The 2019 country fair season is now in full swing, handlers across the country will spend their weekends competing in a multitude of gundog scurry competitions, the biggest of which is held at Countryman Fairs events, the world-renowned Chudleys Gundog Championship. So we catch up with Countryman Fairs Chief Executive, Ian Harford and we ask:
"What is a gundog scurry?"
Ian said: "To the uninitiated, my favourite analogy of a gundog scurry is “space invaders for dogs”. Those born from the 90s onwards might not recognise this iconic arcade game, but in effect it’s all about exciting, quick-fire fun for both dog and handler. In its most basic form, a dummy is thrown and the handler must instruct their dog to retrieve the dummy in adherence with the rules of the challenge, usually against the clock. Scurries can feature multiple retrieves and may include other elements such as obstacles and distractions, testing the fundamentals of dog control and behaviour. It's a lot of fun, especially if you have a wayward spaniel like me!"
Here’s a guide to how a typical scurry might work:
- Dog and handler are positioned in the start box.
- One or more dummies will be thrown or launched into the scurry arena.
- Handler is instructed which order the dummies must be retrieved.
- Timekeeper starts the clock when the dog is sent and leaves the start box.
- Handler must remain in the box and control the dog with a whistle, calls and hand signals.
- The dog should be steady but may be restrained if necessary.
- For multiple dummies, the clock will be stopped in between retrieves when the dog has returned to the start box.
- The dog that retrieves the dummies in the fastest time, in the correct order, without infringing the rules, will be the winner.
- Collect your rosette, trophy and cash prize.
- Brag to your friends, family and anyone else who will listen 😂.