This image might better be entitled "A Man And His Client's Dog".

This is Keith Hartley of Cedar Ridge Retrievers in Longview, Washington. He offers obedience for all outdoor dogs, gun dogs and AKC hunt test competition. I have never seen him show up to a training day with less than a dozen dogs or so to work.

This image captures a moment when he and his dog are at rest and doing what is called "honoring", in which he and the dog quietly observe other dogs taking their turn at the line.

Honoring is a major component to Senior- and Master Hunter tests. By the time a dog and handler are ready for the Senior series of tests, the dog is expected to honor quietly while another dog runs the first mark or blind of that particular portion of the test. If the dog "breaks" the honor and goes after a mark that was intended for another dog, he and his handler are automatically and immediately dismissed and forfeit their run as well as all entry fees.

The reason that the honor is such a vitally important aspect of retriever training is because in addition to trainers not wanting their dog to be an embarrassment, contribute to an atmosphere of chaos that can easily be generated by a dog out of control, and to throw his time and money down the drain, by the same token no hunter wants his dog blasting out of the blind to pick up birds that aren't his own.

A few days ago I posted an image that I called "Waiting Game" in which an amateur handler is standing at honor with a very young dog. This image is from the same training day, rendered in B&W because the yellow dog was more visible in the gold tones of the grass stubble. Katie almost disappears in the color versions no matter what I tried. By the time I made her pop out the image had started to look artificial and contrived, but it converted very nicely to mono, I think.

I have given this image the title shown because gaining honor is actually what is happening at each stage of dog training. As a dog advances in obedience and becomes more trustworthy, he is afforded more trust and recognition for his abilities, and at the same time his handler also gains a more honorable reputation.

That being said, Keith is one of the most honorable men I know, on and off the field. Truly a very capable and talented dog trainer, and a decent human being.

He has very graciously given me permission to post this image.

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