In this test of overall hunting ability, actual hunting situations are replicated to test the bond between handler and dog. Dummies, or "birds," are launched into the retriever course, which includes grass, meadows and water. There are also decoy "birds" and other elements intended to distract the dog. Time begins and the handler gives the command for his dog to retrieve a selected "bird." The dog will be led by a variety of commands, including hand signals and audio commands. The dog that honors his handler's commands and retrieves the designated "birds" with the fewest infractions will be crowned champion.
|Qualifying for the Retriever Trials of the ESPN Great Outdoor Games looks
like the real thing, but it's actually tougher. The courses are designed to
find the best retriever/handler teams in the world.|
One of the toughest parts of the competition is the blind retrieve. This retrieve requires the dog to retrieve a "bird" that it has not seen land. The dog relies exclusively on the command's of it's handler. If teamwork is not perfect, this is where the gold can be lost.