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Does your club hold training days for members?

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Discussion Starter #1
Good Sunday morning all,
This is the time of year that many of us are brainstorming about next years retriever club activities. The licensed events are pretty much set and now the placement of club tests and other activities are sprinkled in-between to fill out the calendar. At this time the topic of club sponsored training days always rears its controversial head. My club, for the past three summers has not held official training days. We do have some folk request them and other grizzled veterans of the club against them. The people for them always ask the question "What has my club given me in return for my dues". The people against always bring up the example of a rookie with a brand new collar "cooking" their dog in front of everyone at a club event. Bad PR, bad dog training, and bad feelings all around. And they bring up the fact that it is only one day and if you have 30 people show up then you get maybe 10 minutes for your dog and then it is back on the truck. Now personally, even the last time my club had an "official" day I did not attend. And when asked what I get for my membership I say I have a membership list and a phone and on a Thursday evening I can call up a few folks and grab some birds and put a training day together for the weekend that will give me time to work my dogs and be productive. Three-four people with a dozen dogs and a case of mountain dew and I am set. Now I have spoken with other clubs that say they feel the biggest draw they have for membership it the club sponsored training days they hold.
So my question, yes there is a question after all that. Does your retriever club offer club sponsored scheduled training days for your members? If yes how do you set them up? What rules or protocol do you follow to keep everyone happy as there are many different training styles and degrees of correction in each style. Do you use a pro trainer for the setup or just take turns?
Thank you all.
Ken Bora
 

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Yes my club does hold training days and a couple of "picnic tests" every year.

The club president and one other guy usually set up the day of and grab helpers as needed. No pros. Not really a set protocol as far as training styles or corrections. Usually the "marshall" is very experience and will offer advise to a new person if needed.

The biggest thing I've seen is the time management I've talked to 3 or 4 brand new members who aren't coming back due to standing around for 5 hours and their dog getting 3 retrieves.

There really needs to be at least 2 if not 3 things going on at once if you are going to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it is just a BS session for the established members and downright miserable for the new member who volunteers to throw and gets stuck on a bucket for 3 hours straight in late Feb.

The Sat and Sun mornings with about 5 people are what I get the most out of.

As far as getting something from the dues, my club is $25 per year and that gives you vehicle access to 320 acres which is the only designated dog training site in E. Washington. Pretty good deal.

Doc E belongs to my club too so I am sure he'll have some additional thoughts.

Ken, that case of mountain dew is making my teeth rot just thinkin about it.
 

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HOTRC holds club training days throughout the year. It was a club training day that got me going in the games. While they may not be the best use of training time, they are worth thier wieght in gold for getting new members active. Our club caters to new and inexperienced handlers on club days. So before Club training days are throw under the bus, remember how important they are in new member recruitement.
Mike
 

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CFHRC has a club sponsored training day each month. We have two members that are in charge of the setups each month. We try to have one water and one land setup at each session. If we have access to live birds we will also do an upland setup.
We try and structure each one so members can get their dogs in a HT type environment. Also, members are encouraged to simplify each series and run it at the level their dog is at in training. Appropriate corrections are encouraged. There is always an experienced member present to help.
Up until now members have been required to throw at each station before they run their dog. The advantage is that new members learn how to throw and more importantly help out dogs from a gun station. However, due to time issues we are debating hiring kids to throw at training days.
We also try to have a clays setup so people can get experience handling a gun with help available.

Buck
 

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Who goes to the large club training days to actually train dogs? I go to see the politics, see the infighting among the club officers, the struggle for dominance among the large egos, the poor training setups with no clearly defined purpose. Heck, thats better than dinner and a movie. I go to see old friends who live to far away to visit regularly, so we meet halfway at the club day and take side bets on which ego prevails. Once in awhile I actually see a setup that looks worthwhile enough to actually get a dog off the truck and stand in holding blinds for an hour to run. I go for the dinner and beer that follows the day of entertainment. Heck, if I wanted to train retrievers I?d go with my training group, if I wanted to train newbies who burn out after a junior title, I?d get a part time job at Petsmart and train lap dogs how to sit in a circle.

/Paul
 

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one of the pet peeves over the years is from hard-core members who work hard is to complain that newcomers don't help, want them to train their dogs, and are at the same place month after month.
That's my take on it too. A couple of people bust their humps so everyone else can stand around and BS. My time is valuable to me especially daylight hours in the winter.
 

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For now-I belong to 2 clubs. I joined a small club in NH because I was constantly invited to their training days even though I wasn't a member. Some of the folks post to RTF. I like the camraderie & it's invaluable to have knowledgable people design set ups & critique. The option is open not to be critiqued also. Egos are checked at the door. Some folks have hunting dogs that will never run a test & it goes from there up to Master level dogs. From the second I pull up I'm among friends who are always happy to see Kate. I feel the same about their dogs & to watch a dog progress makes it all very worthwhile.

Even though they are a small club they're looking into bringing in top notch trainers for seminars. I get more for my dues than I'm paying for & in return I'll work their tests anytime whether I'm running a dog or not.

Like Paul pointed out-I don't need training days to train my dog, but I do think it's a good thing to offer members who work hard to put on the licensed events.

M
 

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Howard N said:
one of the pet peeves over the years is from hard-core members who work hard is to complain that newcomers don't help, want them to train their dogs, and are at the same place month after month.
That's my take on it too. A couple of people bust their humps so everyone else can stand around and BS. My time is valuable to me especially daylight hours in the winter.
\

That is the typical operation for the clubs I have been a member of in years pasted but I will say the Tulsa Retriever club is a bit different. We run the young dog stuff last but not least.
 

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I currently belong to 2 retriever clubs - next year I will only belong to 1 club. One club holds monthly training days during the spring/summer and they are for the most part a waste of time. Poor set ups, very unorganized and frankly I get really tired of throwing for 2 hours and I see some people coming back and running the same set up again 2 and 3 times and my dogs haven't run at all.

The other club I belong to, in the past had one training day per year and ran about 4 sanctioned trial/tests. This past year it was decided to try training days instead of the sanctioned. The turn out was very poor which was a good thing for those of us that did show up - got some good work with some experienced people. I don't know what the club will decide to do for the coming year - the annual meeting isn't til probably April.

So I guess my answer is, it depends. :D

Andy
 

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Boy oh boy, does Gundog have it pegged to a T!!!!
Still, the opportunity to train in a trial atmosphere cannot be overstated.
The newbs, shouldn't be complaining about how many marks for the time.
Every dog that runs can teach us something. How many marks are you going to run Fido on in a day anyway? With the way things are looking, for the future of amatuer trainers (ie fewer & fewer hunters with each generation), The newbs and the Crusty's owe it to themselves to promote the game in this manner.
That is, if they want to run trials in their retirement.
 

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Ken,

YWHRC in Ct/RI has club training days pretty much monthly durring the spring and summer. Here are a few ideas they use to keep things organized, and running reasonably well.

1. Sign up in advance is mandatory.

2. Session leaders, and group leaders.

3. Small fee per dog. I think it's $5.00

4. Membership breaks up into small groups (hunt test, hunter, and puppy) to keep the groups smaller.

5. Monthly membership meeting at noon time break.

You benifit in different ways from training with a small group vs. a large group. I like to mix it up. Most of the time, I'm training by myself with my wingers, so a large group is a pleasant diversion once in a while.

Regards,
Steve
 

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This newbie sat on a bucket for 3 hrs throwing and ran his dog for 5 min. picking up 3 birds. It was about 20 degrees and blowing. I was dressed for the cold but was not expecting to be dressed like I was stand hunting for deer.

I think I'll complain a little, thanks Labber. I am also going to try and see if I can run things differently next spring.

Like I said, I know of at least 3 people that aren't coming back because of this was their first experience with retriever clubs. I only came back because I knew what the normal Saturdays were like with the small groups.
 

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What we have been doing at our training days is have each handler rotate through each station then run their dog. It takes a little more time, but no one gets stuck throwing for hours. If they have more than one dog, they have to do the rotation for each dog. It works pretty well.

Buck
 

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Brian,

I am also a member of the Spokane club but I live on the west side of the mountains. Since I know a lot of the people there, they are very resposive if they know or are told of any short comings. I would suggest to your friends to let themselves be known to some of the active members and I am sure they will very willingly help them out. Also, it should be pointed out that any trainer learns a lot by watching other people working their dogs. Speaking from experience, I have learned a lot by this method.

WALLY
 

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FYI
Up coming Training Day (aka Picnic Trial)

From Ken Eckhardt:
DEL BAY RETRIEVER CLUB will hold its first fall picnic trial next Sunday (the 21st) at the C&D Canal Retriever Training Area in Delaware. Sixty flyers have been ordered. They will go to the first sixty dogs registered. Registration begins around 8:00 and goes to about 9:00. We will meet on the main road near the newly relocated sign ... Summit Retriever Training Area.

Cost: Handler - 1 time charge of $10.00. Cost of flyers ... $10.00 or $11.00 per bird (depends on what the Club is charged when they are picked up)

Bring your training gear: white coats, duck calls, chairs, shotgun, etc. Club will furnish live ammo and poppers.

Hope to run a minimum of three series per dog.
All are welcome.... Club members and non-club members.
(Bring your own coffee and lunch)
We will have something for all handlers (and dogs) ...
those just getting started and those who are experienced at dog training and handling.
 

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Ken;

The ACC members in N. CA used to hold monthly training days. Basically, these were split into Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced. The Advanced people had the most "hanging around waiting" because of the bigger setups. Then again, these are experienced people who are accustomed to tis kind of down-time, and need this exposure for their dogs.

Intermediate was at the WDX/JH level. Singles and doubles, but no blinds. This usually had the largest attendence, but moved quickly because singles and doubles don't take long.

Beginners got their own session, and extra helpers/teachers. These are the folks who need the most "hands-on" work. because this is basic intro to retrieves, birds, etc. it goes pretty quickly.

I hope to revive this 3-tiered training day program here in upstate NY. We're planning a training day for some time in May. You are welcome to come.

As far as what corrections, etc., well you need to set parameters, and print those right on the flyer. We had everything from raw recruits with 8-week-old puppies, to people fine-tuning their QAA dogs. I only recall a couple of head-butting matches between dog and handler that got ugly. These people were quietly pulled aside and talked to. It didn't happen again. The larger issue is people wanting to show off how well-trained their dogs are, and letting them wander around the parking area unleashed. We had a couple of bad fights that way.

Overall, it can, and I believe SHOULD be done. How else are we ever to train people in bird throwing, blind planting, marshalling, and judging? These training days are more about building solid workers, and developing good relations among members (especially newcomers), rather than actually training dogs, which as we all know happens day-to-day.

Lisa
 

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My club tries to hold a training day once a month. Our grounds are used by several other groups, some dog related and some not. So our scheduled weekend doesn't always fall on a convienent time. especially during testing season. Basically we have a "hardcore" group that will show up for every session. Everyone has a little say in the way a setup is constructed, and everyone takes turns running dogs and throwing birds. It's fairly social and club business is often addressed and discussed. Everyone brings a dish to pass and has a laugh at lunch. We usually see about 10-12 people and maybe 12-15 dogs. The group is small enough that we can stay in one group and make adjustments to the setup for the level of each dog. Corrections are allowed and advice is given. Several members also get together outside of these events to train together.
New members are encouraged to attend, and puppy sessions take place on the sidelines.
 

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Brian, I meant no offense in my post referring to "Newbs".
I would be put off by throwing for 3 hrs too. Experienced trainers shouldn't allow this to happen. Throwers should only be taking 5 or 6 birds out, and then rotate gunners.
You mentioned about standing around for 5 hrs while some socialized.
I just feel that there is as much to learn from watching other trainers and dogs, at all different levels. A day out there is hardly a waste.
Personally, after an hour throwing when others havent taken their turn, I would make it known that I was abandoning my post.
Labber
 
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