So, I will start the questions off..
I have asked this question at many, many training days,at Judges and handlers seminars,, at 3 different venues.. I usually get the same response.. “My question will become more clear as I gain experience.” I hope there is a better answer.. Based on the Rule book..
Most of the venues have a comment in there rule book, along the lines of ” Marking is of Primary importance”..
Here is AKC Hunt Test rule..
Section 3. The ability to mark accurately is of primary importance. A dog which marks the fall of a bird, uses the wind, follows a strong cripple, and takes direction from its handler is of great value.
There is also the requirement that dogs proceed directly to area of fall.. The rule book spends considerable time talking about AOF.. Here is an extended passage: AKC Hut Test rule book..
"What precisely constitutes the area of the fall defies accurate definition; yet, at the outset of every marking situation, each Judge must arbitrarily define its hypothetical boundaries for himself, and for each bird, so that he can determine whether dogs have remained within his own concept of the area of the fall, as well as how far they have wandered and how much cover they have disturbed unnecessarily. In determining these arbitrary and hypothetical boundaries, due consideration should be given to various factors: (1) the type, the height and the uniformity of the cover, (2) light conditions, (3) direction of the prevailing wind and its
intensity, (4) length of the various falls, (5) whether there is a change in cover (as from stubble to plowed ground, or 44
to ripe alfalfa, or to machine-picked corn, etc.) or whether the fall is beyond a hedge, across a road, or over a ditch, etc., and, finally, and most important, (6) whether one is establishing the area of the fall for a single, or for the first bird a dog goes for in multiple retrieves, or for the second or the third bird; since each of these should differ from the others. Since there are so many conditions and variables to be taken into consideration, it is obvious that each Judge must attempt to define for himself a hypothetical area of the fall for each bird, and then numerically evaluate the dog’s Marking ability according to that definition. Individual evaluations shall take into consideration the distance a dog wanders out of the area, the frequency of such wandering, the number of birds mismarked and the amount of cover disturbed in these wanderings. A dog that disturbs cover unnecessarily, clearly well out of the area of a fall, either by not going directly to the area, or by leaving it, even though it eventually finds the bird without being handled, must be scored low in Perseverance or receive no credit in Marking on that particular bird. No credit in Marking shall be given if the dog fails to go to the area, establish a hunt and find the bird; a low score in Perseverance shall be given if the dog goes to the area, establishes a hunt then leaves to hunt elsewhere. If it becomes necessary in either situation to handle a dog, handling must be done crisply and cleanly with full control being demonstrated by handling the dog to the bird.
So,,finally my question:
Since Marking is of primary importance, and a dog must proceed directly to AOF and hunt there.. and since the tests AOF’s are based on the JUDGES Arbitrary ,and Hypothetical boundaries, How does a Handler work through unknown JUDGES arbitrary and Hypothetical boundries, when making decisions on when to handle or not?? Marking and AOF is primarily important.. Handles, most assuredly cost me..
Thanks in advance..