I encourage anyone who has ever had an interest in hunting retrievers to come watch the North American Hunting Retriever Association Invitational this coming week. It is up Palmer Fishhook Road, close by for valley and anchorage residents...
The invitational is a showcase of dogs from across the country who have achieved their Master Hunting Retriever title and are capable of performing as a well trained and finished hunting companion. I can nearly guarantee that every dog who is entered in this event is hunted every year - for all manner of birds...
These dog and handler teams must be able to show they can work together. The dog must be able to watch and remember mulitple falls (birds) on both land and water, take direction in the field to a bird they did not see fall (blinds), quarter a field and hunt up a bird, and be steady to flush, shot, and fall of of the bird. And they must run a trail - follow the scent of a 'wounded' bird to it's recovery (in this case a dead bird, LOL).
http://www.nahrainvitational.com/ for more information about dates, times, location....
As an added note - if you do attend, please follow general rules of the 'gallery'
Don't wear white or light colored clothing
Don't talk loudly
Don't pet or approach a dog without first asking the handler's permission
Stand where the judges tell you to stand/watch from
Don't be afraid to ask questions before or after a team has run - there will be a number of people in the gallery who will be able to answer them
wear rubber boots or waterproof boots