks are very tight, plus the line to each of those marks goes over a small peninsula ... it takes some guts for a dog to cross that peninsula twice. (Of course, you pretty much have to pull that short right retired out as the second retrieve.)
On this test, the dogs which aren't doing well are generally going to the right on the middle retired. When looking at the test diagram and reading the description, this reaction would be expected. A few will likely avoid taking that same line and push off to the right real early when en route to the middle retired. Then those that start out taking the line between the left flyer and the right retired are likely to suck around behind that right retired after they pass it ... that's just what dogs do (i.e., they will suck around behind an object, whether a tree, a point of cover or the location of an already picked up bird) ... in addition to that tendency, they will be pushed to the right by the mere presence of the water on the left ... plus, once they pass the right retired, the area to the right looks like a beautiful boulevard to run into ... and finally, the slight breeze from the left will push them to the right.