And then there was one ...
Renegade's Shooting Star (Johnny)
Finding the right home for the right pup is the most important consideration. And that is especially true for a pup with the potential to excel in the field and in the ring. This guy has been the biggest personality since the very first day. He needs a home where he will be able to demonstrate and prove his quality in the ring and in the field. If you are open to adventure, this freckeled face kid will certainly deliver more than you can imagine.
In the Ring
Since I hadn't yet placed this boy, we went to an International All Breed Canine Association IABCA show over the summer. These are low-key introductions to showing and a wonderful opportunity to get written feedback from multiple judges. This kid took to the ring like he took to finding birds in the field - he is a natural. And at not quite 4 months shows indications that he could possibly be even better than his dad in the ring. Judges consistently noted his movement, reach and drive, as well as his front and rear assembly and topline.
What the judges had to say -
"strong and powerful in bone and movement"
"nice reach and drive"
Movement - "free and easy - love this puppy"
Another off-season weekend, and another show.
I don't get hung up on show results. I show up with a good dog and know eventually a quality dog will prove himself to be such. However, even though I refer to it as doing the prancy-dance and I have a relaxed attitude about the whole thing, dog shows really do ask a lot of the dogs participating, and not just in the ring. Not just any dog can be a show dog, and I'm not talking about how "pretty" a dog is. The fundamental requirement is a sound temperment. To play the game, dogs really need an easy confidence and an on/off switch. This kid doesn't yet look polished in the ring - he still has wiggly puppy moments, and that is perfectly ok right now - but he is outstanding with all the other things a show dog has to be able to handle. He travels like a seasoned pro, he can handle being left alone in his crate, he can go from napping right into the ring, and he has greeted everyone and everything with a wagging tail and a confident swagger.
Not the greatest stack picture ever, but not bad for a pup's first time. His feet are a bit wonky, but he is still a handsome kid. Much like his dad, he's hampered by the quality of his handler.
In the field
I hung my bird vest on the whelping box before these pups had their eyes open. This boy was the first to make his way to it and try to get it. At 7 weeks he was exposed to quail. He displayed serious drive to find and get the bird and would happily retrieve.
Out and about
We continue to learn and to look for new experiences so this kid is well rounded. We recently went to a skate parks to meet new friends and see/hear new things, on a city walks so traffic and people are common, and of course a good boy needs a snack.
Johnny at a skate park
Johnny on a city adventure
Johnny waiting for his order
At barely seven months old, Johnny earned his Junior Hunter title. This is the AKC introductory level and it speaks to the potential of a dog. At this stage in a dog's development, judges are assessing hunting, bird finding, pointing, and trainability.
What was really special was watching the kid learn how to play this game. With each opportunity to be in the field he got more focused and more confident. His last run showed tremendous growth compared to his first and was everything I would hope to see - singular focus on the job at hand, intelligent hunting with the wind conditions, speed and intensity as he methodically searched the cover, and a solid point.