Photo by Duckdog Photography
Photo by Nicole DeBernardi
Photo by Key4Prints
Photo by Duckdog Photography
Watermark's Mission Bell MH MX MXS MXJ MJB XF T2B RATN DS CGC WCX ADHF VCX CCA RL1
(Named after the musician Amos Lee)
Date of Birth: 10/9/2013
OFA Clearances: https://www.ofa.org/advanced-search?quicksearch=SR80035803
Amos Brag! On 5/10/2019, Amos finished the requirements for the GRCA's Agility Dog Hall of Fame (ADHF) designation! He is our first dog in the Agility Dog Hall of Fame.
Amos is a very special boy that my husband and I feel very fortunate to own. Amos was purchased with the intention of being our next dock diving dog (we were competing in DockDogs with our other Golden, Mosby, at the time) and maybe dabbling in some rally obedience. Amos was selected for us by his breeder Mary because he was the most water driven out of his litter (lucky for us, even though Amos was born during the colder months, he is from Houston, TX and it was warm enough there for his breeder to take the puppies to the pond a few times). Sure enough, when we took him to the indoor pool at just 9 weeks of age, he happily ran into the water after his big brothers and started swimming!
At the age of 6 months, Amos earned his CGC as part of his puppy class graduation. We entered him in a couple World Cynosport Rally trials, where he easily earned his puppy rally title and then his RL1. He also entered his first DockDogs competition at 6 months old, and happily jumped off the dock to earn his Novice title. He progressed rapidly with his dock diving, earning his Senior title shortly after, and jumping over 20 feet by the end of the summer. He did so well that he earned himself an invite to the DockDogs World Championships in Dubuque, Iowa where he competed in November 2014. He also earned his AKC North American Diving Dogs DS title in August 2014 (he also has master jumps on record with NADD, but we've since fallen out of the dock diving game and never pursued finishing the title). Amos competed at the Eukanuba NADD Championships in Orlando, FL in December 2014. We also started dabbling in Barn Hunt with our Golden boys when Amos was around 7 months old, and he quickly passed his RATI instinct test and earned his RATN novice title.
When Amos was about 9 months old, my husband and I decided to sign him up for PVGRC’s beginner field training class (after Glenda Brown suggested giving field work a try with him), which was taught by Sue and Rodger Armstrong. We had zero expectations when entering the class, except to have a little fun. Amos had never even seen a mark before, and to be honest, I didn’t even know what was meant by the term mark! Well, Sue Armstrong quickly told me that my goal of “maybe a WC” wasn’t good enough, and that I needed to take this boy as far as I could. When the class ended, Sue gave me the name of a DVD to buy and the brand of an e-collar she said I needed, and with that, my husband and I force fetched a dog for the first time and started the journey into pile work and transition. We entered Amos in the PVGRC puppy stakes in late summer 2014 where he received 1st place.
Amos went on to earn his JH in April 2015 (going 5-for-5), his WC in April 2015 (passing on the first try), his WCX in September 2015 (passing on the first try), and his SH in October 2015 (going 4-for-4) all before his 2nd birthday. He also passed a second WCX in October 2015 that we entered him in just for fun. At just 24 months of age, two weeks after he earned his SH, Amos entered his first master test (and his mommy and daddy’s first master test! It was not only the first master test we ever entered, but the first master test we ever even watched) and Amos PASSED! He ended up with two MH passes before he turned 25 months old. He has been completely owner trained and handled. We’ve never even worked or trained with a pro (although we have had some coaching and received great training tips from some amazing ladies that are a part of PVGRC). My husband and I both work full-time, and most of the time we train alone, in our 80 feet x 40 feet suburban backyard (yes, our neighbors look at us funny). We are extremely grateful that the Armstrong’s allowed us, along with a group of other amateur women trying to figure out the hunt test game, to use their property once a week to train. There we were able to try out some of those concepts that we were working on in the backyard on a bigger scale. Aside from that one day a week and other training days held by local retriever clubs, we never trained on a larger field. We did not have regular access to water until August 2015, when we lucked into finding a pond 20 minutes from our house that the owners graciously allowed us to pay them to use. And, as luck would have it, that pond had a nice, albeit hilly, field next to it that we were also able to start using. Somehow, Amos just naturally got things. He could take those concepts that he was taught in a tiny backyard and translate them to out in the field. How he didn’t end up with some sort of distance threshold, we have no idea! He handles pressure very well, and is extremely forgiving of all the mistakes his green owner-trainers make along the way.
On May 22, 2016, 13 months after earning his JH and 7 months after completing his SH, Amos became our first Master Hunter! Words cannot express how excited and proud we are! Then, with his Master pass at the PVGRC test on June 5, 2016, Amos earned an invite to the 2016 Master National! Finally, with his Master pass at the Keystone test on June 12, 2016, Amos earned an invite to the first ever Master Amateur to be held in 2017! Our 2016 local hunt test season is officially over (it's too hot to test here in the summer) and Amos finishes with a total of 8 Master passes (4 passes in 4 weeks to close the season).
Additionally, shortly before Amos turned a year old, we began foundation agility classes. Not only had my husband and I never trained a dog for hunt tests, but we never trained a dog for agility before, either. To be honest, I’m not sure why we thought it would be a good idea to try and learn two new dog sports (agility and hunt tests) at the same time. But we started bringing Amos, and his two doggy brothers, to agility classes. Amos’s one instructor swears that he must have been a border collie in a past life since everything about agility came naturally to him. The teeter and contacts? No problem, up and over them he went right away. The weaves? The dog was born knowing how to weave! People ask us all the time what method we used to teach his weaves, and the answer is, there was no method. We taught Amos the correct entry for weaves, and he took it from there. He also naturally follows our body language for cues on crosses and lead changes; he has been formally taught very little. We began trialing in agility in the fall of 2015, after about a year of classes, very casually. Hunt tests were coming first, so we tried to fit agility in whenever we could. The biggest problem Amos has with agility are his green handlers who have no idea what to do with a dog as fast as him. But again, despite our pitfalls, Amos has done very well in the agility ring, quickly earning his Novice titles.
In May 2017, Amos ended the month with an amazing agility weekend! He earned his T2B title and went 7-for-7, earning 2 QQs towards his MACH. Those types of weekends never happen for our little spitfire; we are so thankful to see him maturing and becoming more consistent. In July 2017, Amos earned his MXJ (he already had his MX), making him our first MX MXJ!
Amos has incredible work ethic and loves to train. But, all training, trialing, and testing aside, Amos is a sweet dog that is a blast to live with. There is never a dull moment with Amos around. He’s never met another dog that he didn’t want to be best friends with (he lives with two other intact males and an intact female and we’ve never had even the tiniest of problems). He adores puppies. He is also the cuddliest dog I’ve ever owned. In the evenings he will crawl up into your lap to watch TV and snuggle, and at night he has to sleep in between my husband and I so that he is constantly touching us both throughout the night. He was an extremely easy puppy; never destroyed anything, slept through the night from day one, and very quick to potty train. His only puppyhood challenge was that he was a climber! He would scale to the top of our 4 foot ex-pen and make a flying leap from the top (don't worry, we bought a lid), or climb to the top of sofas and chairs to pounce on his brothers below. But overall, he was such a calm, easy puppy that my husband at one point was worried that Amos wouldn’t be “enough dog” for us! Of course, Amos hit those teenage months and became a little wild child. His off-switch really started to develop at around 18 months, and now he is happy to sleep at our feet or watch the birds and squirrels out the window.
Amos has an easy to care for wash-and-go coat that is basically already dry when he shakes after getting wet. Burrs and seeds easily brush out of his coat after a day in the field. Nothing phases him; he can take a tumble off the teeter or dog walk and just get back up and try again.
Amos passed his CCA on September 18, 2016, which also gives him enough points for his VC. The women of the Chesapeake Golden Retriever Club put on a very smoothly run event, and the judges were wonderful. We had a great time! In January 2017, Amos earned his MX at the Lexington, VA agility trial, which gives him enough points for his VCX! He is our first dog to ever earn a VCX, and we're so proud of all he has accomplished.