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SueLab
06-07-2004, 06:30 AM
Just a note to say thanks to all of the members of the Sooner RC and those judges who participated this past weekend at their HT (our first trip to Ok.) Everyone was so nice...your club is one I would join in an instant!

Even with the large entries, the event was well planned and proceeded without a hitch. IMHO, the master tests were representative of what master tests should be with really challenging bird placement both for the marks and the blinds. (I love a test that determines the qualifier ... either the dog and handler team can do it or they can't).

Thanks for a great test and fun weekend!

Nancy (& Suzie) from Texas

K G
06-07-2004, 07:35 AM
SueLab wrote:


...the master tests were representative of what master tests should be with really challenging bird placement both for the marks and the blinds. (I love a test that determines the qualifier ... either the dog and handler team can do it or they can't).

That's great news Sue. You just hit on the #1 thing that could improve the quality of the AKC HT program, raise the esteem of the title "MH" to a deserving level, and help put the Master National back on solid ground without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Kudos to those judges! :D !

Did you run in Master A or B?

Keith Griffith

Steve Bean
06-07-2004, 09:53 AM
SueLab wrote:


...the master tests were representative of what master tests should be with really challenging bird placement both for the marks and the blinds. (I love a test that determines the qualifier ... either the dog and handler team can do it or they can't).


That's great news Sue. You just hit on the #1 thing that could improve the quality of the AKC HT program, raise the esteem of the title "MH" to a deserving level, and help put the Master National back on solid ground without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Kudos to those judges! :D !
Keith Griffith

That all sounds good, but still ambiguous. It still is wide open for interpetation ....and still seems to promote setting up tests to fail dogs, not measure a standard.

K G
06-07-2004, 11:07 AM
Steve Bean wrote:


That all sounds good, but still ambiguous. It still is wide open for interpetation ....and still seems to promote setting up tests to fail dogs, not measure a standard.

For the first time in a long time, I just really don't know how to answer that....I...just don't....

Are you saying that if a fair, straightforward test is set up that a dog will either fail or pass (you know you did it or you didn't do it when you leave the line), that it's set up to fail dogs and not measure them to the Standard for the level they are running?

'Cause I didn't get that at all from SueLab's post...or your initial comment, "That all sounds good...."

Keith Griffith

Steve Bean
06-07-2004, 12:50 PM
Sue's initial comment on the MH test quality is her own personal opinion. It neither says the test was too extreme, one way or the other, only that as one came from the line you 'knew' if you did it or not. To me that is saying you either scored a '0' or a '7' or '10' (pick a number). If that is the criteria, you do the job or not, we don't need judges, just someone to stand there and say pass or fail. It is not what Sue said as much as what can be inferred from "they can do it or they can't". Isn't that the bottom line for all tests? The question is was that a legitimate MH test? Since Sue saw it, she is in the best position to say so, but it would depend on the dogs that ran, the mix so to speak.

Having discussed HT with you for a number of years, I think I know where you are coming from, and you certainly understand the differences in the games. I just get the feeling that too many people think that if you set up a test with keyhole blinds, "you must touch the point blinds", a hip pocket type mark, and a resulting failure of quality hunting dogs, you had a great Master test. You also stated that the MH has to be elevated to a deserving level, inferring that it hasn't been.

SueLab
06-07-2004, 05:25 PM
Gee Golly! The point of the post was:
1. The Sooner Club did a great job and I among others appreciated all of their work.
2. I felt like I really EARNED the pass...the test was extremely challenging, it tested marking ability with great bird placement and no splashing birds...The triples were about 100 degrees from left to right. The blinds were straightforward....yes, one was down a shore and required your dog to not suck in or to handle away from the shore...the second water blind was across 2 points and required either the dog taking a straight line or being able to cast off points and not run the shoreline (which was not the correct line to the blind). The land blind required control to get the dog through and opening which was the straight line to the blind.
3. Although I am opinionated, I REALLY didn't make the post to start another argument.
4. If I had failed, at least, I would have known where I failed and what to do to improve! (This can't be said for some tests that I have run)
5. The test also required that the handler make good decisions and work as a team with the dog...the whole point...again my opinion.

SueLab
06-07-2004, 05:28 PM
Both Samlab (this team passed also) and I were in Master B which by the way passed 16 of 50 dogs. Have not heard how Master A faired but we flip flopped the first two series with some minor adjustments. The adjustments didn't make the the series any easier...just different...

Actually, I think it would be pretty nice to not have judges "use the pencil or pencil whipping the entrants to get the numbers down." to determine passes...that does not mean that all dogs did it perfectly as you are implying!

K G
06-07-2004, 08:30 PM
I'm not sure I got an answer to this:


Are you saying that if a fair, straightforward test is set up that a dog will either fail or pass (you know you did it or you didn't do it when you leave the line), that it's set up to fail dogs and not measure them to the Standard for the level they are running?

If there was an answer and I missed it, I apologize...please point it out to me.


Steve Bean wrote:


The question is was that a legitimate MH test? Since Sue saw it, she is in the best position to say so, but it would depend on the dogs that ran, the mix so to speak.

So...what are you saying here by the part in italics and bold type? The dogs determine the kind of test the judges set up? No, NO, 1000 times NO! The owners/handlers can enter whatever level they choose regardless, whether their dog is ready for that level or not. We test to the level that the test requires, not to the dogs entered in that level. If someone has entered their just-titled Senior dog in Master and he can't count to three, he's probably not ready to run Master just yet. You don't dumb down or lessen the level of testing because some dogs, "the dogs that ran, the mix so to speak," are not ready for that level...and you can't know that until you see them run. If they aren't ready to run at that level, that's not the judge's fault.


Steve Bean wrote:


You also stated that the MH has to be elevated to a deserving level, inferring that it hasn't been.

Well, that was close! :wink: ! Here's what I wrote:


You just hit on the #1 thing that could improve the quality of the AKC HT program, raise the esteem of the title "MH" to a deserving level, and help put the Master National back on solid ground without a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I'm talking about what it means to have the title "Master Hunter" after a dog's name and what it should say about that dog and the AKC HT program.

My whole point with my first post to SueLab was that it sounded to me like they had run the kind of test a Master dog ought to have to run. That's all. After looking up the two judges that judged her in Master B, I can see why she felt that way.


If that is the criteria, you do the job or not, we don't need judges, just someone to stand there and say pass or fail. It is not what Sue said as much as what can be inferred from "they can do it or they can't". Isn't that the bottom line for all tests?

Seems to me you may have taken that first part a bit too literally. The regs/guidelines give us a lot of leeway when we judge. The tighter they get, the more we become like the scorekeepers you suggest. As for the bottom line of all tests, I wish it were "they can do it or they can't." Sue said it best:


4. If I had failed, at least, I would have known where I failed and what to do to improve! (This can't be said for some tests that I have run)


That is the biggest complaint I still hear and have heard for the past 10 years about hunting test judging. We didn't hear that on this post...that is why I'm happy about this situation!

Keith Griffith

Steve Bean
06-07-2004, 10:44 PM
First to SueLab...as I stated, you tested and are in the best position to have an opinion about the test you ran. No argument from me on that point. I'm glad you passed, just wondering if the majority who ran the test feel the same way, that's all. I also think it is nice that you complimented the hosting club. I really don't have any issue with what you said other than wondering about the general consensus of the others.

Now for each slice of the pie Keith has cut out.
1. fair straightforward test. I am saying it is never that simple. Some dogs fail because they didn't complete the series... On the other end some slam-dunk it. It's the in-between dogs that don't know. That's why when you walk away you might be bleeding, but there other series to run. That's why there are judges, paper, pencil, and total scores. I think judging to the point of picking up the birds or not is a cop-out for judges....there is no judging. People always talk about hating to pencil a dog out..or in. Sorry folks, that's what judging is. IMO if you don't like it, don't do it. But isn't that why the guidelines are in place? Yes, some dogs will flunk themselves, but if they a deficient in an area, no matter that it is subjective, and the judges cumulative score fails the dog, so be it. I think this is especially true at the Master level.

2. Mix of dogs....boy that's a real pet peeve. I have always been just as willing to pass or fail them all, at any level. And it is not based on grading of the 'curve'. These are standards, an expectation of a finished hunting dog. If a realistic hunting scenerio is set up, then judge each dog against the standard, not some arbritary %. Especially as SueLab stated to .."get the percentages down." I don't know if 16 dogs out of 50 was good for this field or not. What if every dog in the Master test was titled? Does that mean we still can't have but X% passing? Sure some will fail, but if it is a fair test, I would expect the majority of dogs to pass. If they are all new SH running their first MH, they may all fail. Notice I DID NOT say you judge on the curve....never was my intention.

3. raise the esteem, I'm sorry maybe I misunderstood 'raise'. That means to elevate from a lower level. Have you felt the MH hasn't been what it should be? It certainly seems higher now than I think it was ever intended to be. This is an altogether different tangent. As you know, the HT was for the hunter who trained his own dog, and acheived various levels of ability. Each year, my guess, is fewer and fewer dogs reach the SH and especially the MH level without pro influence. Would be a nice study. Certainly the first time dog owner doesn't have a prayer to get to the MH level without that help. More so now than ever before. IMO the MN has only exacerbated that problem as some tests now try and re-invent the FT.

Keith Griffith said:
"Seems to me you may have taken that first part a bit too literally. The regs/guidelines give us a lot of leeway when we judge. The tighter they get, the more we become like the scorekeepers you suggest. As for the bottom line of all tests, I wish it were "they can do it or they can't." "

I don't understand the "tighter they get"

Finally, the point of your being happy about this situation.
This may be a point to be elated about, or it may not. You heard from one person, who passed the test that was happy. All I'm saying is that before you give your stamp of approval, and back same with your considerable influence, you need more feedback. Please don't take offense by my saying that, it's just that this could have been the mother of all Master tests and everyone is saying Keith said this is what they should be now. Or, on the other hand, it could have been a cakewalk and they were all SH that were entered.

K G
06-07-2004, 11:20 PM
Steve Bean wrote:


That's why when you walk away you might be bleeding, but there other series to run. That's why there are judges, paper, pencil, and total scores. I think judging to the point of picking up the birds or not is a cop-out for judges....there is no judging.

Perhaps this is communication issue. When suelab said "test" I took it to mean the whole test from start to finish, not just a series or a setup. Yes, multiple scores/series make up a "test."


I have always been just as willing to pass or fail them all, at any level.

As we all should be if we understand the concept of judging to a Standard! :wink: !


What if every dog in the Master test was titled? Does that mean we still can't have but X% passing? Sure some will fail, but if it is a fair test, I would expect the majority of dogs to pass.

If they do the work, they pass. If not, they don't...MH title or no MH title. Now, that said, in theory you should expect an above average number of MH titled dogs to pass any given Master test. However, every dog can have a meltdown on any given day, just like any dog can shine on any given day. My Standard is to judge what I see, not what I think, and let the chips fall where they may, percentages be d*mned.


Have you felt the MH hasn't been what it should be? It certainly seems higher now than I think it was ever intended to be.

IMHO, it's never been as high as it should have been. When I hear someone say, "I'm going to breed to 'Red Rover Come Over, MH', he's the hottest thing since sliced bread," then I'll know the MH title means something. When the testing to the Standard becomes the rule rather than the exception, then it'll be where it's supposed to be.


Each year, my guess, is fewer and fewer dogs reach the SH and especially the MH level without pro influence.

IMHO, that is the choice of the owner, not the handler. The "hunter that trains his own dog" doesn't much do that any more, yet those folks have created an industry (pro trainers) to do the job for them largely because the game has become so popular. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), our economy and our lifestyles afford us the ability to make that choice with the future of the HT game being way down the list in order of concerns. The HT game is bigger than it's ever been....the FT game is bigger than its ever been....I know there are negatives involved with both, but it beats the heck out of them shrinking due to inactivity or disinterest.


I don't understand the "tighter they get"

In that context, I meant the regs/guidelines. The more things are spelled out (if the regs/guidelines said "marks shall not exceed 100 yds...a creep shall be considered to be a break in master"...etc.), the more mechanical this game will get and those scorekeepers you opined about will become a reality....I for one have no interest in becoming a scorekeeper. I know you don't either.


This may be a point to be elated about, or it may not. You heard from one person, who passed the test that was happy. All I'm saying is that before you give your stamp of approval, and back same with your considerable influence, you need more feedback. Please don't take offense by my saying that, it's just that this could have been the mother of all Master tests and everyone is saying Keith said this is what they should be now. Or, on the other hand, it could have been a cakewalk and they were all SH that were entered.

I hold no more sway than any other one person here, Steve....and we've known each other too long for you to offend me with stuff like this! :D !

I've seen suelab post. She don't BS. She's straight up...and based on some of the test topics that have come up, I felt compelled to comment positively. God knows I'd do the same negatively if the situation warranted it...go back and check out the strings about the Coastal Bend (TX) Master tests back in March and you'll see what I mean...and it ain't just me. Anyway, that comment was not made in cavalier fashion. I understand what you meant. If I felt I couldn't comment intelligently, I wouldn't have....most times... :wink: !

Keith Griffith

SueLab
06-08-2004, 07:24 AM
Mix of dogs....boy that's a real pet peeve. I have always been just as willing to pass or fail them all, at any level. I don't know if 16 dogs out of 50 was good for this field or not. What if every dog in the Master test was titled? If they are all new SH running their first MH, they may all fail.

Actually, I tried to count those MH's running in our group...I came up with about 15...however, the current title isn't always listed...so I am guessing the number was higher (one of the last tests to qualify for MN in this area). Many of the failing dogs did so because the handler did not handle when necessary on the blinds and let their dogs get into big trouble on some marks. Saw one whose dog failed because it's handler just wasn't into the game. One pro had his dogs that had just completed their SH in this test and I think some did pass.

SueLab
06-08-2004, 07:32 AM
For some reason, I can't post this all at once...


"Certainly the first time dog owner doesn't have a prayer to get to the MH level without that (pro) help. More so now than ever before. IMO the MN has only exacerbated that problem as some tests now try and re-invent the FT."

Well, I have a real problem with this and don't believe it! I am female, 56, and only train after work & on weekends. This is my first competitive field dog. Granted... she is talented & is limited by MY abilities. I have had about 3 pro lessons on issues that I didn't understand how to train but all of the training was done by me the rank amateur (I have competed in obedience many years ago so had a little step up on the process).

I also have a great training group with experience & belong to a club that sponsors training seminars (Evan Graham & Don Romein this past year). It is THIS support that enables the first time hunt tester to succeed. In addition, there is so much information out there in the form of books and tapes. It can be done...but it requires work!

SueLab
06-08-2004, 07:43 AM
Final comment:

The MH competitor is foolish to not train for a level above what he/she might think will be presented on any weekend. I think some do not do that and then are angry because they are not ready.

I maintain the club's website. I also have a page that lists passes and titles. 3 years ago, the highest level of amateur trained dog was JH (and some of those were at a pro). Now, we have between 8-10 dogs going for the SH title and completely amateur trained. The club also has several MH dogs trained by amateurs. I anticipate that some of these current SH's dogs and handlers will definitely try the MH level...a good thing for the sport!

It is a great hobby! I am not anti-pro and have definitely benefited from their experience and consider some to be great friends. Don Romein said it best at the seminar he did for our club "There are no secrets here" (in regard to how to train).

Lady Duck Hunter
06-08-2004, 07:55 AM
I'd like to step in here to vouch for Suelabs. I have watch as she has developed herself into a very competant handler with this dog. And Susie - the dog not the handler- is a hard dog to handle because she is so very quick, if you have a second of delay in deciding to blow the whistle or not, she can be in big trouble.

Suelabs has taken advantage of every learning tool at her disposal and has open-mindedly listened to advice given freely by her peers, training group, judges, and seminar leaders.

So it is possible for a first time amateur handler to get there, but you have to be willing to focus on the goal and admit that you don't know it all.

Steve Bean
06-08-2004, 09:55 AM
Suelab, I do hope you realize in no way was I being critical of your post, nor your success. Congratulations are in order. I am just one of those that feels that HT are rapidly emulating FT, especially with an air of competitiveness. It is more difficult now to achieve the MH; and an amateur can certainly do so, but it takes a lot of time and effort, nothing wrong with that. I would just hate to see the HT become more out of reach for the average hunter/dog owner. I know where we were 15 years ago and where we are now. From a practical standpoint, I hope it doesn't change as much in the next 15 years.

SueLab
06-08-2004, 10:27 AM
No, I don't feel that way at all.

I do wish that I had participated in this sport for a long time and because I have not, my perspective is not the same as someone who has been in it from the beginning. Don't know if that is good or bad.

Good lively discussion is fair game and perhaps, everyone gets something out of it! In this world of political correctness...I like to communicate with people who are not afraid to speak their minds! (At least then, there is no question as to what is really in that person's mind.)

Lady Duck Hunter
06-08-2004, 10:33 AM
I just ran through the list of passes in Suelab's flight and there were 6 of the 16 qualifying scores that went to dogs handled by their amateur owners. I couldn't tell you how many are first timers but I know that there were at least a couple.

Another interesting fact, 3 of those amateurs are women. And three of the amateurs run DOTLs (Dogs other than labs - can I get a copyright on that abreviation?). There was a Golden and 2 Flatcoats that Qualified with their amateur owner handlers.

SueLab
06-08-2004, 10:37 AM
How many passed in the other flight?

Lady Duck Hunter
06-08-2004, 10:49 AM
I think they took 20 to the last series and I saw a few getting dropped there. So they probably ended up with about the same number of ribbons handled out but started with 4 or 5 more dogs (because of scratches).

They changed the wipeout/breaking bird to just a left hand mark that angled back from the winger station and ran the marks in the order that you said you'd run them.

3 dog knight
06-09-2004, 10:04 AM
I would just hate to see the HT become more out of reach for the average hunter/dog owner. Steve, so what you are saying is that having an MH behind your dogs name means you have an average huntin' dog? The average hunter probably has a Junior dog, with some work and knowledge that average hunter could get their dog doing Senior work, but I don't think "Master Hunter" was meant to mean "the average huntin' dog".

3DK

Steve Bean
06-09-2004, 12:23 PM
3DK....and 3 Dog Night is a country band :!: No I didn't say that at all. IMO and I think the original intention of HT was to promote and encourage the average hunter to get interested in the retriever games and through time and training eventually title a proven performer. There is a big difference in average hunter and average dog. In fact, my guess is there are fewer hunters involved now with HT as a %, then years ago. Oddly enough, FT started out much the same way, except they were looking for the best performer. As things have progressed, HT have become much more complicated at the MH level. I don't think that the hunting has changed, nor the requirements to be a Master level dog, but the American Way begs for bigger, better, best, competiiton, etc, and IMO this has changed test judging to a higher level, thus, just maybe discouraging new people, especially those that hunt from jumping in if the bar is continued to be raised.

I'm not saying HT is a bad game, it seems to me it is re-inventing the wheel that FT did. Fortunately the 100yd limit is usually adhered to, or who knows where we would be.

KPR's Texas Retrievers
06-09-2004, 08:20 PM
First I to want to thank the Soon RC for an excellent run event. Everything was organized and functioned well.

This is from one who attended and participated in the event. SueLabs is correct the test was for MASTER dogs. If you were not there to see the tests then there is no way you can realize what this lady has said. That's not meant as a demeaning remark, just the truth. By no means was any of the three tests a give me nor were the unfair. Marks and blind placements was very good, no excellent. Marks and blind distances were reasonable for the grounds on which we were running on and were for MASTER dogs. The handler and his dog did have to work as a true team. As far as knowing if you passed or failed before you left the line, you didn't have to be told by the judges the work of you and your dog told the whole story. My hats off to the judges in both flights as I know they had to have worked together to establish tests as those. Way to go lady and gentlemen.

Emily Faith
06-10-2004, 11:01 AM
Ken,
Congrats on the Master pass with your Jamie daughter! Also, congrats on her HRCH and SH titles--if I am not mistaken, she got them both before she turned 2. Looked like she gave it a mighty good effort at the Grand for such a youngster as well. Can you tell that I try to keep up with my grandpups? Way to go and good luck in her future tests and trials!
Emily Faith

Tim S.
06-10-2004, 05:42 PM
For what it is worth, my comments are based on some of the text that caught my eye. I can see both points. Sue, teamwork was great, you did a very nice job. Not taking anything away from any other handler, some were prepared some were not. Unfortunately you never know if you are when you go to the line. Sometimes you think you are, but hey they’re only dogs! I ran the test dog and knew she could do the work and she did (we won’t count the third blind J), passed two out of three entered.

If you train a couple times a week and maybe on the weekend sometimes you end up on the short end of the stick. However, was the game created for the average dog and an average handler, maybe. Was this test set up for above average dogs? I don’t think so. But with time everything evolves. Good judges are usually involved in the game, have experience, good dogs and train more then average. There opinion of what any level dog should be capable of is individual. I feel they take all of that with them to the test when they judge. So in comparison, if you do not train as they do then you can expect to see something unfamiliar most of the time, not always but there is no way of knowing unless you know the judge. And if they set up a test based on their interpolation of the standard then they will get dogs passing that meet there standard on that day. If you take a different set of judges, same test you may get different pass / fail numbers. Most judges I am sure at one time had as little knowledge as the individual that was not prepared for what they were presented with. So what is the fix? Reduce standards which can be interpolated however by the person reading the book, or train to a higher slandered with the dog and time you have. Regardless, on any given day you can be on or off with your dog. I have not run trials so I can not comment on the apparent or potential similarity to that game.

I do see many amateur handlers going out earlier, then I did 10 years ago. Those Amateurs that passed this weekend are obviously, at lest to me, passionate about the game and work hard to have the nice dogs they do.

I personally had no problem with the test, would have liked to see more dogs do the work required though, especially one in particular. To repeat what was already posted most dogs IMHO went out on handler error vs. dog ability. Waiting to long to blow a whistle (armchair handling here) or handling to soon on a mark and losing the dog. But then again I don’t know the dog , the handler or how it runs. Hell, the test may have scared the hell out of them for no reason and put them behind the eight ball form the get go. We all know what that’s about. Kudos to the Sooner Club for keeping the rain away and working hard all weekend. Thanks to the judges for sharing their personal time with us.

Tim S.