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Event: Potomac NAVDHA Natural Ability event.
Date: 04/13/2008

The Potomac Chapter of NAVDHA holds a Natural Ability test for a dozen or so dogs at the McKee-Beshers preserve in Maryland.
Molly the Spinone works along a strip of cover during her bird-finding test.
 
Molly the Spinone works along a strip of cover during her bird-finding test. Image ID: 21-001000

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She's come to a stop along the edge of the sorghum, and stays on point as her handler comes in to flush the bird.
 
She's come to a stop along the edge of the sorghum, and stays on point as her handler comes in to flush the bird. Image ID: 21-001010

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Molly's handler and a judge walk behind her as she hunts up the next of the five birds that have been put down in the field.
 
Molly's handler and a judge walk behind her as she hunts up the next of the five birds that have been put down in the field. Image ID: 21-001020

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She's just started getting birdy again, so the judges come to a stop, giving her room to work.
 
She's just started getting birdy again, so the judges come to a stop, giving her room to work. Image ID: 21-001030

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Looping back from the treeline after a chukar flush.
 
Looping back from the treeline after a chukar flush. Image ID: 21-001040

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Intent on scent.
 
Intent on scent. Image ID: 21-001050

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A chukar is up and around, and Molly has just eyeballed it on her way by.
 
A chukar is up and around, and Molly has just eyeballed it on her way by. Image ID: 21-001060

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She's fast, but so is the bird. Partridges will often give running a try before they'll take to the wing.
 
She's fast, but so is the bird. Partridges will often give running a try before they'll take to the wing. Image ID: 21-001070

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Almost . . .
 
Almost . . . Image ID: 21-001080

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. . . but the bird has hopped into some cover, and now that it's invisible, Molly becomes more thoughtful about it.
 
. . . but the bird has hopped into some cover, and now that it's invisible, Molly becomes more thoughtful about it. Image ID: 21-001090

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Standing another bird. The judges have seen her willingness to go for the flushed bird, so they'll step right in and bag the bird if they can.
 
Standing another bird. The judges have seen her willingness to go for the flushed bird, so they'll step right in and bag the bird if they can. Image ID: 21-001100

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Heading out for another.
 
Heading out for another. Image ID: 21-001110

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Running right on past the bird bag. She knows the difference between one in the hand, and a more interesting one in the bush.
 
Running right on past the bird bag. She knows the difference between one in the hand, and a more interesting one in the bush. Image ID: 21-001120

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Bird's eye view.
 
Bird's eye view. Image ID: 21-001130

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The judge is watching farther down the course, while Molly eyes the cover, and her handler watches her body language . . .
 
The judge is watching farther down the course, while Molly eyes the cover, and her handler watches her body language . . . Image ID: 21-001140

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. . . before they head down the sorghum patch to the end of the first field.
 
. . . before they head down the sorghum patch to the end of the first field. Image ID: 21-001150

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With a cut through the trees into the next field, and a turn into the wind, the pace picks up.
 
With a cut through the trees into the next field, and a turn into the wind, the pace picks up. Image ID: 21-001160

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Since she's already shown eagerness for the flushed birds, the judges are content to have her handler collar her after a new find.
 
Since she's already shown eagerness for the flushed birds, the judges are content to have her handler collar her after a new find. Image ID: 21-001170

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Working down a row of teasles.
 
Working down a row of teasles. Image ID: 21-001180

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Praise for a job well done.
 
Praise for a job well done. Image ID: 21-001190

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A bit of boredom (and remarkable patience) between tests.
 
A bit of boredom (and remarkable patience) between tests. Image ID: 21-001200

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A bite of food before heading into the tracking event.
 
A bite of food before heading into the tracking event. Image ID: 21-001210

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Some planning, while looking at the cover and the wind, before the first dog's tracking test.
 
Some planning, while looking at the cover and the wind, before the first dog's tracking test. Image ID: 21-001220

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An unsual spectator buzzes the test grounds. The US Park Police are all too often called upon to work the Potomac River's deceptive waters.
 
An unsual spectator buzzes the test grounds. The US Park Police are all too often called upon to work the Potomac River's deceptive waters. Image ID: 21-001230

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While the handler keeps his dog in a blind, the judges release a pheasant to run into the cover.
 
While the handler keeps his dog in a blind, the judges release a pheasant to run into the cover. Image ID: 21-001240

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The handler leads the ready-to-go Weim over to the pile of feathers being pointed out by the judge. That's the start of the trail the dog needs to track.
 
The handler leads the ready-to-go Weim over to the pile of feathers being pointed out by the judge. That's the start of the trail the dog needs to track. Image ID: 21-001250

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And off he goes, tracking those pheasant feet.
 
And off he goes, tracking those pheasant feet. Image ID: 21-001260

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Returning, right quick, with that pheasant. But that grip is just a little awkward . . .
 
Returning, right quick, with that pheasant. But that grip is just a little awkward . . . Image ID: 21-001270

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. . . and minus a tail feather, the rooster is back on the move.
 
. . . and minus a tail feather, the rooster is back on the move. Image ID: 21-001280

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But not for long.
 
But not for long. Image ID: 21-001290

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Whew! The handler's done with that run, but his Weimaraner would just as soon do it all over again.
 
Whew! The handler's done with that run, but his Weimaraner would just as soon do it all over again. Image ID: 21-001300

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The next handler and her dog are waiting at the blind while the bird planters set up the next track.
 
The next handler and her dog are waiting at the blind while the bird planters set up the next track. Image ID: 21-001310

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Most pointing dogs are very good at visually marking game on the ground. The blind prevents them from seeing these releases.
 
Most pointing dogs are very good at visually marking game on the ground. The blind prevents them from seeing these releases. Image ID: 21-001320

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Nose down, it's off to track that bird.
 
Nose down, it's off to track that bird. Image ID: 21-001330

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That didn't take long.
 
That didn't take long. Image ID: 21-001340

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Though, giving up that bird isn't as fun as tracking it down.
 
Though, giving up that bird isn't as fun as tracking it down. Image ID: 21-001350

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The judges compare notes as the handler keeps the dog's idea of a test prize at arm's length.
 
The judges compare notes as the handler keeps the dog's idea of a test prize at arm's length. Image ID: 21-001360

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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
 
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Image ID: 21-001379

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Another team trails the bird man out to the tracking course.
 
Another team trails the bird man out to the tracking course. Image ID: 21-001380

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The pheasant has left a track towards the woodline, and one judge is scattering some more feathers to mark the starting point for the dog.
 
The pheasant has left a track towards the woodline, and one judge is scattering some more feathers to mark the starting point for the dog. Image ID: 21-001390

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Spectators watching the tracking event need to stay out of the way. Binoculars are a popular accessory.
 
Spectators watching the tracking event need to stay out of the way. Binoculars are a popular accessory. Image ID: 21-001400

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Marching back out after a quick and succesful track.
 
Marching back out after a quick and succesful track. Image ID: 21-001410

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A Weim waits his turn, and watches from the sidelines. A cool customer.
 
A Weim waits his turn, and watches from the sidelines. A cool customer. Image ID: 21-001420

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Moving the blind. Each new track needs to start upwind, and far enough away from the previous track to give each dog something specific with which to work.
 
Moving the blind. Each new track needs to start upwind, and far enough away from the previous track to give each dog something specific with which to work. Image ID: 21-001430

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Molly the Spinone waits behind the relocated blind while the new track is established.
 
Molly the Spinone waits behind the relocated blind while the new track is established. Image ID: 21-001440

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At the water test, a bumper is thrown into water just deep enough to require a swim.
 
At the water test, a bumper is thrown into water just deep enough to require a swim. Image ID: 21-001450

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The judge are looking for the dog's willingness to get into the water. The retrieve isn't strictly necessary, but most young dogs will eagerly go after that dummy.
 
The judge are looking for the dog's willingness to get into the water. The retrieve isn't strictly necessary, but most young dogs will eagerly go after that dummy. Image ID: 21-001460

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And there's usually two or three tosses, so that the judges can get a good sense of the dog's disposition around the water.
 
And there's usually two or three tosses, so that the judges can get a good sense of the dog's disposition around the water. Image ID: 21-001470

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Every dog we watched was ready to go acquire that bumper . . .
 
Every dog we watched was ready to go acquire that bumper . . . Image ID: 21-001480

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. . . though some young dogs can't resist taking it for a more scenic swim before bringing it back in.
 
. . . though some young dogs can't resist taking it for a more scenic swim before bringing it back in. Image ID: 21-001490

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This intent Griffon, paw up in on-point style, is waiting for something to hit the water, and for a command to go after it.
 
This intent Griffon, paw up in on-point style, is waiting for something to hit the water, and for a command to go after it. Image ID: 21-001495

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Owners of shaggier dogs - Wirehairs, Spinoni, Griffons, Setters - are happier with the spring-season water. Later in the season, it can get a lot smellier.
 
Owners of shaggier dogs - Wirehairs, Spinoni, Griffons, Setters - are happier with the spring-season water. Later in the season, it can get a lot smellier. Image ID: 21-001500

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Shaking off swamp water, alas, does not shake off the Eau de Swamp.
 
Shaking off swamp water, alas, does <i>not</i> shake off the <i>Eau de Swamp</i>. Image ID: 21-001510

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