July 8, 2014

Tough Decisions

I recently had to make a tough decision.  I washed out Hattie.  Particularly hard for me because I washed out Ahti as well just a year or so ago.

Hattie is out of a fabulous breeding and sometimes genetics don't work as we hope they will.

Hattie was an absolute delight to raise, but I was always worried about her.  She never did like to retrieve, even as a puppy.

I have mentioned in previous blogs that when I raise a puppy, I let the puppy set the pace.  I have had puppies with little desire to retrieve (Rip) turn into retrieving maniacs and puppies who were retrieving fools (Ahti) lose their desire as the play turned into work.  I don't worry about pups too much if they have low retrieve desire when they are young, and I didn't worry about Hattie until she was 5 or so months old.  But when I still could not get her to retrieve by the time we started force fetch....that was a worry...

When something was thrown for Hattie as a puppy, she would race out and race back....but never bring back what was thrown.  She had no interest in picking anything up whether it be bumpers, ducks, toys or anything else.

Luckiest Man Alive and I assess 3 factors when evaluating dogs: desire, trainability and marking ability.  When one of these 3 things is very low it becomes incredibly difficult to advance the dog to an All Age level.

We trained Hattie all the way through the yard, but knew the writing was on the wall.  I was hopeful that she would turn around, but she never did.  Hattie just didn't have any passion to retrieve thrown objects and no amount of my yearning for it was going to make it so.

Luckiest Man Alive and I trained Hattie's mother and she has a tremendous amount of retrieve desire.  Hattie's grandmother is my wonderful Darbi, who loved Field Trials up until her retirement last year at 10 1/2 years old.  Hattie's father was a High Point Open dog in the US and is known for his insatiable desire.  Hattie's littermate has already placed in a Derby at 14 months old.  She had all the right genetics and the right start to life, but sometimes it goes the way it goes.

I have no desire to force a dog to do something it just doesn't want to do.

In my travels yesterday, I met Hattie's new family in North Dakota.  She left to go live in Minnesota with my brother's best friend from college.  You see, my brother now has Ahti and his friend had been waiting for a dog "just like Ahti".  Hattie now has a big house, a yard and two kids to play with every day.  I cried when we drove away but this is what is best for Hattie.  It's not that they will love her more then me, but they can offer her a more active life then that of living in a Field Trial camp with a dog that doesn't Field Trial.

Hattie's new family.

I'll see you soon sweet girl.

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