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aka Shelby
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Discussion Starter #1
This weekend was a double D/Q right down the street from where I live. I decided to sign up and see how we would do and get some line experience. All I wanted was to see how I could carry out all the new things I have been learning and see how Proof would do in a testing environment. I decided to write down everything because its exciting but disregard it if you get bored easily and skip to the end, ha ha.

Friday we showed up and it was not what I expected. First series was two singles, a water mark followed by a land mark. I was so nervous, my heart was pounding. The water mark was about a 100 yard water entry going down hill and you lose sight of your dog for a long while. You cannot see them enter the water nor can you see them until they exit. So basically you are praying you hear a water splash and your dog didn't cheat and then you are praying your dog exits in front of the gun. The mark landed in light cover about 15 yards from the shore. I lined proof up and he marked the bird well. Sent him and then waited. Proof came out on line and just nailed the bird. No hunt just went into the cover and got the bird. Proof went back into the water and came back up. first chicken down.
Second mark was about 135 yards going down and then back up. Bird landed on the side of a mound. Some birds landed more on top though. Proof did pretty good. He was one of the few that didn't run at the gun. 80% of the dogs had a very hard hunt to the left of the mound. Two dogs went right up the mound. Proof lined it and then at the last minute turned left to avoid the mound. But he knew he was wrong and went up the side of the mound and hunted all over the top for a few seconds and made his way down to the bird and brought it back. He was one of the better hunts.

All the dogs came back for the second series.

Second series was a very spread out double. about 90 degrees. The memory bird was a hard one. It was down a slope and then up a hill. About 280 yards. The hard part was the gun was midway up the hill throwing down hill into heavy cover that ran along a forest. The mark was also downwind too. Most dogs ran at the gun with only one of two squaring up behind the gun. The problem is when they ran at the gun they couldn't smell the bird at all and had big big hunts up and down the tree line. Some avoiding the cover at first. Finally making their way down the hill to the bird. The second bird was a flyer falling between to hay bales about 150 yards. The gunners were shooting into the sun and there were tons of no birds as they weren't shooting them or they were running off cripples.

So I get up there and decide to not really point out the flyer station besides him walking to the line and seeing it. I get him on left side though the memory bird is to my right, since I didn't point out that flyer station to my left but now I can push him into it. I cue proof and get him lined up on the long bird. He marks it beautifully. (I can always tell as his head does this thing) I push him over to the flyer station and then send him. His bird is cripple and flapping all over the place. Proof ran to it and grabbed it up. He comes back and the bird is still kind of alive but I hold it behind my back and line him up while cueing him. He took off and by God he lined that memory bird. LINED it. He ran right to the cover busts in and then comes out bird. He didn't fall off the hill or square up the hill but just angles across like a pro. I was so nervous I whistled too fast and then the judge told me, hey next time wait longer to whistle but nice line.

Still all the dogs come back for the third series. Even the back siders. It was going to be a long derby. So we go up for the third series. Water double. still spread out marks. The go mark wasn't too long 50 yard entry then cutting a corner into a long pond, then angled swimming, then getting up on a peninsula and the mark falling into the water at the end of the pond between the end of the peninsula and the bank. First the memory gun was very hard for the dogs to see with the sun and shade and there was a haze from a forest burn that had moved in.The memory bird was down a steep hill into a pond with the gun on the dike throwing into a very heavy set of dried cat tails. The edge of the pond had thick hydrilla. The gun throw to the right of the corner of the pond. Between the corner and the mark was the only open spot out of the cover.
Most dogs had a limited hunt on the go bird but the memory bird most dogs had a hunt. The hydrilla seemed to get the dogs a bit as they had to fight to get through it and then that opening was too tempting so they would exit there after fighting the hydrilla. Furthermore once again you could not see your dog until after it was half way across the pond. Once they went down the hill you could only hope your dog didn't square into the dike and then run behind the gun around the pond.
I lined up proof. It took a long time to get him to focus on the memory gun but I was patient and didn't panic. He saw it and I motioned the judges. second bird I lined him up. I don't watch the bird go down just proof so I didn't see that Proof was the only dog that had a super long bird. It landed on the close side of the peninsula instead of behind it. When he left I was so bummed as it appeared he was cheating the corner where the other dogs took more water. He still took water though. He was running along the pond after exiting the corner and I was like man, Proof you should have gotten into water. Then that guy squared the entry and that took him to the peninsula. He got up and then got out and didn't see his bird. He hunted a bit and then found it and came back. When I saw where the bird was I realized he took a perfect line on that cheaty corner. I think the reason why he squared at the end was he saw that other corner and knew he wasn't allowed to cheat corners and over compensated. that took him off line. It was a weird bird placement for him but he recovered just fine. Second mark he did what most all the dogs did. He went to corner of pond got out through that opening and then had a small hunt made his way to the cover and got his bird.

This series they cut half the dogs. I knew it was going to be a big cut. I figured his hunts might knock him out. They called him back!! I freaked out. If I was nervous before I was shaking now. Everyone was telling me now its the fun part. All you do is point and its up to the dog. Whatever, that wasn't working for me ha ha.

The day was getting dark and the gunners were harder to see. The last set up was hard. The marks were about 30 degrees apart. We were at another pond and the line was near the corner. The memory bird was killer. It was diagonal across the pond but along the shore until entering over a fat finger then in and across the pond exiting through cat tails. The gun was completely angled up hill and the dogs lost big sight of the gun basically after leaving the line which was higher elevation until half way up the hill. The bird landed behind a tall pine that was somewhat blocking our view at the line and in front of a row of hay bales. The exit to the bird was about 130 yards. The entire mark was about 270 yards. The go bird was down the shore landing in front of a tree.
Out of the 12 dogs only 4 didn't backside the long bird and had big hunts around or behind the hay bales.

I lined Proof up. It took awhile to get him to see the long gun again. There was the setting sun dimming the light (but we ran earlier so I was glad we had a bit more light the sun glinting off the back of the gun) but also there is this stupid port a potty just to the right of the gun that had a bright white top and Proof kept looking at it. I was patient and when I knew he was looking I signaled the judges. He seemed to mark the bird. pulled him into the go bird which fell along the drip line of a tree. Sent him. He went right in, didn't cheat the bank. He came out a bit under the arc and had a small hunt between the gun and the tree until he came up with the bird. Came back, no cheating. I lined him up for his watch bird. he told me he saw it and I sent him. He takes off on a good line. Gets out of the water and started squaring up the hill way behind the gun. I thought oh well. Then suddenly he sees the gun and turns hard right and runs in front of the gun. The judges said, oh wow, he didn't back side. I thought whew. Then out of no where he just runs straight to the bird!!! He didn't hunt or anything! The judges said, wow!! Look at that, he just put his nose on it. I couldn't believe my little man!!

Everyone in the gallery was impressed. I left the line pretty freaking elated. I hoped for a JAM. There were a lot of great dogs, including the top derby dog in the nation right now. And there is me and Proof. ha ha.

So it is pitch black now and the judges deliberated a long time. They come out and are ready. We all stand in front of the headlights of a truck. They call out the numbers for the JAMS. And pass over #10. I thought okay maybe reserve JAM. Then they call out reserve JAM. And its not us! My mentor says, you know what that means, you didn't get RJ, ha ha. I thought wow, he got 4th place. Then they call out 4th and its not 10. I didn't know what to think. Next is 3rd and they say #10 Proof!! I freaked out. I almost started tearing up!!
Afterwards I went to thank the judges and one judge tells me I had the most fun watching your dog. He is great and a golden too, wow!!

there were several people coming up to me, including a few pros that were so impressed with Proof and said you have one hellavu golden there! What an incredible experience. it really was like none other. He just turned 14 months on Friday too. I can't wait to see how well he does as he gets older.

That night I didn't sleep. I had called all my friends and kept reliving the moment. I actually didn't want to run the derby on Saturday because I was so mentally drained. Proof slept less too. We got out there and the first set up was killer.Tight double, 225 yards for go bird, long bird running right past old fall. Proof didn't back side any guns but his memory bird was nearly retired as the gunner sat down and was literally behind two hills and 375 yards out and I couldn't get him to look at it coming in after lining his go bird. This was so unusual for him. After what seemed like an hour in my mind I had him looking out and I sent him. He took off and did some crazy line in the opposite direction. went into the woods. I was like what the heck? The judges were like where is he going? I said when he pops out of the woods I'll call him back. The judges said if he ends up at the bird (which was on the opposite side in a whole opposite set of woods literally) you know you have one heck of a dog. I said if he comes out with rabbits I know I'm it he wrong sport. Everyone laughed but we waited and he doesn't come out. The gallery is nervous they think he is lost in the woods. Suddenly everyone says there he is!! He is in FRONT of the gun and running right to the bird. Where the heck did he go? Ninja Proof. A lot of dogs back sided that long gun after taking a long line but Proof technically didn't. The judge said, in all my years of judging a derby I've NEVER seen that. I figured we weren't getting called back. I was okay with it. I was so tired an I could tell Proof wasn't giving me his all at all. We got called back.
Second series was tremendously hard. The guy next to me says this is not a young dog test, this is an older dog test. The marks were a true hip pocket with a pond in between that the dogs couldn't see. The land was rolling slopes with cut strips. The flyer station was in front of the dog with the gun station just behind him. The crosswind is going from the flyer station to the long gun. Three dogs right before all break down between the guns on their memory bird and return to the old fall.
Proof wasn't looking out well at all, he was looking at that gun station. I signaled when he watching. as the memory gun goes off he looks at the flyer station. I twitched my knee and he turned right back but I don't think he marked well at all. He gets sent on his flyer and he slams it which is ironic because so many dogs hunted through the strips of cover. hIs bird is very alive. Proof comes back in and is covered in blood and has a mouth full of feathers. He is amped up like crazy now. I'm so tired and drained and wasn't thinking very clearly. I get him lined up and I don't think I did a good job. He takes off wide of the flyer station maybe to over compensate since he knows he shouldn't return to an old fall, but he doesn't break down and keeps going. Unfortunately his also causes him to backside the long gun massively and hunts behind the gun. I knew he hadn't marked that bird well. He makes his way down and gets his bird. I'm relieved though, that he didn't return to an old fall and I didn't have to call him in.
We didn't get called back to the third series. I honestly was relieved mentally which doesn't say much for me as a competitor I suppose. I wasn't doing my best as a handler and Proof wasn't giving it his all either. I think that two derbies back to back wasn't great for such a young pup and a young handler, ha ah. Lesson learned.
But in the end, Proof got 2 points this weekend and it was honestly one of the proudest achievements of my life!!
 

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Kristy
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9,408 Posts
HOLY COW!!!!!!! What a weekend! I'm so happy and proud for you, I read the whole thing and just can't believe it was like a dream. ��. I hope you will have some photos to share - congratulations on payoff for all your diligence and hard work. I'm so excited for you ��
 

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aka Shelby
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1,576 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Kristy!! It was like a dream looking back. So cool. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos. It was a Friday and my husband had to work. I did get a photo afterwards of me and Proof with our ribbon but it was in my garage as it was so dark.

man, it was beyond exciting! I can't believe that I taught a dog to work with me like this. Proof is so amazing, I love him so much!!
 

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way to go!!
 

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Zoinks!!! Ruh Roh Raggy!!
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Thanks for sharing all that too. As a soon to be new handler it was a blast to read.
 

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aka Shelby
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1,576 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
thanks everyone! I'm glad I can share here, you guys have been here since before he came home from his litter!! Man, its so much fun!! I just hope I can get over these nerves of mine soon, the stage fright is draining.
 

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Congratulations! Sounds like he did a great job.
 

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the party's crashing us
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4,236 Posts
Oh Proofie "I knew you when"!!!!
SOOOOOOOOO excited for you guys!!! What fun. This is just the very beginning of a wild ride :)
 
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