ELK PARK – Dogs were able to have some fun with their handlers this week at a national retriever competition north of Butte in Elk Park.
“Oh, she loves it. If she didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be any fun for either of us. The dog has to love it,” said dog handler Dick Adams.
The Master Amateur Invitational features 150 teams of dogs and handlers in a week-long competition that highlights a very unique skill.
“The tests are designed to simulate hunting situations and to test those dogs on their natural hunting abilities,” said Joe Reinhardt of the American Kennel Club.
Competitors came from across the country.
“We have people from Florida to Washington, from Southern California to Rhode Island, and everywhere in between competing,” said Reinhardt.
Janet Wood was not a hunter before she got into the sport 20 years ago. She was hooked after watching her first competition, however.
“Driving on to the grounds and seeing a golden retriever out in the field handling just like we’re saying and I was just awestruck and I looked at that dog and that dog was so happy doing what it was bred to do, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to do,’” said Wood.
“It’s teamwork and my feeling is what you develop in teamwork is trust and they know, ‘If I follow my handler’s directions, they’re going to get me to a bird,’ because that’s what they want more than anything,” said Wood.
John Emeigh/MTN News