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Thread: USA vs World

  1. #51
    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    For those in the UK.......
    I felt like writing a bit about how we do things here. Hopefully it may clear up some misconceptions and give you an idea about how we field trial. Hope it makes sense as sometimes I’m even confused. lol
    There are major differences between our expectations and yours that is certain. We don’t have any tests at all on dummies as rules require ducks and or pheasant be used. As we use farm raised game we have no restrictions on running trials out of hunting seasons. We do not drive or flush birds at field trials but rather hand toss birds from fixed locations. The only time we don’t conduct actual field trials are the 2 or 3 months of winter and summer when most people concentrate on training, moving to south in winter and north in summer. Field Trials are always 3 day events that flow north or south from one week to the next with the seasons. As we place great emphases on dogs water ability we prefer not to trial in freezing water though it may occur. In order to reduce the risk of injury to our dogs, many of whom are worth more than a Range Rover, we do things different here. Judges will walk and inspect field for hidden dangers, we never climb up high walls, jump fences or barbed wire. We do not set tests were birds or dogs path will be near natural dangers like ground hog holes, thick sticker thorns, dangerous rocks etc. We try not set tests where it is clear dog will be out of our sight for more than a few seconds.
    .
    In the US & Canada, Marks are the Dogs Responsibility. Blinds are the handlers Responsibility. It is somewhat the reverse overseas as I understand it.
    So basically we relinquish control to dog on the marks, dog yields control to us on the blinds.
    .
    Our rules require that each Mark, as it falls to ground, be visible to the Dog and his view of fall shall not be obscured. We value a dog with Memory. If dog can't count to 3 or 4 and remember where each bird fell he will end up a pet dog somewhere. Birds are presented to dog with dog sitting by Handler at heel. (most of the time). Each of ~80+ dogs sees and retrieves the exact same marks and blinds as the other dogs. That is, all dogs run from the same door mat, guns are in fixed positions designated by judges and toss birds to same spot for each dog. Normally, a dog is visible to the judges and handler at all times. Our marking tests are 3 or 4 birds shot one after the other (to save $ one live bird is shot, the rest are cold birds hand thrown, with a 12Ga shot). Essentially each dog must do a better job, eye wiping the poorer jobs in the judges eyes to survive and move on to next test. On our marking tests if a handler needs to blow the whistle to help dog he is often eliminated. (the exception being a quick crisp handle occasionally bests a long protracted hunt). All else being equal a dog stepping on a bird on first pass will defeat a dog requiring 2 passes or a handle. In our field trials marks are normally in the 100 yard to 400 yard range, the same for blinds both on Land & Water. Generally about 7 dogs can be run on a marking test within one hour. It is not unheard of for a water marking test to take 20 minutes of swimming for one dog to complete. The most difficult water retrieve occurring near the end of those 20 minutes when dogs memory of it has likely faded. With ~12 dogs typically surviving to the 4th series water marks, often with similar work prior, a dogs performance on the very last bird may determine if he wins or slips to award of merit.
    .
    For land & water Blinds judges identify the precise location of birds to every handler. Since blinds are often 300+ yards distant some folks have difficulty "seeing" the location. Binoculars hung around neck are the norm for running blinds, as are whistles that can be heard 400 yards away, in a stiff cross wind, while dog is swimming. Main reason no one here would use 401 Spaniel whistle.
    On our Blinds, by rule, dog should not go out of sight of handler for but a moment. (there are minor exceptions). Essentially FT blinds are a demonstration of our control over dog and dogs willingness to relinquish his senses and accept our direction in the face of contradictory factors. Yes, I know you smell a bird over there but I want you to go here and I’m not telling you again! lol
    On a blind imagine driving dog through a field or pond keeping him within width of a road for 300 yards while trying not to let dog stray off to either side if he happens to see or smell something inviting. A dog who complies with our direction to the bird WE want without too much zig-zag or handling along the way will normally be judged to have done a good job.
    Last edited by Breck; 02-23-2013 at 11:49 AM.
    "Darla" AFC Candlewoods Lil Smokin Tequila (2002-2013)(fondly remembered)
    "Smoke" Smokin Auggies Menace, QAA (2003- )(retired nut case, ask Rando)
    "Simba" Humewood Simba (1999-2014)(my 1st dog)

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    Per favore, non mi rompere i coglioni.
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  2. #52
    Senior Member John Lash's Avatar
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    Well said Breck. I would add a normal trial starts with marks on land, then a blind or blinds on land, blind on water and lastly marks on the water for a fourth series. There is an honor somewhere too, usually the first series.

    The Derby dogs are aged 2 years and under. They typically get 4 series with 2 marks in each series, 2 series on land and 2 on water. No blinds, no honor. If you handle on a mark elimination is required.

    I think one of the best things about the trials are that all dogs run the same test.
    John Lash

    "If you run Field Trials, you learn to swallow your disappointment quickly."

    "Field trials are not a game for good dogs. They're for great dogs with great training." E. Graham

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breck View Post
    For those in the UK.......
    I felt like writing a bit about how we do things here. Hopefully it may clear up some misconceptions and give you an idea about how we field trial. Hope it makes sense as sometimes I’m even confused. lol
    There are major differences between our expectations and yours that is certain. We don’t have any tests at all on dummies as rules require ducks and or pheasant be used. As we use farm raised game we have no restrictions on running trials out of hunting seasons. We do not drive or flush birds at field trials but rather hand toss birds from fixed locations. The only time we don’t conduct actual field trials are the 2 or 3 months of winter and summer when most people concentrate on training, moving to south in winter and north in summer. Field Trials are always 3 day events that flow north or south from one week to the next with the seasons. As we place great emphases on dogs water ability we prefer not to trial in freezing water though it may occur. In order to reduce the risk of injury to our dogs, many of whom are worth more than a Range Rover, we do things different here. Judges will walk and inspect field for hidden dangers, we never climb up high walls, jump fences or barbed wire. We do not set tests were birds or dogs path will be near natural dangers like ground hog holes, thick sticker thorns, dangerous rocks etc. We try not set tests where it is clear dog will be out of our sight for more than a few seconds.
    .
    In the US & Canada, Marks are the Dogs Responsibility. Blinds are the handlers Responsibility. It is somewhat the reverse overseas as I understand it.
    So basically we relinquish control to dog on the marks, dog yields control to us on the blinds.
    .
    Our rules require that each Mark, as it falls to ground, be visible to the Dog and his view of fall shall not be obscured. We value a dog with Memory. If dog can't count to 3 or 4 and remember where each bird fell he will end up a pet dog somewhere. Birds are presented to dog with dog sitting by Handler at heel. (most of the time). Each of ~80+ dogs sees and retrieves the exact same marks and blinds as the other dogs. That is, all dogs run from the same door mat, guns are in fixed positions designated by judges and toss birds to same spot for each dog. Normally, a dog is visible to the judges and handler at all times. Our marking tests are 3 or 4 birds shot one after the other (to save $ one live bird is shot, the rest are cold birds hand thrown, with a 12Ga shot). Essentially each dog must do a better job, eye wiping the poorer jobs in the judges eyes to survive and move on to next test. On our marking tests if a handler needs to blow the whistle to help dog he is often eliminated. (the exception being a quick crisp handle occasionally bests a long protracted hunt). All else being equal a dog stepping on a bird on first pass will defeat a dog requiring 2 passes or a handle. In our field trials marks are normally in the 100 yard to 400 yard range, the same for blinds both on Land & Water. Generally about 7 dogs can be run on a marking test within one hour. It is not unheard of for a water marking test to take 20 minutes of swimming for one dog to complete. The most difficult water retrieve occurring near the end of those 20 minutes when dogs memory of it has likely faded. With ~12 dogs typically surviving to the 4th series water marks, often with similar work prior, a dogs performance on the very last bird may determine if he wins or slips to award of merit.
    .
    For land & water Blinds judges identify the precise location of birds to every handler. Since blinds are often 300+ yards distant some folks have difficulty "seeing" the location. Binoculars hung around neck are the norm for running blinds, as are whistles that can be heard 400 yards away, in a stiff cross wind, while dog is swimming. Main reason no one here would use 401 Spaniel whistle.
    On our Blinds, by rule, dog should not go out of sight of handler for but a moment. (there are minor exceptions). Essentially FT blinds are a demonstration of our control over dog and dogs willingness to relinquish his senses and accept our direction in the face of contradictory factors. Yes, I know you smell a bird over there but I want you to go here and I’m not telling you again! lol
    On a blind imagine driving dog through a field or pond keeping him within width of a road for 300 yards while trying not to let dog stray off to either side if he happens to see or smell something inviting. A dog who complies with our direction to the bird WE want without too much zig-zag or handling along the way will normally be judged to have done a good job.
    What Breck didn't say was whenever possible we tend to use technical water for testing

    On a given piece of technical water there are a finite number of "Big League Marks" . Over time these marks become school marks for those dogs that train there

    Additionally as more of this technical water is built and used for testing, the water marks have become more and more contrived,and the emphasis placed on the line to it has overshadowed marking so much so that if one does not have ample access to technical water to train on this type of lining they have all most an insurmountable uphill battle ahead of them when being tested..

    john
    Last edited by john fallon; 02-23-2013 at 12:50 PM.
    "i guess the old saying 'those of us that think we know everything annoy those of you that does' " --bobbyb 9/13/06

    "A Good Dog is a Good Dog"

  4. #54
    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    And Eug
    In the maps sent were locations of best technical water in America. If you use your imagination placing dog, guns and bird falls in and around the properties you will see what we face.
    "Darla" AFC Candlewoods Lil Smokin Tequila (2002-2013)(fondly remembered)
    "Smoke" Smokin Auggies Menace, QAA (2003- )(retired nut case, ask Rando)
    "Simba" Humewood Simba (1999-2014)(my 1st dog)

    .
    Per favore, non mi rompere i coglioni.
    Grazie




  5. #55
    Senior Member Colonel Blimp's Avatar
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    If you use your imagination placing dog, guns and bird falls in and around the properties you will see what we face.
    Nothing to it. Can't see what your problem is!!

    Eug
    Thank you, very kind, Mine's a pint.

  6. #56
    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    And given same marks and blinds for all dogs there are advantages and dissadvantages to running first, twenty first, or last. Early little to no bird or dog scent is present but possible bad paths haven't developed. Early sun may be in dogs eyes, later a key gun may be in shadows. Running early handler has not seen other dogs fall into judges traps were later handlers may make adjustments. Wind direction may switch. Bird your dog had great difficulty with will be easier for dogs with more favorable wind. There may be tall cover midway to bird that collects drag back scent. Dogs may stop short to hunt there ruining their run. Etc etc.
    "Darla" AFC Candlewoods Lil Smokin Tequila (2002-2013)(fondly remembered)
    "Smoke" Smokin Auggies Menace, QAA (2003- )(retired nut case, ask Rando)
    "Simba" Humewood Simba (1999-2014)(my 1st dog)

    .
    Per favore, non mi rompere i coglioni.
    Grazie




  7. #57
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    Some very good posts on this thread - having grown up & hunted SD in the 40's & 50's & participated in the corn field drives can imagine a driven shoot - we used to get 300 to 700 birds up with every change in cover hunting without dogs.

    We have Nettles here (use Weedmaster to control them) & call brackens, Ferns here, & have some, very thick like a sugar beet plant - perfect lab hunting cover.
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  8. #58
    Senior Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Grading degree of difficulty from 0 to 10 - 10 being the most difficult.

    How would you grade US and UK field competitions?
    Field trial labradors, the wind beneath my wings,

    sometimes poop under my boots.

  9. #59
    Senior Member Dave Flint's Avatar
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    I find it fascinating how differently our field trials have evolved in what we expect & how we evaluate performance. Since I’ve never seen a British field trial, all of this is admittedly conjecture on my part but from what I understand, the British demand the highest degree of obedience & absolute composure “at the line”, even to a degree that seems absurd (tossed for yawning?). On the other hand, from an American perspective, the work in the field as described sounds quite unsophisticated (Handling on marks & hunting on blinds?) compared to an American trial.

    I suppose some of the differences can be explained by the fact that American Labs are primarily used as waterfowl dogs and therefore we want to be able to direct a swimming dog straight to the bird. In the British hunting tradition, the birds are shot (often at great range) over land where they may hit the ground running so a handler that insisted on handling a dog could easily be giving the dog bad information.

    The other major difference though I think is “cultural”. While the American sporting tradition includes all social levels with even many wealthy patrons having roots that were poor & rural, in Great Britain hunting has always been exclusive to the upper class. I think this may be why they expect their dogs to comport themselves in the most “gentlemanly” manner.

    There seems to be something in the American nature that appreciates a barely restrained wildness that is reflected in how we appreciate dog work. We want our pointers to run so big that a scout on horseback is required to help keep track of him, our spaniels are expected to accelerate into the flush often snapping at the bird in the air & our retrievers run straighter & farther than anywhere else but we’re willing to overlook a bit of unruly behavior at the line even though we are supposedly all evaluating hunting dogs.

    Personally, I think that both perspectives have merit. Each game elevates specific traits; composure & nose in the British version & memory & drive in the American. I have always thought that the Hunt Test programs went astray when they modeled themselves as 2nd class field trials. I wish that they had more in common w/ the values of the British game. I think that's why "British Labs" are promoted in this country to fill the niche for which Hunt Tests missed the boat.
    "The bird hunter watches only the dog, and always knows where the dog is, whether or not visible at the moment. The dog’ nose is the bird hunters eye. Many hunters who carry a shotgun in season have never learned to watch the dog, or interpret his reaction to scent."
    Aldo Leopold, Round River

  10. #60
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    "...... I have always thought that the Hunt Test programs went astray when they modeled themselves as 2nd class field trials. I wish that they had more in common w/ the values of the British game. I think that's why "British Labs" are promoted in this country to fill the niche for which Hunt Tests missed the boat."

    I think this is one of the best statements I have seen for awhile.
    Tom Dorroh

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