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The preparations for this event started already at our April meeting. This new one took place traditionally in Strašín u Sušice in October 13-16th, 2005. It was one week earlier than the originally planned due to the Rare Breed Dog Show, which was shifted to that date. Finally, it was even better because our training included also handling dogs in a show ring and it could help to less experienced owners to improve their performance during the following exhibition.
This time, our gathering was one day longer than usually as the programme was time consuming. With coming date it became clear that a hotel capacity is not sufficient. Fortunatelly, another hotel in nearby village helped us to accommodate all late coming participants.
On Friday morning, we all set off for the woods nearby Strašín and the First World Catahoula Scooter Race could start. Nine competitors with three different types of scooter participated. This is not extremly high number, however, when we started with sledge dogs twenty years ago, the situation was not better and only a few guys were competing.
The test for catahoula interest in a wild hog was a summit of Friday programme. Everybody has seen pictures from American A- or B-bay competitions, but nobody here has tried it yet. As we had no suitable corral or any good fenced area for the hog we decided to do it by our own simpler way. Mr. Novotný, the local hog owner, brought the small wild pig in a wooden crate. This was the safest and for most participants also the most acceptable version. Although our dogs could not be in direct contact with the hog, they were strongly excited by its presence. Nevertheless, some differences in their response were observed, probably in dependence on dog's age. The observers and local experts highly evaluated their performance. Younger dogs usually exhibited less affection than the older ones, but this improved at the presence of another dog near the crate.
The main programme started on Saturday morning at nine o´clock. After a necessary introduction of all participants and their dogs training in four groups began. All had to go through the preparation for a dog show in the ring, then some behavioral tests, a basic agility training, and a blood tracking for those, who did not try on Friday. Those, who passed through one activity, went for another. This took until the noon. After lunch, we again moved to the woods. Those, who arrived on Friday evening and wanted, could try scooter, blood tracking or crated wild hog. Others took part in training of several excercises of Obedience for Novices, e.g. recall over high jump. However, one by one our dogs went through another test of their hunting abilities that we have never tried before. This was tracking of dead body of freshly killed rabbit. I am pleased that none of our catahoulas failed in this test and we all were pleased by their working abilities.
We got back to our hotel just before sunset. Although the weather was very pleasant for this season and sun was shining the whole day, most owners and their dogs were tired, particularly those younger ones. Nevertheless, we had to summarize results of the day and introduce Sunday programme. And then a banquet was waiting for us. The top that was a choccolate cake with edible pictures of our catahoulas.
Sunday programme was divided into two parts. The first ca one hour was devoted as usually to a short collective walk. It was quite pleasant, although we unexpectedly had to pass a herd of cows. Catahoulas are used also for herding in America, thus their herding insticts could awake anytime. This time it was necessary to keep them quiet, because we had to walk a narrow path along a pasture that was fenced only by a thin electrical fence and cows with calves were there. Fortunately, all owners and dogs passed successfully this test and no troubles occurred.
Summarizing our gathering, 23 catahoulas and six dogs of other breeds (one Viszla, one Poodle, one German Shepard, one Australian Cattle Dog, one Hokkaido-ken, and one mixbreed) and more than 40 owners participated. We all realized that our catahoulas are extremely versatile dogs and it is up to us how we would be able to utilize it.