A Lab has no appreciation for the artistic value of a bonsai tree, but does appreciate their potential as chew toys.
Some big assumptions in this post (and in Bubba's). BB certainly can be a problem in both quality and number. In other cases not so much. I have been to many test with 16 year old girls that were as good as anyone. I have been to test where they were as described above. My point is that in some cases help can be a problem and in others no problem at all. Our club actually has to limit the bird help that is available to us because there is always more that want to work than we need. We pay ours and they also throw and get paid at club training sessions so they are pretty fine bird personnel. Paul says they cannot find enough help and I believe that is a valid and true statement in some areas such as his.
Land limits and help issues are both equally a problem. In some cases they can be solved and in others they cannot.
Just for for fun lets talk about the idea of making pros supply help? How is that going to work logistically. If I were a pro with 30 dogs on my truck I would simply enter 9 with me as handler, 9 with each of two assistants, and three with their owners as handlers. I would rather pay my assistants to run client dogs that I get paid for than supply help for a test that is paid to enter. Each dog cost the handler exactly the same to enter regardless of pro or am handler. A lot of people assume that if those 10 slots were filled with AM's, those AM's would provide help. That has not been my observation over the years. In most clubs you have the exact same core group of people that work. Those 10 am's are sitting in the gallery bullshitting with each other not providing help. The pro is also not providing help because he is busy with dogs. I don't really see the difference from a help prospective, especially with limited entry (I do see a problem with the inequity in the entry system that allows anyone to enter 10+ dogs with the push of a button). What do you do if a pro agrees to bring a BB for the ten dogs he is running and then shows up without help? What if he says his help quit at the last minute or became ill and is sick in the truck? I just don't see this as a workable option. I do see it an area where the pros could step up on their own to help with a situation they agree is a problem.
Nothing is is going to change much until the qualifications for the MN change. IMHO this is the major problem. Allowing limited entries was something that clubs wanted and they are the volunteers that make test happen. If a club wants to not hold a test or say "this is all we can handle" that is the way it is. You can't force volunteers to do anything they don't want to. That said, and the limit change made, it is time that the MN adjust accordingly to keep their member clubs.
Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
"Proud members of The Professional Retriever Training Association " I have not read all the thread but given what I have observed in the past year in person and 2nd/3rd hand rumors here and abroad I think it is full time for Proud members of The Professional Retriever Training Association to form their own circuit and quit taking advantage of the resources clubs provide. All other professions, like baseball, golf, football do so why not the pro dog trainers? Then you can do what you will with BS fee schedules and scratches after closings and filling slots in 15 mins or less. Make it a pro problem and good luck from me.
John Cottenham aka jacduck in many circles before the internet
"Duck hunter's minds are like concrete. All mixed up and permanently set."
It's actually TRAINERS not training. Mistake made on original post.
Last edited by Thomas D; 04-22-2014 at 07:34 PM.
If a club hires a bird-boy they pay for the 10 or so hours a day they work. If a pro hires a bird boy, they are looking at paying them for the weekend, plus travel expenses - at minimum, meals & a separate room if it's an adult. And I wouldn't even think of hiring a high-school/college aged kid. After training all week, traveling Friday, being up before dawn to air dogs, running (literally) dogs all day, feeding & airing again in the evening; the last thing I'd want to do is supervise someone else's teenager all weekend. And that doesn't even take into account the liability involved with traveling with a minor if you are not the legal guardian.
I don't agree with everything that was in the letter, but I applaud it's authors for making the effort. They were willing to take a stand, in a very public venue and try to find a solution. We are really not at odds here, the clubs need the pros and the pros need the clubs. Nothing will get resolved until we are able to stop pointing fingers work together.
SHR Turtlecreek's This 'Ol Cowboy - Tucker
GRHRCH Oak Point's Traveling Man MH - Mason
It's easy to complain about pro's taking up too many spots. But in reality...I have to believe they are a much bigger help to most HT's, than they are a hinderance. Could most clubs attract 60 amateurs to fill spots in a given weekend? Maybe so, maybe not. Is it easier to have one guy show up with 20 dogs? Or 20 people show up with 20 dogs? Most pros running dogs, are doing so for their clients. So the argument that pro's are exclusively taking up all the spots at tests is a bit unfair. Black labs, yellow labs, chocolate labs, boykins, golden's, etc are taking up the spots. I have yet to see a pro dog trainer run a hunt test and pick up a bird with his mouth. Dogs fill the spots...it shouldn't really matter who the person is taking that dog to the line, so long as the dogs entry fee was paid.
That being said....if a pro commits to running x number of dogs, they should be held to that number. Amateurs should be as well. If you scratch a dog, you forfeit that spot and the first person on the waiting list fills in. If you scratch and the spot can not be filled, then you forfeit the money you paid to sign the dog up in the first place. The exception being injured dogs, bitch in heat, or similar.
The fact that help is so hard to come by is sad to me. For one it tells me that there is not enough younger people interested in the sport. It's also a sad sign, when folks who are fellow dog owners and handlers won't step up and ask how they can help out? I volunteer at almost every test I go to. Running my dog only takes about 5 minutes if he isn't acting like an idiot. I still have plenty of time to visit with folks, watch other dogs run, eat lunch, etc. But volunteering my time has enabled me to meet others who share the same passion and also helped me have a greater appreciation for what goes on during a test. The whole event could never happen if it were not for people volunteering their time. It also could not happen if it weren't for pro's and amateurs alike, paying lots of money to make the trip and run dogs for the weekend. So it's a give and take. The trick is finding the right balance to make everyone happy.
My last point is not directly tied to the topic at hand. But it is related. I think the AKC needs to take another look at letting folks complete all junior and senior tests...even if a dog DQ's. Sending a handler home bc the dog broke on the first bird in a senior test is doing nothing for the sport. And it seems to me that it has really turned away potential newbies to the game. Why book a hotel room for two night, drive 500 miles, and spend the weekend away from your family, when you don't even know if you will get to compete in a competition you paid money to enter?? A lot of these handlers are amateurs, a lot of them want to get involved, a lot of them want to volunteer and learn more, but they are sent packing before they ever get a chance to find out how fun the game can be. If clubs want more help, if they want more people involved at a local level, they need to figure out how they can better attract new handlers at a grass roots level. If you bring in 15 new members a year....that's 15 folks who can throw birds, shoot flyers, sell tshirts, setup wingers, judge tests, etc. That makes hosting master tests with 120 dogs a hell of a lot easier.
The suggestion that I am opposed to the most is #3, pertaining to, "Allowing clubs to limit the Junior and Senior entries, this will allow clubs to use higher limits on Master stakes."
The Junior and Senior stakes don't have a problem, the Masters do. I'd like to hear from these mega-pros exactly how small the Juniors and Seniors need to be to accommodate The larger Master event! I don't understand how turning away Junior and Senior entries could be good for the sport.
Last edited by counciloak; 04-23-2014 at 02:02 AM. Reason: clarity
Has anyone brought up this idea? What about creating a new stake? A "Pro Master Hunter" or "Master Hunter Pro". A similar format to what the field trial game has. Have it start on Friday's, open to anyone, but mainly professionals. Loosen up the rules a bit. Longer distances for marks and blinds, something like a Master National, but for a weekend. Basically a more challenging test. Make these "pros" start working for their money.
Saturday start the "regular" master, but only for amateurs. Wasn't this game made for amateurs to start with? Plus start the senior and junior tests on Saturday and/or Sunday.
If a club is in a bind for whatever reason and needs to, let them split the stakes up. Two stakes in the spring and two stakes in the fall, in no particular order.
Here's another novel idea. Have two Master Nationals per year. The regular Master National and a Master National for pros.
I know, I know. It looks too much like a field trial. But hey, they've been doing it for what, almost one hundred years?
Now this is just my opinion, but could it be we have too many pros playing an amateur's game?
Last edited by Texas Hunter; 04-23-2014 at 01:11 AM.
They should not be able to enter another dog in the same event. I believe the way the system works now, is that there is no waiting list. So a handler can scratch a dog and re-enter another dog right away filling the hole. This smells of impropriety when someone scratches a dog and enters another.
If the dog got dropped in the first series in either the junior or the Senior for breaking or acting like a fool your really not doing the newbie handler or the dog any favors by letting them continue running. Time to go home and go back to the drawing board. If going out on the first bird of your first hunt test turnes you away forever then I don't think there was ant real commitment to start with..My last point is not directly tied to the topic at hand. But it is related. I think the AKC needs to take another look at letting folks complete all junior and senior tests...even if a dog DQ's. Sending a handler home bc the dog broke on the first bird in a senior test is doing nothing for the sport. And it seems to me that it has really turned away potential newbies to the game. Why book a hotel room for two night, drive 500 miles, and spend the weekend away from your family, when you don't even know if you will get to compete in a competition you paid money to enter?? A lot of these handlers are amateurs, a lot of them want to get involved, a lot of them want to volunteer and learn more, but they are sent packing before they ever get a chance to find out how fun the game can be. If clubs want more help, if they want more people involved at a local level, they need to figure out how they can better attract new handlers at a grass roots level. If you bring in 15 new members a year....that's 15 folks who can throw birds, shoot flyers, sell tshirts, setup wingers, judge tests, etc. That makes hosting master tests with 120 dogs a hell of a lot easier.