Vol. XIII, Week 11 Mar 20, 2023
2024 Master National: West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area, Kevil, Kentucky
The Master National Board of Directors is excited to announce that the Bourbon Hills Retriever Club has been chosen to be the host club for the 2024 Master National Event.
The West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area is located approximately six miles from Paducah, Kentucky and is 6,425 acres in size.
Dates of the event will be September 22, (Sunday) - October 2,(Wednesday) 2024. The Host Hotel will be located in Paducah. Please watch for further details as they become available. Congratulations to Bourbon Hills Retriever Club.
Reading Your Retriever
The Retriever Journal has a good article by Tom Kerr.
Just because a gun dog can’t speak doesn’t mean he’s not saying anything. That’s why observant handlers are always watching their dogs. Sure, they are monitoring their performance of the given command, but they’re also looking for insight as to how the dog feels. Reading their body language is key for elevating their performance levels, and here are some things pro trainers look for when they cut loose their string.
Chris Akin, Webb Footed Kennels, Jonesboro, Arkansas, says that anyone can read a dog, especially because they’re a lot like reading a teenager. The Eukanuba pro trainer says, "Dogs are like teenagers, and their body language tells it all. Walk down the hall in a high school and you’ll see a guy standing straight up with his chest puffed out. He’s confident, bold, and may even be a little cocky. Another student that averts eye contact and walks with shoulders slumped down probably is feeling somewhat insecure. If you can walk into a room and read people, then you can do the same with dogs.
"Akin says forward means go and backward means no. "Any time you see forward movement in a dog, you know that he’s feeling confident, happy, and ready to go to work," he said. "I look at tails, eyes, ears, and shoulders. High tails, bright eyes, and forward ears tell me a dog’s ready to go. But I key in on the shoulders. If a dog’s shoulders are slightly forward, we’re good. If they’re really far forward, then I’ve got an arrogant dog. That cocky dog is going to have a big run, but he’s gonna test you every step of the way. By watching him you know you’ve got to throttle him back to keep him focused and on track.
"Backward position can be one of two things, says Akin. "A dog with ears pinned back can be scared just as a tail tucked under his body can show he lacks confidence. Training should be to focus on getting them into a better place where they’re having fun and enjoying their work. But I always question how they’re feeling, too. I watch them during feeding time to gauge volume and speed in which they eat. We’re constantly watching water intake, and we look at a dog’s gum line to make sure they’re light pink, which is an indication of proper hydration. Dogs with lighter or darker gums might not be getting enough nutrition, and if there is any sign of unusual behavior, we’ll take a temperature. If the dog’s temperature is out of line, then we’ll head to the vet. Something is wrong, and it’s always better to catch it earlier than later.
"And if a dog is licking his lips when you give a command? "He’s submitting and is obedient," Akin says. "If he doesn’t, then you probably are going to have to focus on bringing him under control."
Read the rest of the article here.
RIP: James 'Doc' Wonnell
The Master National Board of Directors shares news on the loss of another MNRC patriarch and dear friend to many. James (Doc) Wonnell passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 5, 2023 surrounded by his wife of 46 years, Sarah, son, Jeffrey, and daughter-in-law, Kathleen.
Doc and his wife Sarah have been participants and devoted service providers to the Master National organization and event for many years. Doc and Sarah could be found in the forefront helping in many various areas during our annual event as well as behind the scene support wherever needed. Sarah was often seen taking photographs from the sidelines.
Doc served as a Master National judge in 2011 and again in 2015. He handled five retrievers to Master National plates. He was always willing to assist whenever there was a need for veterinary services. Doc was very devoted to the dogs and our hunt test sport. Most importantly Doc was a friend to anyone who crossed paths with especially if those folks wanted to talk about dogs. We send our sincere thoughts, prayers and well wishes to Sarah and family.
Keith Maready and the MNRC Board of Directors
James was born on April 11, 1939 to James and Catherine Wonnell in Zionsville, Indiana. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1958-1961 as a Corporal and expert marksman before entering veterinary school at Purdue University.
James was a veterinarian for over 50 years and was owner of the still-established Animal Medical Hospital in Stuart, Florida. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and two grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at Forest Hills Memorial Park in Palm City on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Treasure Coast Hospice, Dogs & Cats Forever, or Equine Rescue and Adoption Foundation.
MN Handler of the Year Awards
The Master National Retriever Club Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of co-recipients of the 2022 Bill T. Teague Handler of the Year Award.
The two recipients are Mr. Jim Windham from Leonard, Texas and Dr. Dennis Greer of Vancouver, Washington. Both are long time participants at the Master National Hunt Test.
Both of these handlers will be presented a plague and cash award at an upcoming event in their respective areas in the coming weeks.
The Foundation received the largest number of nominations for the Handler of the Year Award since the organization’s inception in 2013.
Lone Duck's Gun Dog Chronicles with Kevin Cheff
Bob Owens and Kevin Cheff (The Retriever Coach) have recorded two podcasts which might be worth a listen while traveling to training or your next event. They both focus on drills you can do to set your dog up for success this Spring.
You can listen to them through Apple Podcasts.
Establish High Standards (Part 1)
Retriever Training Fundamentals (Part 2)