Controlled breaks are allowed in Qual stakes so if the handler got the honoring dog under control before there was an interference with the working dog the test should go on.
Here's a stupid take on things that I would argue until I got dropped...
Once the honor dog leaves, aren't YOU now the honor dog? At that point it should be legal to speak softly to your dog, per the rules.
And regardless of "the judge's call", I expect a shot to run the test without the added distraction, thus I would respectfully ask to be sent back three dogs if the honor dog broke, especially in a competitive stake.
It's just not fair after a dog just watched the honor dog break and be restrained, to expect a clean job of marking.
A hunting test judge could take this distraction into consideration and score accordingly, with a notation in the book. It's in no way fair in competition and almost demands a re-run. Having said that, it's a judge's call and that doesn't mean they will agree with me. That's just part of playing the game.
At the end of the day you have to respect the judge's decision.
Darrin, What I have obsevered is what you described. Generally when the honor dog breaks there is interference as the handler is trying to get their dog under control, and the running dog gets a "rerun".
I have seen a case where the honor dog waited to break until the running dog was well on its way to the first bird, and the honor dog handler was able to bring the honor dog under control without it effecting the running dog.
I think it was discussed to make it a rule that if the honor dog broke the working dog HAD to go back at least 3 dogs if possible. Sometimes you are the last dog running and have to suck it up but you should still be able to leave the line, go back to holding and start again with honor dog on lead. As a judge I do not even ask the handler if they want to stay on line, I send them back.
In our case, the honor dog broke after both birds landed - a split second before our number would have been called. He hit the water and his owner was able to call him back before any retrieve. My dog clearly marked the birds, and I stayed seated on the cooler hoping we could just go ahead and get it done. It was very hot (102) and I was second to last dog running. I was glad the judges had us continue our test and I think they weighed all the factors of the situation well. We pinned our marks and achieved our honor.
It was the long, Tule filled water blind that was our undoing!:mad:
Last time I passed on waiting another 3 dogs (46th in a 49 dog senior) the memory bird went no problem and go bird was a no bird.
Reloaded wingers, again memory bird no problem, go bird didn't crest hill to mark it (from the dogs level).
Sent dog as lined but immediate turn to the bird he'd seen twice, not the bird he'd seen never. ;-)
Judge asked if dog does that all the time...lol...but I couldn't be a smartarse till we both figured out the go bird was never seen twice. Dog picked up both without a handle in the end. Point being 'stuff' sometimes happens back-to-back. :-)