I don't see enough bang for the buck in JH or SH; a SH only takes away one test in MH. If your doing it for line-time cool but if you fail, you could theoretically pay $$ for one series, one bird, one whatever, then your on your way home (why would you stay unless there's another test the next day) (thus you don't stay for the BBQ, and you don't enjoy the entire experience). This possibility makes traveling for anything but a back to back JH or SH, not-cost effective. Used to do it to see where a dog was, but I can do that in HRC or NAHRA, for a lower fee, have more fun, and my points count for the dogs higher titles. If I fail the dog still gets the entire test for the $$ if I choose (they've even done this in a few of the lower NAHRA stakes I've ran). People don't like driving paying gas, expense and entry, without a guarantee on their money (I'm not talking a guaranteed pass, but a guarantee on the complete experience). Also because EE keeps track of your records for AKC, it's out there for anyone to track, where-as in the other tests it's untraceable (except to the owner). Thus It makes more since to test your wings in another venue, then keep your record straight in AKC, might as well just go straight MH (5MH tests is more cost-effective than 5SH &4MH) .
Want to keep the JH & SH people around and get them hooked, easy when you have a low entries in a stake in JH/SH, don't do call-backs, or do them and then give everyone the opportunity to run the other series after those who are still playing. As a Judge sit a bit, perhaps be happy, and not in a hurry, why do we need to be done early? everyone's already booked the whole day. Give them a little feed-back on their dogs (no need to keep books). There's no rule saying you can't, and it keeps handlers there for the raffle & BBQ, keeps them interacting, shows them that they are important and not just entries/$$ so the club can host a MH test. When people feel improtant, not just a check, and they have a good time, often times they come back .
Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 07-21-2014 at 04:14 PM.
"They's Just DAWGS"
"Hunting is a skill to be learned whether you do it early or late it still needs to be learned"
"I train dogs, Not papers"
GMRH-I HRCH Quick MH (most importantly Duck/Upland Enthusiast) Rip. July-2014
MHR HRCH Lakota MH (most importantly Upland/Duck Enthusiast)
HR Storm.. the Pup (Beginning Upland & Waterfowl Enthusiast)
There are two major reasons why numbers are down in JH and SH.
The first is the economy. There is plain and simply less disposable income in most homes than there was 10 years ago.
The second is a larger problem, a cultural shift in the under thirty folks. Their interests do not lie in do-it-yourself projects like dog training. If they want a well trained dog they are much more likely to hire somebody to train the dog for them rather than undertaking the process themselves. More than half the dogs in the Junior test I judged yesterday were trained and handled by Professional Trainers.
Considering the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity". -Unknown
Shawn I remember that test very well. No rush and time for judges to interact with handlers ,especially newbies,. I think of that test every time I see a post of yours.........job well done my friend.
My Dad said to me ."Son, a man just needs three things to be happy....A good dog, a good gun and a good wife.....Thank God I have all three
Sundown's Boss of Delta Marsh JH (Louie QAA X Delta MH)
Traveling Through The Graded Timber JH (2012 NAFC Trav X Timber MH QAA)
Sundown's Ruff And Tuff (Boss JH X Lil Bit) best pup I have ever raised
Home of HRCH Sundown's Loaded To The Maxx (FC AFC Jamie X Dixie QAA) RIP
Donway's Dixieland Delight - Dixie 2/24/1997 - 2001
Rebel's Ruffian Hank - Hank - 6/05/2001 - 2/3/2011 - Profile Picture
Blue Ridge Pot O Gold - Sťamus - 1/22/2011 -
Old North State Queen Anne's Revenge- Annie- 3/21/2013-
When I got into the dog world, I was very blessed to have very experience handlers and trainers in East Texas that wanted to share their time and knowledge with a rookie like me. Those men and women, along with a handful of judges, are what made me want to continue to pursue the hunt tests. AWESOME PEOPLE. In my continued pursuit, I found what they had really been teaching me and why the majority of us play this game; the bond that truly represents a man and his best friend.
We all know how much time and money it takes to train a dog to properly compete in hunt test or field trials. I remember how frustrating it was not to know people who would let me use their land, not to have enough money to buy training equipment or videos and not having the knowledge to make sure I wasn't "messing" my dog up. But I wanted to learn and would throw birds, plant blinds, load wingers, etc. all day just to make sure I would get invited back. Thankfully, I did.
By the time I had the knowledge and was making enough money to buy those things and new the people that would let me use their ground, I was working 40,50, 60 hours a week and didn't have the time I had when I was in college...Then I had a kid...then another one...
My point to this is, we've got to make sure that we're doing our fair share of recruiting and getting the word out to folks that can move our hobby/sport in the right direction. Make sure we go out of the way to welcome the folks at the Junior/Senior level and see how we can help. This is a tough sport to get youth involved in and keep them involved because if the parent isn't involved and will allow dogs, then the kid is just SOL. Plus how many kids do we know that would rather spend the weekend with a bunch of adults and dogs instead of their friends at a baseball or basketball tournament...or chasing girls/boys?
A wise man once told me, "So you want to get into retrievers, huh? You might want to look into cocaine. It's a cheaper habit and for the most part, the women are hotter."
I don't think we can pinpoint why the numbers are down. I know when I was running junior and senior tests, I wouldn't even consider running a test unless they had double junior/senior tests offered. I'm not going to wake up at 4 a.m. and drive 4 hours one way, spend $60 to enter and $200 in fuel for one $3.50 ribbon, but I would for two... I got the same thrill training 10 minutes from the house. The real thrill for me was cold December and January mornings...
The junior and senior level tests were great for my experience as a handler. I'm convinced my dog never failed a test; I'm the one that failed. He could do the work, but I was the one that crapped the bed. That being said, I don't know that I'd run those levels again with my second dog that is now 15 weeks old. I'm much more confident in my ability as a trainer and handler now than I was then. I don't know that I see the benefit in it for us at this point.
HR Goree's Flight School Drop Out SH "Maverick" 11/20/04---2/6/14
Roux's Classy Lil' Bayou Princess "Sadee"
Lean Grade of Dignified Troubles "Gracee"
I'd run more junior and seasoned test if I could get my dog in master test w/o having to sit at midnight praying I click the button fast enough. I'm not traveling for junior or senior test alone
For folks just getting started, or who don't have the confidence, the lower stakes are a good learning opportunity.
The key, as has been noted, is in getting new folks engaged in the game. We were fortunate as our local club spent a lot of time with training days, club picnic "trials" and often just fun games with the dogs. The more experienced members went out of their way for newbies, even to the point of giving up their own training time to mentor others.
That was the point of my earlier post and one that others have made. But it's worth repeating. The key to getting new folks involved, whatever the level, is clubs providing that opportunity.