The Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of South Wales
Assessment Test - CRITIQUE
(For show, show-bred, and minor breed spaniels, excluding Irish Water Spaniels).
Held at Tyn-y-Coed, Pentyrch, Cardiff, CF15 9NP
(by kind permission of Mr. H. Peters)
Sunday 20th April 2014
It was a pleasure to be asked to judge the Special Beginners and Puppies at the WSSCSW working assessment in April.
The Special Beginners were asked, following a short walk to heel on lead, to do a sit, stay and recall, a simple seen retrieve and then memory retrieve along a track, and finished with a little bit of hunting in a small wooded area. My winner did very well on the retrieves and hunting where the dog kept an eye on her handler demonstrating the ability to cover the ground without going off to do her own thing.
In the later puppy class on more open ground, it proved a different story! My second placed dog started well, but had other ideas for the memory retrieve and hunting. What was evident was that the dog had enthusiasm and knew to keep one eye on its handler, so this can be channelled and, with plenty of training, there is potential for a good working partnership. Both dogs in the later water test entered without hesitation to retrieve their dummies.
We moved to more open ground for the Puppies, an area of tussocky grass with lots of smells which distracted many dogs from their handlers commands in both the basic obedience and hunting. The handlers were asked to walk their dog to heel off-lead, undertake a sit stay, a further walk to heel and then a recall. This was followed by a short section of hunting, a seen retrieve, a little further hunting, and then a short blind retrieve. What was possible at this venue, and which is not always the case, was the opportunity to have a fresh, but similar, piece of ground for each puppy to cover.
My top three placed dogs did well because they demonstrated enthusiasm in their hunting but also listened to their handler. They all retrieved their seen dummy, and what was also a pleasure to see was the trust and/or use of nose for the blind retrieve. In the later water test, all dogs succeeded in their retrieve, some entering the water freely some needing a little further encouragement.
Overall, a very enjoyable day, and I would encourage all handlers to keep up the good work.
Many thanks for inviting me to judge at your Assessment Test on Sunday April 20th 2014.
The Novice Test was run in the morning with the overall standard good, the dogs in the awards I think had a bit of polish and maybe more experience, this was evident with the winner who’s dog sat to shot, was rock steady and did not take her eyes off the area where the dummy had fallen and when sent went out and back with no help from the handler, she also did the same on her blind retrieve, a very worthy winner.
The Intermediate started in the afternoon and it was clear that these dogs (many of whom had worked in the shooting field during the season) were more experienced and hunted with more purpose and drive and the overall standard was good with the top two dogs very close together.
I very much enjoyed my day with you all as I always do, I did notice some of you kept your dogs very close sometimes not more than a few feet from you then you were calling them back. Trust your dogs a little bit more, keep up with the basics and remember to enjoy it, the more you do it the better you will get, this sport is like any other, you only get out what you put in.