We failed 3 SH tests, the first 2 we failed because of not stopping the dog soon enough on a mark when it was starting to return to an old fall, and then not handling all the way to the bird. The other we failed for breaking on the honor. SLOW DOWN when handling and pay attention to line manners in training. You can never have a good enough sit.
I failed one Senior because the yellow dog broke on honor. Should have failed one because the black dog sat on the walk up about 10 yards before I stopped and the judges signaled for the bird, I was in great position at this point to be blocking his line of sight for the go bird. Luckily, he runs great blinds and the judges were very lenient and let me "earn" the ribbon on the water.
Here is a hint on running blinds - put 2 fingers up at arm's length and look at the blind - keep the dog between your fingers.
Gooser - is that the test where you yelled "SIT" when she was ignoring the whistle???
I ran an 11 month old in her first SH test years ago. First series was 80 yard bird at 1 o clock and then a flier station at 10 o clock. Plenty of separation and even some brush cover between the two marks. Come out of the holding blind, signal ready. Right bird goes out and she marks it fine. Flier station quacks, throws bird, and proceeds to fire 3 rapid shots...all missing the bird. Now we had not trained on live fliers and she was shaking with excitement. The judge called no bird and I leashed her up. He asked if I would like to rerun the series right now or slide back a few dogs. I made the mistake of not rerunning her instantly. About 4 dogs later we come back out. Right bird fine, flier thrown and shot this time. She is goes out and picks up the flier no problem. I tried to line her up on the right hand ,memory bird and she kept fighting me wanting to look back at the flier station. Mistake #2 on my part was rushing. I should have slowed way down and let her stare at it all she wanted while telling her no bird and heeling her back to the right.
But I sent her the first instant she looked at the memory bird even though her whole body wasn't aligned to it. She was essentially lying to me and I bought it. She ran 15 yards on the correct line and made a 90 degree turn back to the flier station. I blew a long and LOUD sit whistle which she obeyed. I gave her a literal cast back and right which she took and then proceeded to curl around back to the left toward the flier station. I yelled "NO! HERE!" and proceeded to sprint out into the field to meet her as she slunk back toward me. I leashed her up and said thanks to the judges on my way past.
What did I learn? Dogs need to see fliers in training to be prepared for it. Also, when things start going bad SLOW WAY DOWN. That dog ended up passing her next 2 senior tests and then we skipped right to master.
This thread is helping me in training. These are practical experiences that I apply in training. Crisis management. GREAT GREAT stories of how handlers would have "Done things differently". Slow down. Train with fliers. Work obedience. Honor breaking drills. 2 finger rule for blinds. Keep it coming. I read this thread like I should read the Bible.
I can say, with absolute confidence, that we failed our first 4 Senior tests because of HANDLER ERROR! It's amazing all the training you forget and that your trainer has beaten in to you, when you step up to that Senior line the first couple of times. That happens the first time you run master too!!
What would I do differently? I'm not sure I'd do anything differently. I learned so much from those first runs in senior and master, the HARD way, that they have stuck in my brain. If nothing else...the one thing I ALWAYS have to remember is:
When we get nervous/panicked/etc....we tend to speed up on the whistle and casts and screw things up!