Greg Lewis and Maddie Burle with their KlM siblings, Marco (aka Yogi) and Merle (aka Marley) vom Vechtetal, successfully completed their VJPs in Fitzgerald, Georgia on February 18-19, 2017. Here’s Greg’s report:
I wanted to give you the report of the first two KLMs that tested this year, Marco vom Vechtetal and Merle vom Vechtetal, two of our imports from 2016. Both KLMs acquitted themselves, their handlers, and the breed well in an otherwise all DD test. Marco was the high score of the weekend with a 75. Merle was handled by a Maddie Burle, a 12 year old in her very first test, and scored in the very good predicate in all categories for a total score of 66.
I was able to handle Marco (aka Yogi) through his test, and he was really strong throughout. This was my first time testing in the German system, so it was all a bit new to me, especially the rabbit track. The judges scared me when they called Yogi back after his run in the field to take another look at his search. Don’t let this bother you if it happens. They were only trying to give him the opportunity to show them a second time to give him a chance at an 11 in search. The judges wanted to see him searching out a bit and running hard, which is exactly what he did. I zigged and zagged all throughout the searches to showcase his cooperation. Tip here, only do that (quartering in the field) if you know your dog will respond and stay in front of you. If you know your dog doesn’t quarter well, then you’re only showing the judges your dog’s weaknesses. So do your best to showcase the best of your dog and give them every opportunity to judge them well.
Yogi had four points during the field portion and I had to pick him up or leash him away on each of them. He was only given two opportunities to track rabbits during the test before the judges told me to take him back to the truck while the rest of the dogs/beaters continued (this happened with Merle as well, and it was b/c they had already deemed them in the “very good” predicate). It was raining at the time of his tracks, and the judge saw the first rabbit run 50 yards along a dirt trail next to a fence and then cut into the woods. Yogi tracked with his nose to the ground and over ran the track, but came back to restart on his own and caught the turn the next time. His second track could only be judged for 20 yards before the rabbit disappeared. Yogi again tracked with nose to the ground and kept going up and down through the briars exactly where the rabbit ran. So at the end of the day, he was the high score of the weekend with 11s in tracking, search, point, cooperation, and a 10 in nose!
I just wanted to encourage the rest of you as you prepare for your tests this spring. This test is only an indicator of where your dog’s natural abilities are at this point. They’re still puppies, but they can do some incredible things as I’m sure you are all aware. Try to enjoy the process along the way to making them hunting dogs and good companions. This is only a snapshot of your dog on one day, and we still have a lot to do (HZP, VGP, etc.) before they’re ready.
I really enjoyed myself at the test. The judges were very helpful and open to any of my questions. They are happy to explain what they’re looking for, and they really want your dog to succeed. The volunteers at the test were also dog trainers who had either tested several times before or were planning to in the future. They were also very helpful and encouraging along the way. So if this is your first time testing in the German system, try to have fun and know that they want you and your dog to succeed. I’m sure you will all do well, and hopefully have some great stories of your own to tell afterwards!