ONE of the newest additions to the SSAA disciplines, Field and Retrieving is a highly regarded event which brings man’s best friend – in the form of gun-dogs – to the field.

A gun-dog’s natural instinct is to retrieve and this event provides a perfect avenue for them to express their natural working abilities, have fun and exercise both themselves and their handlers.

Field and Retrieving competitions simulate real-life hunting conditions where the dog’s ability to retrieve is tested over various terrain and conditions commonly found in hunting scenarios.

The aim of a retrieving trial is to test gun-dogs under conditions as close as possible to those in natural field shooting and as part of competitions, dogs are asked to retrieve artificial game from a range of places including dams and creeks, thick marsh or sparse paddocks.

In competition, the dog will be required to be under control and quiet at all times, walk at heel, stay on command (until released), mark and retrieve thrown items of game, and under direction, seek and retrieve hidden items of game, retrieve on land, in water and across water, and return the game item gently to the hand of the handler.

Dogs participating in Field and Retrieving events are judged on their natural ability for memory, intelligence, attention, nose, courage, perseverance, style, and eagerness as well as their training abilities for marking, steadiness, obedience, controlled response to direction, presentation of delivery, steadiness to shot, and – importantly – not being gun-shy.

Field and Retrieving events have high spectator enjoyment as well, being a great deal of fun to watch and giving dogs and handlers a chance to show off their high skill levels in an event with a long association with hunting and the shooting sports.

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