Race after race was blown up and the culprits were my top two dogs. They were great ARHA Little Pack competition dogs. Both were capable of winning any hunt. BUT, together they couldn't circle a rabbit. Jump after jump ended in a lost rabbit. When they did run it was from check to check to check to loss.
Last winter I finally had enough. I needed to do something because I couldn't stand to run my dogs. Plus, my trial dogs needed to get in the groove. The World Hunt was just months away. I decided the only solution was to focus only on them. So for six weeks, I spent all my time bracing my two "best" dogs. The only pressure they faced was from each other.
Both dogs were really good jump dogs, so every time I ran a chase started quickly with a jump. They would run as hard as they could physically run for 100 yards. Then there would be a long check. Somewhere between 30 and 100 yards from the check area, one would grab the check and fly. Within seconds, he would overrun and there would be another check. This went on for another check or two and then rabbit would be lost.
No problem though--within minutes another rabbit would be jumped and away they would go. Then there would be a check. One would grab the check and fire away, until the rabbit turned. Then there would be another check. And then after a check or two there would be another loss. And on and on and on and neither dog would ever honor his bracemate and run behind.
After an hour or two of this the two dogs would get sick of each other. They would not even hark in to the other dog. Each would run their own rabbit. When they did this, each would run and run and run, hardly ever having checks. Eventually they would get back together which led to another lost rabbit. Then they would find their own rabbit and run again.
After a while, I got so fed up with lost rabbits and short chases that I sold one of the dogs. I thought if the one I liked the best could be the alpha male he would do better. Unfortunately this didn't work out like I planned. No matter what I ran him with, as soon as a dog put pressure on him, he would just run to stay on the front. After a while I sold him too. Both are good Little Pack competition dogs. Neither are worth a nickel if you put pressure on them.
My intention in writing this isn't to slam these dogs or ARHA Little Pack. However, in my mind LP really isn't looking for the best pack dog. It really isn't trying to find the best gundog. Too many people think fast or front means better. To me, the chases I am having now without long checks and lost rabbits are so much better. I still plan to compete in LP and think my dogs will be competitive. Regardless though, I don't miss my two "best" dogs.
Image from http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Lost-Rabbit_Madison_MS