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So, last Sunday, I was working at our Golden Retriever clubs annual WC/WCX. It was, as always, at my "other" grounds 10 minutes away from my grounds at our home and my wife is always the chairman. So, one of the things I always do is gun the flyers. I typically don't miss, but the bird for the test dog (a flatcoat), hooked immediately and came back on us. The other gunner and I were rushed and it was only 5 feet away. We both missed. It's standing there 10 feet from us totally unscathed. The handler sent his dog, the dog, who actually has a couple of Master passes, ran to within a few feet of the bird, slammed on the brakes, stood there for a minute, then ran back to the handler. We caught the bird, stopped using the winger and changed the angle of the throw to prevent the same problem and got the job done. Later in the morning, I said something to the owner/handler about the dog blinking. He said that any judge that knew what he was doing would have called that a no-bird because it was totally live and standing there staring his dog down. This guy is fairly new to the game. I disagreed with him and said I've had that same thing happen in hunt tests including in a Senior test and a no bird is never called. The difference is that the dogs I was running tackled the duck. Call it a no-bird because it's so close to us, maybe, but not because it's live. What say you? Is that a no-bird or not?
 
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No bird. I realize that many of these birds are not going to fly off, but in the case one does when the dog approaches then what?

That said, I believe it behooves all trainers of gundogs to put their dog on live birds and make sure the dog is comfortable with chasing down a cripple/shackled bird. For young dogs I tape the beak shut. Those birds can get mean after being used once or twice for such training. LOL.
 

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Hey Paul - curious what your thoughts would be if the bird had landed in the 'landing zone' - but had been a complete miss. You've been judging for 'a really long time'. Has this happened under your watch?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If a bird is alive and walking around in the area of the fall it is not a no bird. If the bird is at the gunners feet alive or dead it is a no bird.
That’s exactly my opinion.
 
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no one has said what happens if the bird is not caught by the dog. It seems crazy to me. What if the bird is a pheasant and runs? Is the dog expected to chase and catch it (perhaps for quite a distance) or til it flushes and then come back? what do the judges do? tell the handler to call the dog back and come back for a rerun? What if the same bird gets to water (is a duck)?
 

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no one has said what happens if the bird is not caught by the dog. It seems crazy to me. What if the bird is a pheasant and runs? Is the dog expected to chase and catch it (perhaps for quite a distance) or til it flushes and then come back? what do the judges do? tell the handler to call the dog back and come back for a rerun? What if the same bird gets to water (is a duck)?
You have presented three very different scenarios. If the live bird is a duck on land it is not going far and the dog is expected to retrieve it regardless of it’s condition. A pheasant would no longer be in the AOF by the time the dog arrives there, this is not always apparent to the judges or the live guns and is only apparent when the dog is unable to find the bird, it is a no bird. A live swimming duck will dive and is a no bird unless it’s condition is unknown when the dog is sent and the dog retrieves it.
 

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The lesson to take from this is, train with shackled ducks occasionally. A young dog that has never retrieved a live bird may or may not retrieve one at an event.
 

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What Dr Ed and Don say. I have a dog that failed a Q because a bird started flapping when she picked it up and then dropped it and would not pick it up again. The basis for a retriever is to bring back birds, especially cripples and it states so in the rule book. ( can't quote chapt and verse though). I worked on that afterward with live birds thrown and missed on purpose. Not an issue now. The frustrating thing it was a small field and they had 6 no birds from those gunners.
 

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You have presented three very different scenarios. If the live bird is a duck on land it is not going far and the dog is expected to retrieve it regardless of it’s condition. A pheasant would no longer be in the AOF by the time the dog arrives there, this is not always apparent to the judges or the live guns and is only apparent when the dog is unable to find the bird, it is a no bird. A live swimming duck will dive and is a no bird unless it’s condition is unknown when the dog is sent and the dog retrieves it.
Thanks Dr Ed
I have not had/seen a scenario as described by Don at a test. Have seen no birds that landed outside the AOF, of course. I am certain test/trial birds are not wise like the 'training' birds I use. LOL
 

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If the dog confronts a lively flyer the dog SHOULD make an attempt to retrieve it. The judges SHOULD also call a no-bird.

At the end of the day these tests and trials should mimic the day's hunt and crippled birds are a part of that world. In fairness to each entry the AOF and bird condition should be the same.

I really like seeing a dog work out a lively bird. But time spent doing that burns memory and makes for an unfair test. Head shot birds will often flop about even though dead as a stone. Tough to tell the difference from the line on that one.
 

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Hey Paul - curious what your thoughts would be if the bird had landed in the 'landing zone' - but had been a complete miss. You've been judging for 'a really long time'. Has this happened under your watch?
We generally tell the gunners, before the test starts, to sluice a bird like that immediately. The flyers in most of our tests are not the short bird, and always shot 'out' of the test, so it's safe if they don't hesitate.
 

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We generally tell the gunners, before the test starts, to sluice a bird like that immediately. The flyers in most of our tests are not the short bird, and always shot 'out' of the test, so it's safe if they don't hesitate.
thanks Paul, that is the way I have seen such scenarios play out.
 

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We generally tell the gunners, before the test starts, to sluice a bird like that immediately. The flyers in most of our tests are not the short bird, and always shot 'out' of the test, so it's safe if they don't hesitate.
I have no issue with sluicing the bird but if you sluice one you should sluice them all.
 

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That is my preference on water tests, but not on land.
It’s a different bird if you sluice regardless of land or water, on land it intensifies the scent concentration and often kicks up a cloud of dust, not consistent to sluice for some but not all
 

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Nothing is perfect. Too often I have watched 3 guys chase a crippled or unshot bird around in a field for what seemed to be an eternity, spreading scent that way. Sometimes they never catch/find the bird, but someone else's dog does later in the test while hunting an area far from where it's (dead) bird is.
Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often.
 

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The one thing I would love to see in all lower-level tests--AKC junior/UKC started--or as a stand-alone test in higher levels--is every entrant must pick up one crippled bird. It would be great if there was some sort of fair-to-all entrants way to test for picking up a crippled/disabled bird. I understand this would be against AKC and UKC rules to intentionally use disabled birds. Too bad because picking up cripples is such a valuable part of a bird dog's skills.
 

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I had placed a handful of birds retrieved from the live bird station at the end of a trail at a nahra field test. One was a Lazarus bird. Coming back to life as the first dog arrived. Ran a large loop, dog in hot pursuit. Then died a second time.
The huggers would have a field day if we did it on purpose.
 
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