On 14 June 2014 the HWVA held a Training Day for HPR breeds at Wilton nr. Salisbury. There had been thunderstorms overnight which had cleared the air and although there was some breeze the temperature did inhibit some of the activities. The main theme was retrieving and the Association were lucky to have ‘A’ Panel, and very experienced Retriever Judge, Nick Coates as the trainer. The 12 dogs and handlers were split in two groups with half retrieving during the morning and the other half carrying out some pointing practise led by Pip Williams.
Nick, who owns a number of Labradors also owns a Vizsla and so he was interested to see how the HPRs would perform. It was noticeable that the training is based on fun and during the early exercises dogs were allowed to run in. It was amazing how quickly the time went with all six dogs in the group being able to do straightforward ‘seen’ retrieves, leading in to ‘splits’ and of course ‘blinds’ and the majority carried out the retrieves very well.
One of the main points made was that a dog should retrieve anything because its reward should be that by retrieving the object they will get another retrieve. Probably the most important lesson that the handlers learnt was that without ‘heelwork’ retrieving is made more difficult as this ensures steadiness but more importantly it means that with very little effort you are able to set your dog up for the retrieve.
Pip Williams facilitated the pointing practice giving handlers the chance to handle their dogs on long lines. Pip used a fishing rod and line to ensure dogs were given experience of pointing partridge wings before pointing caged quail. Almost without exception the dogs pointed, however there is obviously the need to practice steadiness. Some dogs need to be allowed to run on game to awaken their instincts but that isn’t always possible.
The last exercise of the day was no doubt the highlight for some handlers who may not have the chance to retrieve any type of game. Any handlers who wanted had the opportunity to send their dogs to retrieve cold game. There was a good variety available including hare, rabbit, partridge, pheasant and woodcock.
It is hoped that there will be similar days organised and following some very positive feedback it seems that everyone enjoyed themselves.