This Web page was created by Ivana Marinkovic jan 2000 <--------------------------------------------> Trial experience

Barbarella's Trial by Does

It was when Barbarella was making the test of inborn abilities - that is a simple form of the hunt test, a walk in the field, the dog must find a trail and follow it, give voice, but also behave well, as, say, come when recalled, and - not chase deer. There were more than twenty participants that day and as I drew our lots we were among the last to run, which suited me fine as I could then see how the other were doing before our turn came, and Barbarella could listen to other dogs talk so she could guess what was her job to do. Only, when our turn came, we were placed to wait by the roadside, which would be fine again except that the place was crisscrossed with countless roe deer trail marks; this must have been where they grazed overnight. Perhaps I could have asked that I may move to another place to wait, but I was not one of seasoned chaps and I was afraid the organizers would find me too fussy and punish me in some way for it. So I tried to keep Barbarella's head up and off those deer prints and trust the numerous "No!"s and quiet walks when we used to pass next to deer pens. Alas all was no avail. When we were given command to run, after about a quarter of an hour delay while waiting for the previous dog to be recalled (ie., found in the bush), she did not start in the "leisure" or even "search" mode but immediately set in "follow trail" mode, yapping a little, making small leaps hither and thither, and after about five minutes she was off towards somewhere who-knows-where else and I knew we were in trouble. I had to cast off my dignity and run for it, that is, for her, so I started to call her loudly and trot towards where I heard her voice come from. The path weaved beside corn fields at first, next through some ferns, then a hazel groove, (someone later told me Barbarella there raised a pig pack but left them for her original trail), then a thorny black locust trees grove (nasty American imports), some more ferns, and after about ten minutes of running I came at the hill ridge from where I could see a Dobra river valley, about 3 km away, which made the the border with Slovenia. I doubted that she would have swam across, but if she did took to playing with deer and not to come back for all my calls I would have to came back the next day myself - and I had no car at that time, it was some other club members that brought us to the test grounds in their car, so I started even to panic a little. Maybe some of that panic got reflected in my voice, for finally I saw something run towards me from the next hill. So I yelled "Barbarella! Bara! Bara!" several times - I find some of the dogs respond better to multiple names. 'Bara' is her call command for 'come quickly'. But then the creature from the next hill came closer, running straight towards me, and I saw that it was not Barbarella, but a red deer doe! Yet the baying was coming from thereabouts and I could recognize it distinctly as Barbarella's. The doe then saw me, swerved aside and disappeared into the undergrowth, and while I stood there gazing into Slovenia there was hop! Barbarella finally appearing in the exact place where the doe was a minute ago. I called her name once more, which she finally chose to respond to, so I ordered her next to heel, and started a quick march back. It was almost a whole hour before we came back to the meeting point, and all the runs were finished by then, they gave up on me and Barbarella as poor lost novices. The only thing to wait for was for the judges to decide on placements. (There was a small barbecue party with snacks and drinks, but that's another story). And when that finally came up, Barbarella was placed somewhere around or twelfth or thirteenth place, that meant like two thirds to the back, but some quite experienced dogs were still behind her. I am sure now she would have made it better if not for those deer tracks, as it was a big minus point that she abandoned the pigs - the guy who saw that attributed it to her lack of experience, knowing nothing of the existence of deer trail - and I had to keep my mouth clammed, for it is ever a minus point, if a dog has anything to do with deer. But it often comes to my mind - how many dogs there are that can shepherd deer?