After 9 of the 10 junior level Water Dog entrants had finished, it was time for a lunch break and then the senior level Water Rescue Dog exercises would begin.
So far, only one new Water Dog title had been awarded, but several of the dogs from day 1 would try again on day 2. The final dog that was left was in season (heat) and allowed to compete, she just had to do it at the end of the day once all of the other dogs had taken their turn.
The WRD exercises build on the skills from the junior level and are more complex. The 6 exercises are: Directed Retrieve, Retrieve Off A Boat, Take A Life Ring, Underwater Retrieve, Take A Line/Tow A Boat and Rescue.
I was excited to see this group since part of this test involved jumping off of a boat and I had my camera ready!
The dog featured in most of the pictures is Anna. She was a rescue that was adopted when she was about 2 years old. She started training once she was with her new family and was here to re-qualify, meaning she had already gotten her title and was doing it again. She was amazing to watch! She charged through each exercise with speed, enthusiasm and perfection and showed everyone on the beach that she could do each exercise as it was intended.
- Double Retrieve: 2 stewards row out and drop a life jacket and a boat cushion. Each item is retrieved and delivered to their handler in a specific order determined by the judges.
Anna was so fast with each item, I didn’t catch the signals that she was given! Being expected to do it in a certain order by following their handlers’ signals was amazing to watch. A couple of dogs, mixed up the order and this dog had to deal with a big current that swept his boat cushion out of the area but he went for it and brought it back after a much farther swim than expected.
- Retrieve Off A Boat: The dog leaps off of the boat to retrieve a floating paddle and returns it to their handler in the boat.
I also need to feature this guy who had such a beautiful jump and held his paddle high in the air as he returned to the boat. He was also a re-qualifier.
What can go wrong? I quickly learned that not all dogs are that eager to jump!
This sweet girl proudly brought her paddle to shore.
- Take A Life Ring: The dog carries a life ring out to a “drowning” victim who is splashing and calling for help. He must ignore two other swimmers who are quietly bobbing nearby (I was on of those swimmers) and then tow the victim to shore. Clarence is featured for this exercise.
This was a tough exercise. A couple of dogs went to the quiet swimmers rather than the calling swimmer and returned to shore without a victim.
4. Underwater Retrieve: The dog retrieves a sunken item from elbow deep water and delivers it to their handler. Once again, Anna was so fast I had a hard time catching it but I did get some good pictures of another boy excitedly doing this exercise.
5. Take A Line/Tow A Boat: The dog carries a line out from shore to a waiting boat. The steward grabs the line and the dog turns and tows the boat, beaching it on shore.
Just like take a line, and take a life ring, this exercise was very challenging and most of the dogs weren’t able to pass.
6. Rescue: The dog must leap from a boat to his handler who is calling him from the water, then the dog tows his handler to shore.
This was a dramatic way to finish the test and I loved seeing these dogs leap to their owners’ rescue!
Anna re-qualified both days for her 4th and 5th time!
I was so impressed with what I saw over the weekend. Tomorrow I will share some really sweet moments between different owners and their dogs as well as the story of a dog that I found very inspiring.