At the age of 12-years-old, first-time Junior Chudleys Gundog Championship competitor Jack Berry qualified for the 2016 finals at the Highclere Country Show and managed to clinch second place in the championship with Fox Red Labrador, Oscar.
Gundog handling is a hobby of Jack’s as him and his father Jon Berry spent time together training. After learning the ropes with Dad, Jack began training Oscar on his own. After some basic retrieval training and whistle work with Oscar, friends of the Berry family, who are previous Chudleys Gundog Championship competitors, suggested that they should run Oscar in the scurries. After attending the Highclere Country Show, the Berry family returned home with plenty of Chudleys Gundog Championship rosettes.
Despite Jack’s initial nerves and embarrassment when things didn’t go to plan, he loved competing in the championship as the marshals and spectators made him feel at ease with their support and encouragement. Jack is looking forward to competing in this year’s Junior Chudleys Gundog Championship and the family have put the dates in the diary for 2017’s qualifying rounds.
Jack’s advice for Chudleys Gundog Championship competitors:
- Give it a go! Even if you’re not sure your dog can do it, have a try and they might just surprise you.
- Enjoy it and try not to be nervous – your dog will run better if you’re calm and confident.
- Encourage and praise your dog so you get more out of them.
- Sometimes there are false starts and distractions so have a plan to keep your dog occupied so they enjoy their time in the arena.
- Bring poo bags! Sometimes the excitement can get the better of them, however try to take them to the toilet before the event.
- Listen to the marshals – They want you and your dog to succeed and they gave me lots of useful tips after each run.
- Keep to your normal routine – When we first ran Oscar he was just a puppy and was used to having 3 meals per day. At the events we would stop for lunch and rest for an hour afterwards to let Oscar’s food go down.
- Watch your dog’s energy levels – If your dog starts to come back slowly or stops listening take a break. Make sure they have enough water throughout the day.