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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all just looking for a helpful hint or a point in the right direction.

I have a great dog that is about 1 1/2 now, he is my first waterfowl dog but he is turning out great. He is by no means steady on the shot. (should have done some preventative maintenance during the season but we were having too much fun) But i think he will be ready by spring to do some hunt test. Where should I start with the tests? Should I go straight for master hunter, or get senior first? What about field trials? I know very little about them but it is something I would like to get involved in when he is ready. Oh and what are the different organizations... akc and so on. Does it make a difference?
Let me know what ya think
Brandon
 

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afman87 said:
Hi all just looking for a helpful hint or a point in the right direction.

I have a great dog that is about 1 1/2 now, he is my first waterfowl dog but he is turning out great. He is by no means steady on the shot. (should have done some preventative maintenance during the season but we were having too much fun) But i think he will be ready by spring to do some hunt test. Where should I start with the tests? Should I go straight for master hunter, or get senior first? What about field trials? I know very little about them but it is something I would like to get involved in when he is ready. Oh and what are the different organizations... akc and so on. Does it make a difference?
Let me know what ya think
Brandon
Being new I would join a retriever club and run an AKC JR..Hunt tests are a blast and fun to train for!!! Now,Field Trials you might want to have your dog Pro trained!!!!!
There are many venues but AKC is the only one that shows up directly on the pedigree but you can run NAHRA HRC etc..
 

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I agree with GHD find a local retriever club and join or at least find a local event and go watch. This could tell you where your dog is at. There is night and day between FT and HT. Around here a typical derby ( 2 yrs. old or under ) is going to be 150-300 yd doubles with at least one re-entry. Depending on the judge it may be a 250 yd double with 2-3 re-entries. On the other hand a JR test is going to be 30-75 yd singles with minimal cover. CAUTION it can be addicting but also a blast. Depending on how you have your dog registered the UKC recognizes HRC tests on your pedigree but AKC does not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well he is akc registered and I would like it to show up on his pedigree one day. I found one hunt club that I really like but its a heck of a drive and being in the military its often hard to get the time to drive 3hours then spend a couple hours training or competing then another 3 hour drive.

BTW what is a re-entry?
(Around here a typical derby ( 2 yrs. old or under ) is going to be 150-300 yd doubles with at least one re-entry. Depending on the judge it may be a 250 yd double with 2-3 re-entries.)
Is this for senior or master. Junior is too simple for him. Do you have to get them in order? that might be a dumb question but is there any qualifications to enter senior or master?

Thanks for your help thus far. I cant wait to get out there.
Brandon
 

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A re-entry is where you go in water, land, water,land etc.. It will really test your dogs marking. Junior tests are usually simple but they are not a gimme. I watched a dog 2 weeks ago on land did excellent on both birds. Handler went to hand second bird to judge dog jumped up at bird and grabbed a armful of judge. Sir put your dog on leash and have a nice ride home.
 

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afman,

I must confess I've never entered at HT...only watched. But, to say the JR test is too easy for your dog, which isn't even steady yet, might be a reach. I know the dog doesn't need to be steady in a JR test, but you and the dog need to learn to walk before you run.

Plus, you're not even considering if YOU are ready for the SR, Master test. Ask any seasoned trainer about their first run. I think you and the pup should start out at the JR level.

Good luck to you...

Mike
 

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It's cool you are wanting to do something else with your pup. Tests and Trials can be fun.

None of us know what level your dog is, only you can judge that. We can go by what you have told us though.

First off the steadiness. In HT's that is a very big issue, especially in SH. JH you can hold onto your pup by the collar, so breaking isn't an issue. Senior however, line manners will be judged much stricter. Your dog will have to sit at the line and watch two birds go down. One of the birds, usually the last bird down will be a live duck (or pheasant). That bird can be very close and tempting for even the steadiest of dogs. After you pick up the birds (double), you will run a blind, the blind will be outside the marks and somewhere between 60 and 100yrds usually.

Once you have completed that, you will then do the same scenario on water. In one of the tests you will do a walk-up. That is when you and your dog are walking towards a line, then a bird is thrown and a shot fired. When this happens, you will have to sit your dog, then the other mark will be thrown.

You will also have to do an Honor, your dog will have to sit and watch the birds be thrown for another working dog, without breaking.

Senior isn't tough, but it surely ain't easy.

Derby and Qualify (FT) are going to be a little more leanant on line manners, but not much. The work is difficult at best and the judges will throw some tough stuff at these young dogs. Some of the top up and comers in the country will be in the field and the judges have to separate the dogs any the best way they can. In doing so, it makes it tough on a dog and handler that haven't put the time in. Natural ability only gets you so far in the Derby anymore.

You will never know where you and your dog are at unless you go play. Pick your stake, pay your money and go have fun. Maybe you pass, or maybe you get your butt kicked, but you will more than likely have one heck of a time doing either one. Then, you will have a little more knowledge as to what goes on and what to expect, and you can train accordingly.

Have fun

Josh
 

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Good post Josh

afman - one thing to keep in mind is that the whole test experience is different to the dog. You are in an area with lots of other dogs, people and stuff going. Initially your dog will not be used to this and it can cause problems. Also you get nervous and the dog reads off this. There are holding blinds, multiple guns going off, judges behind the dog, throwers in the field, dog scent from dogs tha t ran before, noisy dogs, grumpy handlers, cans banging etc -- lots of new stuff that can throw a young dog off.

Also some clubs run easy tests and others are very meaty with few dogs even at a JH level making it through.

If you have not run tests start slow and work up. Both you and the dog will benifit. Train to SH run a JH to proof the dog. Train to MH run SH.

Hugh
 

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very good add on Hugh. Test or Trial day is way different than training to the dog and to the handler at that.

The dogs are usually in the truck for a long time and the whole time they are in there, there are guns going off and dogs barking. Then you let them out and there is all kinds of new smells and people everywhere.
 

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Yeah, I will add that you need to start slow, and also realize that hunting and hunt tests or trials are not the same. My dog regularly performs SH level stuff in the field on hunts, but this is A LOT different than a test or trial.

We ran a few JH tests, she walked through one, and blew up on another.

Hunt tests are fun, and a great way to run your dog, but I want to point out that they are not an exact correlation to hunting. I think it is similar to calling contests. The skills necessary for hunt tests and trials are the same as used for hunting, but there is a difference. Hunting is hunting, hunt tests and trials are not.

As an example, I have a buddy with a SH level dog, moving to MH this summer, a very impressive dog. He has trained the heck out of that dog, but hasn't hunted it a lot. This past fall I took him and his dog out for a few field goose hunts. I was not surprised when the first flock came in and his dog pretty much came unglued. I'd like to say my dog Lily was a "cool hand Luke", but she got a little rattled too. However, she has a lot more hunts under her belt than his dog and it showed pretty quickly. My point is, while hunt tests and trials are great, there is nothing like hunting a dog to gain experience.
 

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harvey1b said:
Yeah, I will add that you need to start slow, and also realize that hunting and hunt tests or trials are not the same. My dog regularly performs SH level stuff in the field on hunts, but this is A LOT different than a test or trial.

We ran a few JH tests, she walked through one, and blew up on another.

Hunt tests are fun, and a great way to run your dog, but I want to point out that they are not an exact correlation to hunting. I think it is similar to calling contests. The skills necessary for hunt tests and trials are the same as used for hunting, but there is a difference. Hunting is hunting, hunt tests and trials are not.

As an example, I have a buddy with a SH level dog, moving to MH this summer, a very impressive dog. He has trained the heck out of that dog, but hasn't hunted it a lot. This past fall I took him and his dog out for a few field goose hunts. I was not surprised when the first flock came in and his dog pretty much came unglued. I'd like to say my dog Lily was a "cool hand Luke", but she got a little rattled too. However, she has a lot more hunts under her belt than his dog and it showed pretty quickly. My point is, while hunt tests and trials are great, there is nothing like hunting a dog to gain experience.
Very well said. I agree 100%.
 

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Great post for sure: While reading the entire thread I kept thinking to myself - dang; hunting and HT are too different animals. While hunting this past season, I started leaning to areas on my lease that lent itself more to HT conditions vs. standing in flooded timber where the birds might come from who knows what direction. . . It still left Jaz with a lot of bad habits that need correction before going back into the HT; however, that's up to the trainer now.

HEY AFMAN87 - why not post us a good pic of your buddy?
 

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ACEBLDRS said:
It's cool you are wanting to do something else with your pup. Tests and Trials can be fun.

None of us know what level your dog is, only you can judge that. We can go by what you have told us though.

First off the steadiness. In HT's that is a very big issue, especially in SH. JH you can hold onto your pup by the collar, so breaking isn't an issue. Senior however, line manners will be judged much stricter. Your dog will have to sit at the line and watch two birds go down. One of the birds, usually the last bird down will be a live duck (or pheasant). That bird can be very close and tempting for even the steadiest of dogs. After you pick up the birds (double), you will run a blind, the blind will be outside the marks and somewhere between 60 and 100yrds usually.

Once you have completed that, you will then do the same scenario on water. In one of the tests you will do a walk-up. That is when you and your dog are walking towards a line, then a bird is thrown and a shot fired. When this happens, you will have to sit your dog, then the other mark will be thrown.

You will also have to do an Honor, your dog will have to sit and watch the birds be thrown for another working dog, without breaking.

Senior isn't tough, but it surely ain't easy.

Derby and Qualify (FT) are going to be a little more leanant on line manners, but not much. The work is difficult at best and the judges will throw some tough stuff at these young dogs. Some of the top up and comers in the country will be in the field and the judges have to separate the dogs any the best way they can. In doing so, it makes it tough on a dog and handler that haven't put the time in. Natural ability only gets you so far in the Derby anymore.

You will never know where you and your dog are at unless you go play. Pick your stake, pay your money and go have fun. Maybe you pass, or maybe you get your butt kicked, but you will more than likely have one heck of a time doing either one. Then, you will have a little more knowledge as to what goes on and what to expect, and you can train accordingly.

Have fun

Josh
That right there pretty much answers his question completely - reread this and figure out where you need to start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well all things considered I think I will start with JH maybe it is too easy for duke but all that can happen is I can waist a day. Looking at it now he hasn't been ranged out to 200+ yds yet so that aspect might be difficult for him. I am a new trainer and a slightly over ambitious one at that, so the JH might be humbling to me.

Well that being said, what things should I train on to prepare for this? I will have to try a couple reentries. Although i believe he will have no problem with this. Other than that. What are some common mistakes that a little training can avoid?

Thanks again for your help and hope to see some of you at the tests.
Brandon
 

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afman87,

Below is a link to a recent thread that might be helpful. The guys' posts helped me reset my expectations a little on the JH passes cause I was considering skipping that JH test and work on going to the SH pass this spring.

But for many of the reasons stated in this post and the link provided...getting through the JH first has a lot of merit including the notion that you want to be training for a level higher than your testing.

Here's what I believe your dog has to be SOLID on before you are gonna get the JH passes:

* Steady on shot
* Marking and retrieves to 100 yards (land and water and some transition cover in between like a creek or ditch) I've seen this confuse dogs on a simple mark.
* Delivery to hand (hold the bird ALL the way to you until you take it. That should include to heel or front delivery)
* Honoring (to the extent that your dog sits and behaves while other dogs are working retrieves)
* I personally wouldn't run the JH test if I had to hold the collar at the line to keep steady
* Experience picking up any bird, including nasty waterlogged old ducks (I have seen young dogs refuse these)
* Delivery STRAIGHT back to you with some intensity (no lolly gagging back on the retrieve)
* The ability to line and send on multiple marks (2) without confusion.

Somebody may have some things to add but that's my list on where the dog should be to likely get the passes for a JH title.

Hope that helps!

http://www.duckhuntingchat.com/viewtopi ... sc&start=0
 

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Great post HNTFSH. . . . and to hit on the point that JH is no walk in the park, Lily will do your list in a hunt situation without hesitation. Get in the test environment that ACEBLDRS describes, with all the dogs, smells, people, ducks, and other distractions she doesn't do nearly as well.

For this reason I think we are going to run a few tests this summer. They may not be an exact replication of a hunt scenario, but they are fun and they get force your dog to perform under pressure and with LOTS of distractions. This experience is great training for any gun dog :thumbsup:
 
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