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Dogs and handlers show off their bird-dogging skills near Butte

Posted at 7:10 PM, Jun 06, 2019

ELK PARK – Dogs were having their day at a national retriever competition north of Butte in Elk Park. Dogs and their handlers got into the fun.

“Oh, she loves it. If she didn’t like it it wouldn’t be any fun for either of us. The dog has to love it,” said dog handler Dick Adams.

The Master Amateur Invitational features 150 teams of dogs and handlers in this week-long competition highlighting a very unique skill.

“The tests are designed to simulate hunting situations and to test those dogs on their natural hunting abilities,” said Joe Reinhardt of the American Kennel Club.

Competitors came from all over.

“We have people from Florida to Washington, from Southern California to Road Island and everywhere in between competing,” said Reinhardt.

Janet Wood was not a hunter before she got into the sport 20 years ago. But she was hooked after watching her first competition.

“Driving on to the grounds and seeing a golden retriever out in the field handling just like we’re saying and I was just awestruck and I looked at that dog and that dog was so happy doing was it was bred to do, and I said, ‘that’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to do,” said Wood.

“It’s teamwork and my feeling is what you develop in teamwork is trust  and they know, ‘if I follow my handlers directions, they’re going to get me to a bird.’ Because that’s what they want more than anything,” said Wood.