A look into the lives of sporting dogs
It all starts with the right pup, and then lots and lots of training. A field trial or hunt test champion is definitely not your ordinary dog who likes to play fetch. Hunt tests and field trials are where these sporting dogs show off their prowess. At a hunt test, the thrown bird is typically under 150 yards but at a field trial the “mark,” or bird, could be as far away as 400 yards. This is so far away that the handler often cannot see the bird without binoculars. It is the job of the dog to retrieve the bird and they are judged on how efficiently they perform the task. These dogs are trained as much as six days a week by professionals who do nothing else.
Sporting dogs, specifically retrievers, are used by hunters to retrieve the shot game, especially when hunting over water, and they can greatly enhance the enjoyment of the sport. For those of you who do not hunt or are not familiar with duck hunting in general, you might want to note that it is in fact the fees from duck hunters that have in large part made possible the survival of healthy duck populations by the preservation of wetlands and good game management techniques.
You can listen to the podcast with Bruce Fox and Rick Sparks as they discuss sporting dog topics from field trials to proper diet below.