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Hard work pays off!


Photo by Ann Millington
Mrs Jenny Wilsher with Laoirebay Bewitched of Bellavanti taking part in the assessment


by Judi Whiting

The culmination of a year’s hard work paid off when the first Working Together assessment for Red & White Setters went ahead despite heavy rain. Held in conjunction with the Irish Red & White Setter Club of GB’s Championship show at Tollerton, the assessment proved successful for the dogs and owners taking part.

Working Together came about following a resolution at the club’s 2001 AGM to set in place a new gun dog training scheme which would encourage all members to take the basic steps towards working and trailing their dogs. Whilst a small number of members did take part in gun dog activities, the majority were unsure where to start and how to prepare their dog to reach the basic level of competence required for formal training.

The club’s working sub-committee put together the scheme which encompasses three levels of achievement – Bronze Shot, Silver Shot and Gold Shot. Together they demonstrate the four basic gun dog exercises required: send away, stop, drop and recall. In addition, all participants are encouraged to take part in the KC’s Good Citizen scheme to a minimum of Bronze level.

Encouraged

An illustrated Working Together handbook has been produced, using hints and tips from club members and experienced working people around the world. Launched at the club’s 2002 AGM in March, take up has been good and there are now over 30 members officially taking part in the initiative.

Initial training is designed to take place individually, perhaps in a back garden or convenient open space. However, participants are also encouraged to get together to arrange their own local training sessions where they can assess each other’s achievements and exchange ideas on training methods. If there is sufficient demand, more formal training sessions may be organised either regionally or nationally.

The first assessment drew an entry of four dogs, an excellent result considering that they had just three months to prepare. Peter Heard was approached to act as assessor and this he did with great enthusiasm, despite the awful weather. He was delighted with the results and awarded all four participants Bronze Shot certificates; two dogs also went on to earn their Silver Shot awards:

Bronze Shot –
Lockenna Olympic Flame
Taxus Mrs Twitchit at Lockenna
(both handled by Karen Lockwood)
Bronze and Silver Shot –
Cwmanwwm Saemus Macool (handled by Nicky Green)
Laoirebay Bewitched of Bellavanti (handled by Jenny Wilsher)

All these dogs will now move on to training for the next level and it is hoped to hold a further assessment later this year giving more dogs the opportunity to qualify at each level. They will also be competing for a beautiful ‘pheasant’ trophy, donated by Mrs Ann Millington, which will be presented annually to the owner most successfully promoting working achievement.

While it is acknowledged that Working Together is a very basic training scheme, it is hoped that it will encourage more R&W owners to train their dogs and take part in gun dog activities. After all, there is no more beautiful sight than seeing a well trained R&W running through heather, doing what comes naturally!