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Thread: Hunt test observer etiquette

  1. #1
    Member jde512's Avatar
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    Default Hunt test observer etiquette

    I'm wanting to go check out an HRC hunt test that's coming up next month just to see what all goes on. Is this something that I should bring my 13 week old pup to? Didn't know about the gun fire aspect. Seems like it might be some good socialization, but don't want him to be overwhelmed on things that he has not been exposed to. I'm going to a meeting tomorrow of the local club that is putting on the test, but would appreciate hearing any tips/guidelines for newbies going as spectators.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Golddogs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jde512 View Post
    I'm wanting to go check out an HRC hunt test that's coming up next month just to see what all goes on. Is this something that I should bring my 13 week old pup to? Didn't know about the gun fire aspect. Seems like it might be some good socialization, but don't want him to be overwhelmed on things that he has not been exposed to. I'm going to a meeting tomorrow of the local club that is putting on the test, but would appreciate hearing any tips/guidelines for newbies going as spectators.
    No pup should be exposed to a HT or all of those dogs till they at the very least have all there shots. They should also have been thru gun and bird exposure and even then, it is, IMO, questionable. I am not a fan of it as too many things can go bad.

    As for your self, be quiet when dogs are running. Do not move around when dogs are running as you may be a distraction. Bring a chair and wear dark clothing.
    Last edited by Golddogs; 02-11-2013 at 09:15 AM.
    Never trust a dog to watch your food!

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    x 2, Good advice

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    Senior Member JustinS's Avatar
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    jde512,

    Bringing a pup can be bad for the pup as well even though it is 13 weeks old it may not have a real strong immune system yet and there are many things like kennel cough floating around at tests, plus what Golddogs said about things going bad - many older dogs dont like young pups so if your pup gets off lead, or is making noise the dogs running the test can be distracted and it is hard to make friends when that happens - people will understand but not like it at all.

    Have fun at the test and if you really want to make friends - vollenteer to throw birds or refill the bird buckets

    good luck
    Justin E Schneider

    Xtreme's 30 Rounds N' 1 Full Maggie SH
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    Foundation's Peanut Butter Cup - Reece


    "Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail." -- Josh Billings

    Some peoples stiffest competition is themselves.--MooseGooser

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    Your pup will be 4+ months old. If he is up on his shots, Id have no qualms about taking him and exposing him to all the interesting sights and sounds.
    When he is out of the truck, make sure you keep him on lead as you take him exploring. If he seems overwhelmed {I doubt it} take him back to the truck for a nap or some loving

    Enjoy!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member rboudet's Avatar
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    I have never been to a FT or HT where someone did not have a puppy. I have always brought my pups with me to trials or judging assignments. I think its good to expose the puppy to sitting in a box most of the day in a trial/test atmosphere. But ALWAYS keep it on a leash and NEVER trust other dogs around the puppy.

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    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    I guess I'll be the lone dissenting voice. IMHO hunt tests make good puppy socialization opportunities providing the pup has had its shots and will stay quietly crated in the vehicle. If you want to watch dogs running the test, you should leave the pup in the crate, in your vehicle parked far enough away from the action because...well, it's a puppy and you don't want it barking/distracting the working dogs. And, at most HTs, dogs aren't supposed to be in the gallery (the designated area where people sit to watch the test). In fact, AKC has a rule that dogs that aren't entered are not supposed to be on the grounds at their events, but it's generally not strictly enforced. In fact, about the only time it might be is if someone brought a dog that was out of control/disturbing the working dogs.

    As a group, hunt test dogs are probably far more likely than the average house pet to be healthy and current on their vaccinations, but with a pup that has not had all its shots it's always better to err on the side of caution. As for gun noise, they don't shoot flyers in HRC, and at the tests I've been to, the poppers used aren't much louder than a cap gun. Shouldn't bother a pup when heard from a distance. Other posters are correct about dogs being jacked up at HTs, but there's no good reason ever to let a puppy approach strange dogs you don't know and especially not at a hunt test. Even dogs that are very kind and tolerant of pups, can turn into Cujos when they're fired up to go fetch ducks and leashed tightly to their owners. A baby pup should never be allowed to approach a leashed dog, whether the pup is on or off lead. If you use common sense and keep pup under control, and crate him if you want to watch dogs run, there's nothing wrong with bringing him to a hunt test.
    Julie R., Hope Springs Farm
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1981

  8. #8
    Administrator Chris Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjh345 View Post
    Your pup will be 4+ months old. If he is up on his shots, Id have no qualms about taking him and exposing him to all the interesting sights and sounds.
    When he is out of the truck, make sure you keep him on lead as you take him exploring. If he seems overwhelmed {I doubt it} take him back to the truck for a nap or some loving

    Enjoy!!
    HRC tests these days shoot primer loads. I'm not aware of any HRC event that still shoots the Field Trial poppers.

    I tend to agree with Marc. I judged an HRC several years ago and had no choice but to take my young puppy. He spent the weekend in a crate in the back of my truck, and was ironically inside one of the holding blinds for our walkup test. (meaning the truck was used as a holding blind) I actually think it helped give him some good exposure. I was prepared to park my truck a long distance from the test, but found that I never had to.

    I'd suggest that you take your pup along and be prepared to adapt as needed.
    If it's too hot, don't leave him cooking in the truck. If it's too cold, don't let him freeze. If it's too loud, be prepared to move the truck a long distance from the booms.

    Don't allow pup to wander up and "invade the space" of dogs in contention. Let them get their game face on and do what they do. Keep him on lead and handle it as needed.

    Read pup...if he's acting scared or whatever, address accordingly. If pup's wagging his tail and enjoying himself, as most puppies that I see at trials/tests do, capitalize on the opportunity. Be prepared to park your truck a LONG way from the test, just in case he's making a racket and you want to go watch some of the test.

    Just my view... Chris
    "Determining and applying the criteria for when and when not to use correction is the essence of the art of dog training. I make a distinction between a mistake and a lack of effort." - Mike Lardy - Volume I "After Collar Conditioning"

  9. #9
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjh345 View Post
    Your pup will be 4+ months old. If he is up on his shots, Id have no qualms about taking him and exposing him to all the interesting sights and sounds.
    When he is out of the truck, make sure you keep him on lead as you take him exploring. If he seems overwhelmed {I doubt it} take him back to the truck for a nap or some loving

    Enjoy!!
    I took Elvis to an HRC UH test in March of 2009, he was just 4 months old.
    He ate it up!
    The attention was very good for his socializing.
    Everyone had to come pet the puppy.
    We are all little children when we see one.
    It got us hooked, been hangin' with those guys ever since!

    I vote go for it!!!
    Stan b & Elvis

  10. #10
    Member jde512's Avatar
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    He will have had all three series of puppy shots prior to the test and has been around cap gun noises for the past couple of weeks. I traveled with him to see my dad this past weekend and he had a lot of crate time with no adverse reaction. I'll visit with the folks from the club at the meeting tomorrow and see what the general consensus might be from them. I did notice that they had a $5 registration on the entry form that was marked for "puppy" - not sure what that's all about. I appreciate all of the input!

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