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Thread: How do you calm your nerves at a test/trial?

  1. #1
    Senior Member 1st retriever's Avatar
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    Default How do you calm your nerves at a test/trial?

    For those of you who have run a test/trial do you still get nervous? What do you personally do to calm your nerves? Any "rituals" you do before hand?
    Steph

    Brittany - Border Collie/Springer Spaniel CGC
    Meka- Basset/Aussie
    Zoe's Taller N Me - Zoe Irish Wolfhound 9/04/2004 - 11/20/2013 I love you Big Girl!
    Ember Raise The Bar CGC - Corona (a fluffy)
    Embers Aint Misbehavin - Flirt (Corona's mini me)


    A good friend helps you up when you fall. A best friend pees their pants laughing and trips you again!

  2. #2
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    I've played the game for a loooooooong time. The day I'm not a little nervous/anxious in the holding blind will be the day I quit. It will signal that I no longer care.

    Tim
    You order a Lab; ask a Golden; but negotiate with a Chesapeake!

  3. #3
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Being an "adrenaline" junkie, it is the best high of all, especially if things go good!!

    Enjoy the RUUUUUUSSSSHHHH!!!
    Stan b & Elvis

  4. #4
    Kristie Wilder
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    I don't have any rituals, but I have gone from the days of practically blowing chunks to being very relaxed...

    First... Don't run a dog until it's ready. If you know your dog is ready, then what do you have to worry about? If the dog fails, the failure will be "legitimate" and NOT because you and your dog did not prepare for the test.

    Second... ACCEPT that failure may occur and that you or the dog may screw up. After Joie died, I was petrified about what I was going to do with my future. I read a great article that said "accept the worst outcome" and then anything else that happens is ok. So I thought "worst case, I send all my client dogs home, let my house foreclose and move back with my parents or in with someone who will take me"... I could live with that if I HAD to. So typically the worst thing that will happen at a hunt test is that you will fail. You CAN live with that even if you don't want to. So take a breath and realize it may happen, even if you're going to work hard to prevent it.

    Third... Know YOUR dog. Look at the test and examine it in terms of YOUR dog. Every test I run, I can quickly tell what will be the KEY areas for each of my dogs. One has the propensity to out of control in scent en route to a blind. Another will overshoot short birds. FOCUS on the KEY areas. Don't worry about the WHOLE test. Your dog will NOT fail the WHOLE test. Focus on the areas you really need to plan for.

    Fourth... KNOW that your dog is NOT every other dog out there. You saw the last handler send their dog in a strange order? You saw another handler cast their dog a certain way? Guess what? That is NOT your dog! Don't be tempted to do what other handlers do. KNOW how to read and handle your dog based on YOUR DOG. Use any observation of other handlers to pick out the difficult parts of the test, figure out wind direction at various falls and other areas, know where scent is an issue, judge terrain/cover/water changes.

    Fifth... KNOW the test. Watch test dog. Listen to the scenario. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    Sixth... Confirm the test and instructions with the judges prior to leaving the holding blind. If the test is anything but straightforward, confirm the order of marks/blinds/honoring etc.

    Seventh... SLOW WAY DOWN. Think you're already moving slowly enough? Slow down EVEN MORE.

    Sixth... Take deep breaths while you're working your dog and handling. If you start to feel stressed, relax your muscles and breath deeply ENJOYING YOUR DOG's WORK!!

    Finally... Try to never take your eyes off your dog. At the same time, be aware of your surroundings and anything that may impact your dog's performance.

    Hey, I think I'll make a book out of this.

    Hope it helps.

    -K

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brent Keever's Avatar
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    Kristie that is a book now you just need to publish it lol.
    Semper Fi
    Brent Keever
    Geaux Cajuns

    Formerly known as: CajunMarineBBK

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1st retriever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Keever View Post
    Kristie that is a book now you just need to publish it lol.
    I know I would buy it! That is great advice Kristie!
    Steph

    Brittany - Border Collie/Springer Spaniel CGC
    Meka- Basset/Aussie
    Zoe's Taller N Me - Zoe Irish Wolfhound 9/04/2004 - 11/20/2013 I love you Big Girl!
    Ember Raise The Bar CGC - Corona (a fluffy)
    Embers Aint Misbehavin - Flirt (Corona's mini me)


    A good friend helps you up when you fall. A best friend pees their pants laughing and trips you again!

  7. #7
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    I have read alot of your post and you give great advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kristie Wilder View Post
    I don't have any rituals, but I have gone from the days of practically blowing chunks to being very relaxed...

    First... Don't run a dog until it's ready. If you know your dog is ready, then what do you have to worry about? If the dog fails, the failure will be "legitimate" and NOT because you and your dog did not prepare for the test.

    Second... ACCEPT that failure may occur and that you or the dog may screw up. After Joie died, I was petrified about what I was going to do with my future. I read a great article that said "accept the worst outcome" and then anything else that happens is ok. So I thought "worst case, I send all my client dogs home, let my house foreclose and move back with my parents or in with someone who will take me"... I could live with that if I HAD to. So typically the worst thing that will happen at a hunt test is that you will fail. You CAN live with that even if you don't want to. So take a breath and realize it may happen, even if you're going to work hard to prevent it.

    Third... Know YOUR dog. Look at the test and examine it in terms of YOUR dog. Every test I run, I can quickly tell what will be the KEY areas for each of my dogs. One has the propensity to out of control in scent en route to a blind. Another will overshoot short birds. FOCUS on the KEY areas. Don't worry about the WHOLE test. Your dog will NOT fail the WHOLE test. Focus on the areas you really need to plan for.

    Fourth... KNOW that your dog is NOT every other dog out there. You saw the last handler send their dog in a strange order? You saw another handler cast their dog a certain way? Guess what? That is NOT your dog! Don't be tempted to do what other handlers do. KNOW how to read and handle your dog based on YOUR DOG. Use any observation of other handlers to pick out the difficult parts of the test, figure out wind direction at various falls and other areas, know where scent is an issue, judge terrain/cover/water changes.

    Fifth... KNOW the test. Watch test dog. Listen to the scenario. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    Sixth... Confirm the test and instructions with the judges prior to leaving the holding blind. If the test is anything but straightforward, confirm the order of marks/blinds/honoring etc.

    Seventh... SLOW WAY DOWN. Think you're already moving slowly enough? Slow down EVEN MORE.

    Sixth... Take deep breaths while you're working your dog and handling. If you start to feel stressed, relax your muscles and breath deeply ENJOYING YOUR DOG's WORK!!

    Finally... Try to never take your eyes off your dog. At the same time, be aware of your surroundings and anything that may impact your dog's performance.

    Hey, I think I'll make a book out of this.

    Hope it helps.

    -K

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gun_Dog2002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristie Wilder View Post
    I don't have any rituals, but I have gone from the days of practically blowing chunks to being very relaxed...

    First... Don't run a dog until it's ready. If you know your dog is ready, then what do you have to worry about? If the dog fails, the failure will be "legitimate" and NOT because you and your dog did not prepare for the test.

    Second... ACCEPT that failure may occur and that you or the dog may screw up. After Joie died, I was petrified about what I was going to do with my future. I read a great article that said "accept the worst outcome" and then anything else that happens is ok. So I thought "worst case, I send all my client dogs home, let my house foreclose and move back with my parents or in with someone who will take me"... I could live with that if I HAD to. So typically the worst thing that will happen at a hunt test is that you will fail. You CAN live with that even if you don't want to. So take a breath and realize it may happen, even if you're going to work hard to prevent it.

    Third... Know YOUR dog. Look at the test and examine it in terms of YOUR dog. Every test I run, I can quickly tell what will be the KEY areas for each of my dogs. One has the propensity to out of control in scent en route to a blind. Another will overshoot short birds. FOCUS on the KEY areas. Don't worry about the WHOLE test. Your dog will NOT fail the WHOLE test. Focus on the areas you really need to plan for.

    Fourth... KNOW that your dog is NOT every other dog out there. You saw the last handler send their dog in a strange order? You saw another handler cast their dog a certain way? Guess what? That is NOT your dog! Don't be tempted to do what other handlers do. KNOW how to read and handle your dog based on YOUR DOG. Use any observation of other handlers to pick out the difficult parts of the test, figure out wind direction at various falls and other areas, know where scent is an issue, judge terrain/cover/water changes.

    Fifth... KNOW the test. Watch test dog. Listen to the scenario. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    Sixth... Confirm the test and instructions with the judges prior to leaving the holding blind. If the test is anything but straightforward, confirm the order of marks/blinds/honoring etc.

    Seventh... SLOW WAY DOWN. Think you're already moving slowly enough? Slow down EVEN MORE.

    Sixth... Take deep breaths while you're working your dog and handling. If you start to feel stressed, relax your muscles and breath deeply ENJOYING YOUR DOG's WORK!!

    Finally... Try to never take your eyes off your dog. At the same time, be aware of your surroundings and anything that may impact your dog's performance.

    Hey, I think I'll make a book out of this.

    Hope it helps.

    -K
    I go to do all that? Forget it. I'm going back to Bubba and i's method. WE just flirt with the judges. Works everytime....

    /Paul
    Paul Cantrell
    Black Ice Retrievers
    Marcola OR

    Too many dogs to list (By some Bitch)

    https://www.facebook.com/BlackIceRetrievers
    http://gundog2002.blogspot.com/
    "Helping Hunters Train Their Dogs"

  9. #9
    Kristie Wilder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun_Dog2002 View Post
    I go to do all that? Forget it. I'm going back to Bubba and i's method. WE just flirt with the judges. Works everytime....

    /Paul
    Since I'm not that hot, or hot at all, I have to do it the hard way!!!!! Oh, and I don't have enough money for bribes, either.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce MacPherson's Avatar
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    I used to really get nervous. Now not so much. The secret is to show up with a dog that can do the test. Makes me more anxious to think I have spent 65 bucks or more to get a 2 dollar ribbon.
    "The longer you let a dog go in the wrong direction the more they think they are going in the right direction" Don Remien.

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