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Thread: Int FTCh Banchory Varnish of Wingan in Louisiana .... movie from 1938

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    Senior Member Colonel Blimp's Avatar
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    Default Int FTCh Banchory Varnish of Wingan in Louisiana .... movie from 1938

    Just a follow on from the Golden oldies thread.

    The movie starts off bit out of focus, but soon tidies itself up. The doggy action kicks in around 7.30. Smart presentation by both dogs! I've never heard of Mr Elliott, but the Banchory name jumped off the page. I wonder how influential Varnish was in US Labrador development? Banchory is all over the UK dogs.



    The bit I found most interesting was their physical size and shape .... I don't think we've improved much on that front; two really handsome fellows.

    Eug
    Last edited by Colonel Blimp; 03-01-2013 at 08:12 AM.
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    Senior Member rmilner's Avatar
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    Eug,
    Great film clip. Dave Elliot was very central to early US Retriever Field Trials. Here is some information on him:

    Dave Elliot was one of the first Scottish gamekeepers to come over and help get the Labrador established in America. In 1934 Dave was hired by Jay Carlisle to run one of the early important American Labrador kennels, Wingan. Dave Elliot was a gifted trainer and went on in later years to become a significant spokesman for the sport of field trialing. He was a contributor to Field and Stream, Country Life and The Field Trial News. In 1952 he wrote the book, Training Gundogs to Retrieve.

    Dave Elliot was one of the first trainers to train hand signals and was a cheerleader for retriever field trials, but he was not happy with the direction they had taken. In 1949 he wrote:

    "As the retriever trial season rolls around I cannot help but wonder what new and complicated tests will be given to try out the mechanical ability of our dogs. I use the word mechanical because that is exactly what we are developing. Our field trials call for precision in every performance, and they do not care from which end of the leash it comes. In fact, many tests are given today that call for a great deal more from the handler than the dog; it is like keeping a dog and doing the barking yourself. Such tests have forced the trainer to train his dogs to act only under his complete command; the dog is not allowed to quarter his ground as is the correct way for a retriever to work. He is not permitted to show his natural ability in hunting out a fall. Yet what would give greater pleasure to a retriever man than to watch that keen natural ability that puts the hallmark of excellence on all his dog’s work? It is to be regretted that this type of work is left out of our trials. A great deal of what belongs to the dog has been placed in the handler’s hands; a more artificial performance could not be demonstrated.
    Handlers and owners brag about how their dog will go in a straight line for one hundred and fifty yards unless stopped by the whistle. This is seldom called for in hunting. Niney-five per cent of your work with a retriever is accomplished within gun range, and the less whistling and handling done during a shoot will put more birds in your bag. I am sure there is nothing that will bring down more wrath on a handler’s head from his fellow gunners than one who insists on blowing whistle and waving arms to pick up a stray duck while the flight is on.
    The more we train our dogs to depend on that whistle and direction, the more helpless they are going to become, and it is going to show up in our breeding. We cannot expect the offspring of mechanical parents to show much natural ability. To keep our dogs from looking like complete mechanical nitwits, we will have to breed to the old river rat, whose natural ability has been given full scope; and only then will we get back to the old type of retriever who has a head and knows how to use it.
    The old adage of “when in doubt, trust your dog” seems to have died a silent death with the introduction of scientific training. To be able to give a dog direction out to a fall is a great asset, but I do think that we should make it the exception instead of the rule. We should encourage and protect natural ability. We will most surely lose it if we continue to monopolize those hunting instincts that make the retriever one of conservation’s greatest friends."
    Robert Milner
    www.DuckhillKennels.com


    "When he stood up to speak, battalions of words issued forth from his mouth and scoured the countryside in search of an idea, and when they found one, they swiftly and thoroughly beat it to death." ---- -Anonymous

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    Mr. Milner, I would like to hear your thoughts on what tests might be used to properly seperate the dogs in order to pick placements?

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    Senior Member luvalab's Avatar
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    I have often seen the Elliot quote repeated, with the date, but with no source.

    I don't doubt the quote--but I would love to know the source.
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    Eug, great clip and nice looking dogs. Thanks for sharing. On this side of the pond Dave Elliot is usually credited with bringing modern handling techniques to retriever field work.

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    Senior Member rmilner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gassner View Post
    Mr. Milner, I would like to hear your thoughts on what tests might be used to properly seperate the dogs in order to pick placements?
    I don't think the solution lies in trying to design tests. If it were, then the first thing to do would be remove the restriction on professionals judging. The professional retriever trainers are the corporate body of knowledge for retriever behavior.

    The real solution lies in limiting the numbers of dogs run per trial, so that it becomes feasible to judge as opposed to eliminate dogs. Become a system with a large number of small trials rather than a system with a small number of large trials. This would also alleviate some of the current hurdles facing field trials. Small trials require less labor, provide a more relaxed atmosphere and decrease burnout of club members. This might start driving club memberships upward. Also in an era of increasing travel costs, a large number of small trials would decrease the cost for the average guy for going to a field trial. He would be able to find a larger number of trials close to him.
    Robert Milner
    www.DuckhillKennels.com


    "When he stood up to speak, battalions of words issued forth from his mouth and scoured the countryside in search of an idea, and when they found one, they swiftly and thoroughly beat it to death." ---- -Anonymous

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    Senior Member Franco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel Blimp View Post
    Just a follow on from the Golden oldies thread.

    The movie starts off bit out of focus, but soon tidies itself up. The doggy action kicks in around 7.30. Smart presentation by both dogs! I've never heard of Mr Elliott, but the Banchory name jumped off the page. I wonder how influential Varnish was in US Labrador development? Banchory is all over the UK dogs.



    The bit I found most interesting was their physical size and shape .... I don't think we've improved much on that front; two really handsome fellows.

    Eug
    That video is a classic.

    I make one or two fishing trips a year next to Avery Island entering the area through Weaks Bay. The area is spectacular this time of year as well as the nearby Rip Van Winkle Gardens.

    E A Mcillhenny, shown in the video, son just passed away earlier this week. Paul was 68 years old and kept the place the way his father liked it to be kept.
    It's such a shame that in the USA, defending Liberty has become such a heroic deed.

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    Senior Member rmilner's Avatar
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    Eug,
    Just so that I don’t get accused of favoritism, here is a quote from Lorna, Countess Howe, on UK Field Trials and their evolution. Countess Howe was Banchory Kennels. She was involved very early in field trials, both as a competitor and as a judge. Expressing an opinion similar to Dave Elliot’s she wrote in the early 1950’s:

    "It should always be remembered that Trials were originally started to find out the best dogs for recovering game that is shot and to breed from these dogs to carry on such strains. ………… When I first ran dogs in Field Trials immediately after the 1914-1918 war one was expected to leave, as far as possible, game finding to the dog one was handling. In fact, it was impressed upon one that Field Trials were run to discover dogs that possessed the most natural ability. Of course, a wild dog, or a dog out of control, was penalized, but Judges paid most attention to dogs which displayed a game-finding ability greater than those which were trained to such perfection that their natural ability became subservient to reliance on their handler.It was always impressed on one that Retrievers were not sheep dogs, that their first and most important work was to find game – particularly wounded game. This is always of the greatest importance if only for humane reasons. At the present time dogs seem to rely much more on their handler’s direction than on their own nose and ability. This seems to me to be a pity, and if I were able to judge now (and many handlers must realize with relief that I am not able to!) I should heavily penalize any dog which could not find game without being placed on the absolute spot by his handler."
    Robert Milner
    www.DuckhillKennels.com


    "When he stood up to speak, battalions of words issued forth from his mouth and scoured the countryside in search of an idea, and when they found one, they swiftly and thoroughly beat it to death." ---- -Anonymous

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    Senior Member Bartona500's Avatar
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    While the abilities of American FT handlers and there dogs are so impressive to me, it is exactly the sentiment expressed in those two quotes that led me down the training path I'm on and to the pedigrees/types of dogs I am looking for. I definitely don't want to take away from the skill and difficulty of the FT or HT guys on here, which far surpasses mind, but there is something to be said of the heritage of "letting the dog do what it was bred to do", and the sportsmanship of this history.

    Thanks, Eug, for the video & Robert for the quotes.
    -Barton Ramsey

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    The idea of a field trial is a contest with a winner a 3 other placements. It's not hunting. The training and dog's abilities have improved to the point of being extreme to get separation. So be it. Take a field trial dog hunting and it will start hunting. They're still labs with an extreme desire to get birds. They can and will use their noses and thinking ability.They just need exposure to hunting.They can tell the difference after doing so and are a pleasure to hunt with.Yes, there are knuckleheads too in both FT,HT, and just hunting dogs from whatever side of the Atlantic.
    Jeff Gruber
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