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Thread: Paying your dues...

  1. #1
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Default Paying your dues...

    There were multiple mentions of the idea of "paying you dues" on the judging bias thread, and I'm not sure we are all taking that comment the same way. I think some believe a newcomer won't get a fair shake in a field trial as in call backs and or placements until they have proven themselves worthy, regardless of how well the dog-handler team actually performed. I'm not sure, and I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth, but I don't think that's what they meant. To me paying your dues is working hard, trying to be a student of the game, humbly soaking in as much knowledge about dog training and handling as possible from the more experienced. If you do that and have a very good dog, you are way more likely to be successful than someone who doesn't.

    I mentioned on the other thread that I knew of multiple new people who jumped into the sport and were successful right away. I mentioned that as a rebuttal to the people who thought that judges wouldn't respect the newcomers and withhold placements. Three names pop off the top of my head, Nancy White, Lynn Nelson and Tim Averett. These people are all pretty well known now with all three having nice field champions, but I remember when they were new to field trials.

    - Nancy had been running hunt test for some time with a very nice overachieving Nova Scotia Duck Toller then ran her dog in some Quals, and by God got that Toller QAA. Next
    thing you know she's got a very nice little Lab bitch and she's eating up the derby circuit, over 50 points as I recall off the top of my head. She went on to title that dog in short
    order.

    - I met Lynn Nelson while training my year old young dog at Carol Cackelmeyer's. Lynn and I shared a gun station shooting the flyer, (she's a crack shot with a Beretta over-under by the way).
    we hit it off because we both had Goldens with wavy, red coats. That was six years ago, since then Lynn has titled one Golden and the other has at least one AA win and numerous placements
    as well as 21 derby points.

    - I judged Tim Averett in one of his first trials. He's a younger working guy from a small town in eastern Montana, to training group and no pro anywhere near him, buy one hell of a talented dog.
    I complimented his dog and made small talk about where he lived and what resources he had. He ended up putting the dog with a quality Montana pro, learned better how to handle and titled
    the dog in short order.

    I can think of other examples, but you get the idea. The main thing Nancy, Lynn and Tim have in common is a great dog. Without the talented dog it doesn't matter how hard you work, how good a trainer and handler you are, you won't make it. On the other hand the great dog is just your entrance ticket to the university, the rest does depend on hard work and dedication.
    Last edited by John Robinson; 07-24-2014 at 01:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DSMITH1651's Avatar
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    Too me in reference to handling at a trial it means , learning the subtle handling tricks and learning what judges are looking for and what faults are considered worse then others.

    The rule book leaves lots of room for judges to actually judge and adapt to the conditions and grounds available, that is a good thing. New handlers need to remember field trials are not judged against a standerd they are a competition and as such judges will have to make some hard decisions on what dog beat who, it may come down to something small and as a judge you hope not but it can happen. Two or more dogs may have been great but only one can win.
    Also remember derby and Q judges also are under pressure to keep dogs playing so the younger and less experienced handlers get to play for a few series not just get blown out and not come back to play again. This makes it really hard to make the tests hard enough to chalange the really good dogs and experienced handlers to get some separation between 1st and 4th.
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    Senior Member labsforme's Avatar
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    John, nicely put. I also think paying your dues helps in understanding what talent is and what to look for. Also a better understanding as to what to look for in first place, second place etc and to have an honest estimate of how your own dog did in comparison.

    Still paying my dues regards,

    Jeff
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  4. #4

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    John, you are right on in your post. a good dog is essential but...also a good handler willing to learn and grow.
    Gerri Mitchell
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  5. #5
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerrimitchell View Post
    John, you are right on in your post. a good dog is essential but...also a good handler willing to learn and grow.
    Good to hear from you Gerri. I'll call soon, haven't talked in a while.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    John very good comments. I agree wholeheartedly. A good dog is important!!! with a good pedigree.
    The handler has to be a willing participant. You have to learn to listen and grow both for you and your dog. Do your home work. Just take part. Go run your dog and have fun are other good attributes that will help you. THX John
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    As I was once told, no matter how hard u train him, u probably won't win the Kentucky Derby with a plow horse.
    A great dog takes you a long way.
    Brooks Gibson

    Bad things happen when you ask common dogs to do uncommon things.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Robinson's Avatar
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    I guess I started this thread as a response to the few who believed a new guy doesn't stand a chance in our sport due to politics. They think "paying your dues" just means being around long enough to be accepted into the fold. I contend a newcomer with a good dog can compete right out the gate; if the handler and dog do the work and are the best dog that weekend, they will place.

  9. #9
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    I agree , John. It's really all about the dogs ( good or great ones).
    Brooks Gibson

    Bad things happen when you ask common dogs to do uncommon things.

  10. #10
    Senior Member labsforme's Avatar
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    Another proof of that is Dave Z with Abby. First trial dog is a National Am finalist. Got the help he needed along the way by a good training group and a pro.
    Super nice guy too. Was helping at the National even though running a dog. Ask him about his assignment.
    Last edited by labsforme; 07-24-2014 at 04:17 PM.
    Jeff Gruber
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