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Thread: Getting started in field trials

  1. #11
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    Pay your entry fee and start running. It's between you and the dog. It's not what other people think it's what you think about the trial you ran. Win or lose just love being at the line with your dog that you trained and handled and running the setup.
    Gentle in what you do. Firm in how you do it.

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    Senior Member Ted Shih's Avatar
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    I think that Mike Perry got the downside of Field Trials right, but Greg Heier got the essence of field trials. If you enjoy working with the dogs, If you enjoy watching your progress as a trainer and a handler, and your dog's progress, and are able to separate yourself from the need to acquire ribbons, you will be hooked for life. If you are doing this to acquire "success," you will be miserable.
    Competition does not build character - It reveals it.

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    I think all the answers are good ones. I'm giving it some thought, but don't know any FT'ers in my neck of the woods. I have a pup from FC dam AFC/FC sire with a good derby-date birthday so if anyone can give me any contact information... I'd be grateful.

    Having said that, maybe one other thing should be added to the list for the OP. I have a lot of training information and it's all going to be vital. But Retrievers Online is the first resource I've read that really dissects the sport and analyzes concepts that a FT dog must know. It provides illustrations and the writing style is very readable.

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    Senior Member Jennifer Henion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1tulip View Post
    I think all the answers are good ones. I'm giving it some thought, but don't know any FT'ers in my neck of the woods. I have a pup from FC dam AFC/FC sire with a good derby-date birthday so if anyone can give me any contact information... I'd be grateful.

    Having said that, maybe one other thing should be added to the list for the OP. I have a lot of training information and it's all going to be vital. But Retrievers Online is the first resource I've read that really dissects the sport and analyzes concepts that a FT dog must know. It provides illustrations and the writing style is very readable.

    Bolding is mine. Trust me, "if you build it, they will come." I live in a remote area, but when I started going to Derbies (which was last year with my very first field dog), I met a lot of field trial people who were very kind and willing to train with me. It would mean some traveling, but so does everything else. If you show up to a trial, you will meet some great people who will help you learn more than you could imagine. Seek and ye shall find!

    Dave Kress really said it for me in navigating this sport with my first dog: Changing your destination from winning a ribbon to making it to the next series and sometimes just learning something new. That's the ticket to enjoying the sport in my view.

    Here is my take on how to get started in Field Trials:

    1. Read the rules, get familiar with Entry Express to find a stake near you. Go watch one first if possible. Research what a stake will present.

    2. Train for that level.

    3. Go do it. It's so much fun!!!!!

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    Senior Member DoubleHaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moscowitz View Post
    Pay your entry fee and start running. It's between you and the dog. It's not what other people think it's what you think about the trial you ran. Win or lose just love being at the line with your dog that you trained and handled and running the setup.
    This.

    If you want to be one of the top dogs in the dog game, run nationals every year, etc., you need either a lot of time or a lot of money and a lot of both is better.

    But if you love running the dog and training when you can and doing better over time than you used to, it is a great way to spend a weekend. Make your own yardstick for success or failure (at first, my measure of success was not having to do the walk of shame )other than ribbons because more often than not they go to the folks mentioned above. However, when you get a ribbon it is all the more sweet.

    The people who run FTs are a small group and when you first show up they won't know you and may appear closed but they will know you the second time and will be very helpful and supportive, especially once they know where on your truck your cooler tray is and where you keep the liquor

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    Great info so far folks...I might get picked on for this one, but here goes anyway...

    What about the actual requirements for a Field trial? Where would a person find that info? I know when I was training my dog for hunt tests I had an actual list of requirements for each level. Ie SH= double marks @ 100, blind @ 100,walk ups, etc. Is there a similar set of elements a judge has to follow to create a fair trial? Or a similar yardstick to measure an individuals training so that can at least "think" they are ready to enter a trial?
    Last edited by Newf; 01-11-2014 at 12:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Heier View Post
    Step One: Get a good dog
    Step Two: Train until you think your dog is ready for the level you will be entering than double that amount of training before you actually enter.
    Step Three: Pay your money and take your chances
    Step Four: Learn through competition that there are better dogs with better training
    Step Five: Humbled, go back to Step Two and repeat until you either start having success or realize that you really need to go back to Step One and start a different dog
    Step Six: Repeat for a lifetime

    Greg
    I think you nailed it Greg! Don't collect dogs is one of the hardest for new folks to deal with in field trials too! Halo effect. The training level is another. Field Trials are a good money hole.
    Earl Dillow

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    Money hole. That's so true. Whenever I've spent a slug of $$ on the game, I just turn to hubby and say "But sweetie. At least I'm not in love with horses!" Or sometimes... "Don't worry, I won't be buying that bass boat."

  9. #19
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newf View Post
    Great info so far folks...I might get picked on for this one, but here goes anyway...

    What about the actual requirements for a Field trial? Where would a person find that info? I know when I was training my dog for hunt tests I had an actual list of requirements for each level. Ie SH= double marks @ 100, blind @ 100,walk ups, etc. Is there a similar set of elements a judge has to follow to create a fair trial? Or a similar yardstick to measure an individuals training so that can at least "think" they are ready to enter a trial?
    There is no substitute for real life experience. Go watch, meet some field trial people, most are more than willing to help newcomers. Learning about field trials on the internet would be like trying to learn to play golf on the internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdA View Post
    There is no substitute for real life experience. Go watch, meet some field trial people, most are more than willing to help newcomers. Learning about field trials on the internet would be like trying to learn to play golf on the internet.
    That about sums it up! Especially about training and running "big dogs", in Championship pointed stakes where the points count towards field championship or amateur field championship titles and what those magnificent animals are capable of doing each and every weekend. Go watch the minor stakes, Derby and Qualifyings, then go watch the Opens and Amateurs. Your questions will be answered, welcome!
    Earl Dillow

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