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Show Goldens presented with their Working Gundog Certificates

A long-term ambition was fulfilled recently when two dogs from the Winnatts kennel of golden retrievers were presented with their working gundog certificates. Justyna Aulton’s Winnatts Wordsworth (Chisleay Crusader for Rossgilde JW x Kulawand Highland Sonnet for Winnatts) and Sarah Middleton’s Winnatts Konrad (Kulawand Nordic Venture x Winnatts Mariette) received their awards at Crufts 2009.

Winnatts Wordsworth and Winnatts KonradAbout a year ago, Sydney and Barnaby embarked on some gundog training, for fitness and obedience; Barnaby having done the Kennel Club Good Citizen gold award, and Sydney the bronze award. Training started with heelwork on and off the lead; fairly simple, seen retrieves; learning to jump over hay bales; learning to swim; but most importantly, learning steadiness. The hardest lesson for the dogs is to do nothing and watch other dogs working. As we progressed, we started training at the shoot ground with the noise of shotguns, cold game retrieves and the distraction of scent. This was to prepare us for the high standard required for the assessment. During the summer, Barnaby was placed at a working test, whilst Sydney continued his showing career.

In December, both dogs took part in their first shoot and successfully hunted for and retrieved several birds each. In the New Year, they were assessed on the Rangemoor Shoot, Staffordshire for the Working Gundog Certificate. A clean retrieve to hand was necessary, and the bird was checked for any damage. One of the retrieves was through a fence, and some of the day involved hunting for a bird in dense cover. The assessment (and many training sessions) was made harder, as the temperatures were as low as minus six degrees. This meant the scent was very poor and there was ice on the lake. Despite this, the dogs completed the tasks well.

Over the summer, Barnaby is hopefully going to attempt some Working Tests and start picking up regularly next season. Sydney will concentrate more on showing (having started the year well), but might try a Working Test. Finally, there are two new Winnatts youngsters waiting in the wings to have a go.

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