Hunt test washout or common sense retrieving ?

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Hunt test washout or common sense retrieving ?

Postby aaron » Sat Jan 15, 2005 8:44 pm

I had a situation happen today that was a reminder of a question I have been meaning to ask you more in-the-know types out there .

I shot a beautiful mallard drake today, I made what I thought was a solid hit but he still had enough steam to carry himself 50-60 yds. further . So he went down about 100 yards or so total from where I was at. My dog was not able to mark the retrieve as he was on the other side of a large berm making another retrieve. No big deal,I thought ,I'll just line him up and send him on his way. Now, I THOUGHT I saw the bird go down in the pasture of high sage grass and I used a tree in the field as a reference point of where to line my dog. My dog took off like a shot only before he got to the reference he veered off so he was running like I had given a left cast. I stopped him ,right casted to get him back on line, then gave him the back command . He acted like he was to accept the back command and then headed in the same direction that I had stopped from going in the first place. This routine continued for several minutes before I finally just let him go. Sure enough !!! That mallard had hit the ground running and had made it an additional 50 yards from where I Thought he would be laying. The dog could smell where the bird had gone ,yet I was trying to cast him in a different direction and so he was refusing the cast .
I have seen this in him before ,especially in the dove fields.

Now here is my question; in light of my dog being smarter than me :toofunny: , how would this have been percieved had thid been a hunt test ?Yes,the dog was refusing an order but he was doing it because he knew why he was out there in the first place. I mean ,I hope to hunt test him this spring and I'm not sure what to expect. Is this something you guys think I should correct ? :help:
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Postby gsphunter » Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:05 pm

This is where "hunt" test and hunting get different. The dog did his job by retrieving the duck, but did not comply with a command. I'm not sure if you would be penalized or not to tell you the truth. I don't know if you are an amateur or more advanced trainer, but I will offer this bit of advice. Let your dog work unless he gets way of line. Don't over handle him.
Just some thoughts. Sorry I can't answer your questions about being penalized in retriever trials.
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:05 pm

In my opinion, in the context of hunt tests...

The answer is yes, it is something you WILL want to correct before you hunt test him. A mark is a mark and the dog is supposed to be smarter than you. On a blind, you might have been sending him towards a different bird, or he might have had a visual on a poison bird. He should obey your hand signals no matter what and go to the area/direction you instruct.

In the context of what actually happened...

That is awesome!
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Jan 16, 2005 1:15 pm

Hunt Tests and Hunting DO differ, but if you look at this aside from the context in which it actually happened then you can see the Hunt Test side of it. Sure, the dog knew where THIS bird was at, and everything was cool because he made the retrieve. But what if this had been a blind retrieve in a crowded PUBLIC hunting bottoms. Let's say the blind that is 200 yards away also shot a duck that is laying belly up in the water right in front of their blind. The bird you shot is 200 yards in the opposite direction. You send the dog on a line and in the process he catches sight of the duck down in front of the next blind. You keep trying to cast him in the other direction and he doesn't listen and continues on to THEIR duck.

Like I said, in the context of the purist the dog should ALWAYS obey. What happened is great, but the dog was fortunate that he happened to be right.

Just my opinion...
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Postby aaron » Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:22 pm

Steve ,
Do you know where I can find info as far as what the context of hunt tests consist of ?
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:33 pm

"I'll start spending less time with my dog and more with my wife when she starts fetching ducks for me"
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Postby SteveInTN » Sun Jan 16, 2005 3:34 pm

Different clubs setup different Hunt Tests, but they must follow those guidelines. You'll hear of clubs that setup 'goofy', 'stupid', or 'difficult' tests. You'll usually hear that for Master though.
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Postby Gordy » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:05 pm

You have just encountered the difference between Hunting and Testing. The only time you will come across anything close to what you experienced in the field is at the Master or Finished level. Even at that, it would be quite different, most likely a poison bird blind. The dog sees a mark go down, but before you can pick it up you have to run a blind. Your dog may encounter bird crate scent or drag back scent, which most certainly can cause problems, but both the AKC and HRC frown on trick tests.
Tests should be set up to match the "Standard" for the level of the dogs being tested. That is, Jr. tests should stay within the standard, Sr. within the standard and Master within the standard.
Excessive cast refusals will get you dropped. Excessive at the Master level could be as few as 3. I doubt that you will encounter anything exactly like what you saw in the field.
From my personal experience of 30+ yrs of duck hunting and training retrievers, while hunting, unless I am 100% positive I know exactly where the bird is, I let the pup do his own thing.
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Postby aaron » Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:43 pm

See that's what I'm saying , how close should the test and the hunt match up ? I mean during pointer trials, do the handlers guide the dogs to where they should be finding birds or let the dogs do it ? I thought these tests were orchestrated to test the dog 's natural ability thus seperating from those bred for the show ring . Or is it a test for the trainer ?


Steve, I can appreciate the point you made in regard to the dog retrieving another blind's bird, but I gotta say the more I think about it the more disgruntled I am becoming at the hunt test concept.

If you want to test the trainer,then look into the field trials. :thumbsdown:
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Postby Gordy » Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:09 pm

aaron, it would be nice to someway truly simulate a hunt, but unfortunately that is impossible. First and foremost, Hunt Tests are dog games, yes we are testing natural and taught abilities, but when all is said and done, it is a dog game.
Hunt Test as in real hunting, do demostrate natuaral ability, Marks and teamwork, Blinds.
For most hunters that get involved in the game, it becomes a passion, just like hunting.
Go into it realizing that it is a game, learn how to play and have fun. Just because a dog is successful at HT's does not make it a great hunting dog and inversely, a great hunting dog may not be successful at HT's. In both cases this is not really a reflection on the dog, more so the training. A dog has to be trained to play and learn how to compete in HT's.A dog has to train and learn how to hunt.
To be good at either, takes team work and dedication.
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Postby SteveInTN » Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:17 pm

Aaron, I do see your point, and I totally understand. Most of the guys I spent my early training with do almost nothing but hunt test. Me, I'm more concerned at how the dog performs in the field/blind. Now if I were going to breed my dog, I would be concerned with the Hunt Test. Tests and actual Hunting will NEVER match up. Tests by nature are controlled environments, actual hunting is exactly the opposite. You just have to come to terms with that and decide if it is for you.

But that still doesn't address the root of the situation. In essence, you are were asking if it is okay to let the dogs natural abilities trump the handler. While you might have the luxury to hunt in conditions where this is possible the majority of the time, there could always come a day when you don't want the dog to think. In MY MIND, the ideal way that retrieve would have gone would have been like this:

* You send him on the blind
* When you gave him the OVER you could tell he didn't agree with you, but he complied anyway
* When you had handled him into the area you thought the bird was in, he obliged and hunted it for awhile.
* You, recognizing his initial reaction to the cast, allow him to stray back to the direction he was thinking
* He showed you how smart he was by finding the bird

Either way it is rewarding to discover your dog is smarter at the game than you. It PROBABLY won't always be the case, and having him be as obedient as he is savy will make you BOTH happier in the long run. All it takes is one time that he is wrong and he'll be a knucklehead again. You are allowed multiple mistakes!

:laughing:

At least that is my opinion...
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Postby aaron » Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:31 pm

Steve & Gordy,

May I just say, very well said to the both of you and your recommendations as well as insight will be taken into condideration in how I work my dogs.

Never the less ,it still bothers me to think that a system that was set up to differeniate the show ring from the field ends up being a test of the trainer. Especially when I have a great dog I do intend to breed , but because of my learning curve as a trainer may not carry that little mark on his pedigree. I don't know. The really bad part is... neither one of us has ever been to a hunt test.
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Postby gsphunter » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:46 am

aaron
I would advise that you go to the hunt test. Run in them and just see how you do. You could surprise yourself and they are probably alot of fun. I can't wait to run my shorthair in the UPT and UT test in the NAVHDA system. I'm not overly concerned that she get a Prize 1 or anything because she works for me how I want her to work. Just something for me to do in the off season and meet with guys and girls with similar interests.
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HRC rules

Postby misrebel » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:19 pm

aaron,
Here's the link for the rules for HRC hunt test rules...

http://ukcdogs.com/hr/rules/index.shtml
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Postby aaron » Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:03 pm

Thank you !!!
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