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Thread: Getting started in field trials

  1. #21
    Senior Member Russ'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?
    In the Derby, which is for dogs under two years old, you will usually see several double mark series, some on land and some on water. The distances are usually under 300 yds.

    In the Qualifying you would be normal to see a land triple, a land blind, a water blind and water triple the distances are usually under 300 yds on these but there is no limitation in the rules. The marking tests usually have one retired gun. The series may be combined, so you may have a land triple in conjunction with a land blind.

    In the All Age stakes (Open & Amateur) there is usually a land and a water marking series as well as a land and a water blind series. Because the competition is stiffer than the Qualifying, the distances are longer and there are more factors in All Age stakes. The judging is much tighter at this stake. On blinds there are often poison birds, scented points and the dog should be able to be handled on and off of points with little effort. The dog should be able to drive tight past the short bird to the long punch bird.

    I believe the Retriever News site has some videos and diagrams of past Nationals that give some idea of how tough the All Age tests can be. A search of YouTube should also come up with some videos of individual tests at a trial. The best thing to do is to go watch one.

  2. #22
    Junior Member Spry's Avatar
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    I like all the info offered here. I signed up for our states retriever events e mails and just got one showing the activities
    for the year. So just sent em back a mail asking if I could volunteer at the events as a helping hand. I'm a good listening laborer. Figured that way I could have fun, watch dogs run, be useful and learn all at the same time. Then see if we could play.

    Lee
    With a dog...You never hunt alone.

  3. #23
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    1. Learn how to to train your own dog. using written material and help from a pro or accomplished Amateur.
    2.This will give you the skills to determine if your dog is ready.
    3.I would have my dog doing Master hunter work before entering a Derby. It will give you and the dog tools to understand concepts that won't set your training back six months.
    4.Be humble, and don't set unrealistic expectations. 85% of the dogs don't reach there prime until 6 years of age. (All Age Stakes)
    5.Follow a proven program step by step. This should probably be #1.
    6.Dedication breeds success, there aren't any shortcuts.
    7.A Good DOG??? The most misused statement in competition!! Being a great handler is the key. Most dogs go out on handler era, not because they lacked talent.
    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?

  4. #24
    Senior Member BonMallari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    1. Learn how to to train your own dog. using written material and help from a pro or accomplished Amateur.
    2.This will give you the skills to determine if your dog is ready.
    3.I would have my dog doing Master hunter work before entering a Derby. It will give you and the dog tools to understand concepts that won't set your training back six months.
    4.Be humble, and don't set unrealistic expectations. 85% of the dogs don't reach there prime until 6 years of age. (All Age Stakes)
    5.Follow a proven program step by step. This should probably be #1.
    6.Dedication breeds success, there aren't any shortcuts.
    7.A Good DOG??? The most misused statement in competition!! Being a great handler is the key. Most dogs go out on handler era, not because they lacked talent.
    The Derby stake is age restricted (2 yrs old or younger)...if you are doing MH work at age 2 or younger, as Phil Robertson would say " ..now we're cooking with peanut oil"
    All my Exes live in Texas

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    A few things that I learned still ring true. "Lanse when you get a gift, say thank you and walk away. When you get a screwing walk away. You are going to get a lot more screwings than gifts"

  5. #25
    Senior Member Russ's Avatar
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    Master Hunter is not normally in the field trial progression. Early on most trainers are focusing training towards all age stakes. In training, most derby dogs are doing complex blind work. The factors, distance and required precision are very different in trials than in a MH event. Successful trial dogs are trained 5 or more days per week.

    A very good dog is essential in trials. The "A" level pros run dogs at all levels except Amateur. You will not see them make a lot of handlers errors. That is the competition and most of them do not have the patience to keep a mediocre dog on the truck.

    If anyone thinks that any old pure bred retriever can compete in trials, look at some completed trials on entry express. Check out the pedigrees of the finishing dogs. You will find that a large number come from parents that each have championship titles. I suspect most of them have a majority of titled ancestors in the last three generations.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Charles C.'s Avatar
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    Don't let folks discourage you ...

    1. Do you have a flexible work schedule?
    2. Are you competitive by nature?
    3. Are you committed to learning as much as possible?
    4. Can you accept some failure?

    If you answered yes, go to some trials, find some good training partners and patiently train your dog to be the best it can be. Don't fall in love with a particular dog, though. You can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. Sometimes, you create issues with a dog. Don't be afraid to seek the advice and help of a pro.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newf View Post
    So a couple of the other threads on here got me thinking...just how does one get started running field trials?? I'm sure there are probably a few others that may be wondering the same thing, so why not put together a list of things a newbie needs to know before showing up at their first trial. Personally I know very little about them, so maybe some of the experienced folks can post some tips/information resources, etc. Try to keep it serious and provide legitimate information for anybody who wants to know. Personally I've went and watched 2 separate trials, one being the Canadian national amateur last year, and that day I think I was easily the youngest person there (33) I could be wrong but it seems to me it could very well be a dying sport. So how about it folks how about a little FYI/FAQ for Newbie Field Trialers.

    For a starting point, let's say we already have:
    * field trial quality pup
    * a copy of one of the training programs (Lardy/Graham/etc)

    Personally my biggest question would be:
    * what should the dog be capable of handling? (Training requirements?)
    If you have any experience with hunt tests its not hard to make the jump to the Q. The best way to learn what you need to train for is to enter one and step to the line with your dog. When I ran my first trial I had never even seen a FT before. Everyone was very supportive and it had me hooked.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    Master Hunter is not normally in the field trial progression. Early on most trainers are focusing training towards all age stakes. In training, most derby dogs are doing complex blind work. The factors, distance and required precision are very different in trials than in a MH event. Successful trial dogs are trained 5 or more days per week.

    A very good dog is essential in trials. The "A" level pros run dogs at all levels except Amateur. You will not see them make a lot of handlers errors. That is the competition and most of them do not have the patience to keep a mediocre dog on the truck.

    If anyone thinks that any old pure bred retriever can compete in trials, look at some completed trials on entry express. Check out the pedigrees of the finishing dogs. You will find that a large number come from parents that each have championship titles. I suspect most of them have a majority of titled ancestors in the last three generations.
    I agree, in fact running hunt tests with a young derby dog is something I wouldn't do. Many field trialers train from the beginning of a goal of a all-age dog (not a QAA dog) but, a dog that can compete for championship points and make progress towards a field champion and/or amateur field champion title. This starts in the Derby and many dogs have won or placed in all-age stakes as older derby dogs. If one were selecting a puppy from well bred parentage ,and field trials were the goal, I would continue to train at a very high standard, not hunt test training. Run hunt tests later if that's your desire. I assure you a well trained field trial older derby dog say 20 plus months can do high level hunt tests, some younger.
    Earl Dillow

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spry View Post
    I like all the info offered here. I signed up for our states retriever events e mails and just got one showing the activities
    for the year. So just sent em back a mail asking if I could volunteer at the events as a helping hand. I'm a good listening laborer. Figured that way I could have fun, watch dogs run, be useful and learn all at the same time. Then see if we could play.

    Lee
    That's the best way hands down! A worker at a field trial most always gets the attention of those experienced folks. Birds and places help too, if you have access to those! or can you shoot flyers and make them immediately dead! in a hula hoop area . I'am stretching it a bit.
    Earl Dillow

  10. #30
    Senior Member Scott Adams's Avatar
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    Great info so far.
    Russ gave you the details you were looking for.
    The resources you mention prove that you are on the right track.
    IMO there is a HUGE value in hooking up as much as possible with people who are current and active. They will give you the best perspective on the demands you face in the field & otherwise. Be prepared to prove that you are worth their effort to teach you. For every 20 newbies that come along maybe one is not a time waster for us. Be patient and measure your expectations against your experience.
    Ignore the naysayers.
    There is far more to this than ribbons and titles. Field trials people and dogs are entertaining from all angles.
    NAFTCH FTCH AFTCH Mjolnir Bluebill Of Allanport
    Flatlands Bayduck of Allanport
    Dakota Creek Teal of Allanport

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