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Discussion Starter #21
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.
In the states where I usually run, flyers are not often shot in Junior anymore. It always seemed to me that clubs would often put they worst, or least experienced, gunners in Junior. I always thought that the best gunners should be in Junior. I recall one test many years ago when the Junior gunners were either totally missing birds, or if they did hit them, they were ragging them. I brought a dog to the line and the gunners blew his bird to pieces. I swear I saw 5 pieces fall out of the sky. The judges didn't call a "no-bird". I sent the dog, he flew out there and picked up I guess the biggest piece he could find. He came running back and 10 feet from the judges and me, stopped, hiked his leg and peed without dropping the piece of bird, then came to heel and delivered the piece. I laughed, turned to the judges and said, "I'm pretty sure that was his comment on the gunners". 馃槀
 
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From the above senario; it was a test dog which is why the Judges probably didn't call no-bird. If a No bird was called it would most likely be because it didnt land anywhere close to the correct area. Now depending on the level and which bird it was judges in a HT still might or might not call a No bird. If they didn't call one most likely they would send the dog and see how the dog handles it; judge accordingly. I could see this in MH and SH; dogs at those levels have more training and shouldn't be overly intimidated by gunners, who are hopefully being quite and not moving. A Dog in Any level would be failed for not picking up or engaging a crippled bird; if the dog was sent. I dislike calling No birds and will not do it for what I consider a retrievable cripples. That said if the dog was sent to retrieve and could not locate the bird; testing would be halted judges would go out and attempt to locate bird, if bird cannot be easily located and has become MIA. The dog will get a rerun. If bird is located and it is determined that the dog should've been able to retrieve it dog will be failed. I have seen one senario where this wasn't the case where a bird landed in a ground hornets nest. In that case; the dog was stung several times, trying to retrieve bird it was the last bird and the dog was judged to the location of the fall.
 

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If a bird is blown to bits it is unfair to a dog to be made to retrieve pieces. As a judge I would walk out and have a talk with the gunners if they are that inconsistent. Also if it is a very live bird it is not good to call the dog off of a bird when sluicing it makes it dangerous. A no bird is a good call in those cases. What would you do hunting? Sluice the bird BEFORE sending the dog. I try to set up tests ( field trial) that are not contrary to training.

Jeff G
 

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I think teaching a dog to pick up a cripple is really important. And it is so easy to do. For $15 buy a duck and clip a few flight feathers and you're in business.
 
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