Poodles excel at NC Working Test, showing instinct and willingness, from Miniature to Standards, poodles perform with inherent retrieving skill.
POODLES ON THE HUNT!
by Vickie Haywood, October 22, 2013
Beautiful weather greeted poodlers for the October 12 and 13th Working Test and Working Test Excellent in Monroe NC
The Oakridge Kennels training facility was once again our home for the weekend. 30 entries for Saturday and 27 for Sunday, with Judges Stacy Overcash, who has been with us since the Beginning, and Rich Louter, who is a second year judge for us, did the honors of creating the tests and officiating. (Rich and Angie own Cooper, the many titled Red Standard that gained fame on Duck Dynasty.)
Working Certificates are designed to test instinct and willingness to work under direction, using real ducks, and real gun fire, i.e. “poppers.” For WC, single retrieves are employed both on land and water. For the WCX, a memory bird is used. This is where the dog watches the bird fall on each cast, and is then sent by the handler to pick up each fall. Distances vary for WC to longer for WCX and are performed on both land and water.
Retrieving poodles date back to the 15th century and in North America, both Canada and the US came to the forefront with Charles Le Butillier in the Greenspring Poodle Club who bred a line of retrieving poodles. WyeTown Cannis Major was frequently pictured in the fields with piles of ducks in magazines of that era. All-Breed AKC judges Jim and Annie Clark were known to go afield with their Standards, and Annie was often a gunner at PCA Tests.
The year 2003 saw PCA put on their first WC WCX after approving giving working certificates to any poodle that passed testing at any of the recognized organizations. Unfortunately, this became limited to Standards because most organizations only recognized the larger poodles as having the ability to hunt. The following years proved the smaller dogs were just as capable in the hunting field so when PCA held their tests, they allowed any poodle to participate.
This year’s test saw 23 of the Saturday’s 30 pass, and on Sunday 18 out of 27 passed. There is no score, no number one dog… just pass / fail, following the PCA rules. Multiple passes earn medallions from PCA silver bronze and gold.
Setting up for a weekend of testing is quite draining on Clubs. Far in advance, grounds have to be obtained where water and fields are available and equipment has to be lined up. Blinds, guns, wingers to fire the birds into the air at a distance to simulate flight, and gunshot using poppers for safety. In addition, all field personnel must obtain a valid hunting license and federal duck stamp to participate. This requires taking a class in hunter and firearm safety and testing and the license must be renewed each year.
Just for general information, this is not a cheap habit!! The sportsman’s license is $40, Duck stamp is $20 for each person participating. We are subject to being inspected by a Game officer to be sure all are in compliance. Ducks must be purchased, delivered, fed and watered during the entire event, and are humanely killed as per the rules each day fresh.
This year the ducks provided comic relief. We have a minimum order and we also allow participants to order for training purposes. At the end of the event this year, yours truly, duck master, had the job of deading the extra ducks but one of our esteemed judges took live ones in specially designed duck transport boxes, so we had to transfer them to his travel boxes.
Several club members did the job, securing the lids and placing the boxes on the judges travel rig, they then went to the club house to do other jobs. About 20 minutes later we drove down to the duck house and were utterly SHOCKED to see the judge’s rig literally sprouting live ducks! Some smarty pants duck had slid the lid over and 15 ducks sat perching on the top of the aluminum dog box! Although we approached in silence, they saw us and scattered!
Dogs were testing a short distance away on the water and if the ducks had made it there no telling how long it would have taken to gather them all up. Fortunately, we had a participant who had a poodle testing that was also a herding dog and she and the dog and her husband managed to corral them into the duck house, thus averting disaster. This year will go down as the year of the GREAT DUCK ESCAPE and we learned to add bungee cords to the do not forget list!!!
All in all, it was a great time meeting new folks and greeting old friends. Participants came from Minnesota, Texas, South Florida, Delaware, Tennesee, and many from North Carolina.
WC WCx testing is not an AKC event but many of the dogs participating do hold AKC and titles in hunting and other venues.
I have provided a picture of Ch MACH 2 Kallistas Silver Sails ALoft, a silver mini male, who just happened to be the first mini WC holder at the first PCA event! He flew all the way from Texas with his owner-handler Suzi Cope in order to participate this year. Jib, as he is called, is a legend in mini poodles. For more pictures, visit the Central Carolina Poodle Club Facebook Page.
Next year, we plan an even bigger event, so stay tuned to our club for developments. To all our hunting poodles - congratulations! Guns up!!
Photo by Vickie Haywood, Usui REIKI MASTER
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