Brief summary of Laddie's first Master test today, given by the Long Island Golden Retriever Club:
- Of 29 dogs running Series A, 17 were called back, including Laddie. He nailed the 20-yard go-bird, was one of the only dogs to line the 50-yard blind run after first mark was picked up, was one of the only dogs to pick up the 70-yard inline memory-bird flyer (behind the go-bird) without handling, and ran the final 80-yard blind nicely.
- I don't have exact figures, but I think most of the dogs who made it to the unusual second series passed it. I thought it would be easy for Laddie, too, but he went out on the first retrieve, a 50-yard mark thrown into running water among a bunch of decoys. Laddie ran up onto the shore behind the decoys and duck and hunted there, after a few passes suddenly catching wind of the hot blind 30 yards further along the shoreline and picking it up without me being able to stop him with my whistle. As far as I know Laddie was the only dog to have trouble with that mark, which seemed strange at first. But then I got to thinking: Of all the water marks Laddie has seen in FT practice, HT practice, private practice, or AKC or GRCA events, how many of them have ben thrown into water the last couple of years? Only a tiny fraction. Because of Laddie's longtime difficulty with returns on LWL retrieves, I virtually always throw or place water retrieves on land. The FT groups we train with also virtually always throw marks and plant blinds on land. I don't think it occurred to Laddie that the bird might be in the water, and the decoys sealed the deal.