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I don't have the article with me (traveling), but I found this article useful:
A List of the Key Concepts Required for an Advanced Field Trial Dog Retrievers Online 2014 25 2 14-15

Dennis Voigt also has some excellent points in:
  • Transition level-Make or break Time!
    Even with good Basics, the Transition level is a critical stage. Dogs are now moving into large-scale field situations, new experiences, new challenges. It is an important time that requires careful building and attention to ABC (Attiude, Balance and Control). Learn more here.
Part of the Retrievers Online series: Keys to Transition Marking and Handling
 

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For those who send their dogs off to pro's, at what age have you generally finished that initial evaluation and determined your dog is what you are looking for to progress into an all age competitor before sending it off to a professional ?
 

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When my 4 month old Clooney son was running a 150 to 200 yard back pile and picking out 150 yard guns I kinda thought I have something here.
But I started him at 8 weeks running to a white bucket for marks and it gradually progressed from there. He was the easiest to start and picked up on everything very fast.
Unfortunately he has a bad hip
 

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I am a pragmatist - and an optimist. Before I invest in training, I have OFA prelims done on hips and elbows. If the dog doesn't pass, it doesn't enter training. That's the pragmatist. If the dog is sound, it goes off to training, that's the optimist. From that point on, I rely on what I see and the trainer sees.
 
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When my 4 month old Clooney son was running a 150 to 200 yard back pile and picking out 150 yard guns I kinda thought I have something here.
But I started him at 8 weeks running to a white bucket for marks and it gradually progressed from there. He was the easiest to start and picked up on everything very fast.
Unfortunately he has a bad hip
Damn... he really showed some good qualities as a youngster
 

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I am a pragmatist - and an optimist. Before I invest in training, I have OFA prelims done on hips and elbows. If the dog doesn't pass, it doesn't enter training. That's the pragmatist. If the dog is sound, it goes off to training, that's the optimist. From that point on, I rely on what I see and the trainer sees.
I had x rays done at 6 months he is a house and hunting dog now
 

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When my 4 month old Clooney son was running a 150 to 200 yard back pile and picking out 150 yard guns I kinda thought I have something here.
But I started him at 8 weeks running to a white bucket for marks and it gradually progressed from there. He was the easiest to start and picked up on everything very fast.
Unfortunately he has a bad hip
I wanted to hit a "like" for this post but seemed inappropriate after reading the last line in it. That's just terrible **** luck.
 

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I am a pragmatist - and an optimist. Before I invest in training, I have OFA prelims done on hips and elbows. If the dog doesn't pass, it doesn't enter training. That's the pragmatist. If the dog is sound, it goes off to training, that's the optimist. From that point on, I rely on what I see and the trainer sees.
Makes sense. At what age is that, generally?
 

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When my 4 month old Clooney son was running a 150 to 200 yard back pile and picking out 150 yard guns I kinda thought I have something here.
But I started him at 8 weeks running to a white bucket for marks and it gradually progressed from there. He was the easiest to start and picked up on everything very fast.
Unfortunately he has a bad hip
Having a bad hip does not disqualify a dog from competition unless they are clinically affected, lots of them are unaware they are dysplastic (NAFC River Oaks Corky and NFC Risky Business Ruby) and never lame until they are old.
 

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Having a bad hip does not disqualify a dog from competition unless they are clinically affected, lots of them are unaware they are dysplastic (NAFC River Oaks Corky and NFC Risky Business Ruby) and never lame until they are old.
He is still getting marks and continuing his training just not with a pro like I planned
 

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Interesting thread. Some real life examples:

1) Last dog loft from the litter. Given to a local trainer @ 6 months, no training,
with the understanding that $100 would be fine when sold.
Fails Derby single At State Trial & is available for $300 @ 13 months.
Wins Derby with strange handler @ 14 Months, Goes on to amass 30 points in 9 trials.
NFC @ 4 1/2.

2) Amateur Trainer has 5 dogs. 1 FC-AFC, 1 Derby List, 1 NAFC, 1 NFC, 1 pup sold @ about 1 Yr that becomes NFC

3) Litter with 3 NFC's, 2 FC-AFC, 1 proven bitch in 1st 6 dogs in pedigree. Placed in a Who's Who of homes. Zilch.

Where do these fit in all the opinion & good advice in this thread?
 

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Interesting thread. Some real life examples:

1) Last dog loft from the litter. Given to a local trainer @ 6 months, no training,
with the understanding that $100 would be fine when sold.
Fails Derby single At State Trial & is available for $300 @ 13 months.
Wins Derby with strange handler @ 14 Months, Goes on to amass 30 points in 9 trials.
NFC @ 4 1/2.

2) Amateur Trainer has 5 dogs. 1 FC-AFC, 1 Derby List, 1 NAFC, 1 NFC, 1 pup sold @ about 1 Yr that becomes NFC

3) Litter with 3 NFC's, 2 FC-AFC, 1 proven bitch in 1st 6 dogs in pedigree. Placed in a Who's Who of homes. Zilch.

Where do these fit in all the opinion & good advice in this thread?
Without knowing the intimate details of each scenario, just off the top of my head I will comment that you can have the very best dog in the world, but if you can't train it and compete with it or get it to someone who can then no one will ever know it is the very best.
Secondly even having a dog with a world class pedigree is no guarantee the dog itself is world class, even with world class training.
Think filial degeneration. Just like two very mediocre dogs descended from great genetics are unlikely to produce a dog as mediocre as they are, two great dogs (elite of the elite) at the other end of the spectrum are just as unlikely to be able to reproduce themselves.
 

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So having an NFC /MH bred pup who just turned 3 years old in November a waste of my time now? I think not , we never know what and when they will accomplish the goal we all seek. I foolishly thought that I could get my dog to Qual level work without ever haven't ever been there before and it's my belief that I have set her back at least 2 years. I'm not going to quit on her now but will evaluate her for the next year and make a decision following recommendations from those in the sport that I respect.
 

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But on the other hand I have another dog with Jason baker and will send him as far as he can go hopefully to a respected AA pro.
It's always a gamble you never know what you'll get in the end but if you give the dog a chance to get to his or hers very best then that's all you can do!
 

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I like this discussion !
we re soon to have a litter so soon a new pup
How do u pick the pup ( lottie was a great example ).
we train our own dogs : before we left ht maybe a 1000 master passes and 34 of those pewter plates now the last 2 have earned an AFC with 2 more needing a little for both titles
5 national qualifications but never any success as we choke ( it seems) on the big stage.

I want healthy , smart , tractable and with eyes.
We spend countless hours discussing and sometimes argueing over what to look for
The goals move it seems and in the end and just like sports you want the one that “ gets it done “.
some of these guys just come out the box knowing. Then Am I smart/ skilled enough to develop and the big question did I choose right
Sometimes I ask myself ; are u just feeding the dog or are we training and I shake my head at times because I don’t know
We want all these traits with the strong points rising at different times. All these traits rising from an animal with a brain the size of a walnut and a heart that won’t quit. How do i unleash that ?
I do believe healthy , nutrition, additives , conditioning And breeding contribute and then I fall short !!!
 

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I like this discussion !
we re soon to have a litter so soon a new pup
How do u pick the pup ( lottie was a great example ).
we train our own dogs : before we left ht maybe a 1000 master passes and 34 of those pewter plates now the last 2 have earned an AFC with 2 more needing a little for both titles
5 national qualifications but never any success as we choke ( it seems) on the big stage.

I want healthy , smart , tractable and with eyes.
We spend countless hours discussing and sometimes argueing over what to look for
The goals move it seems and in the end and just like sports you want the one that “ gets it done “.
some of these guys just come out the box knowing. Then Am I smart/ skilled enough to develop and the big question did I choose right
Sometimes I ask myself ; are u just feeding the dog or are we training and I shake my head at times because I don’t know
We want all these traits with the strong points rising at different times. All these traits rising from an animal with a brain the size of a walnut and a heart that won’t quit. How do i unleash that ?
I do believe healthy , nutrition, additives , conditioning And breeding contribute and then I fall short !!!
I heard about your breeding alittle to late.
All great points! We raise these little fur balls the best we can and in the the end it's all about if that particular pup has everything it takes to go the next level. They are all great in own own eyes in different ways.
 

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Jesus Ochoa wrote,
"So having an NFC /MH bred pup who just turned 3 years old in November a waste of my time now?"

Not sure where this is coming from.
Filial Degeneration is the tendency of an individual of a bloodline to revert to the average of that bloodline.
Select pups from bloodlines with a high average of the traits one is looking for.
Likewise if you are breeding one is always attempting (or should be) to raise the average of that bloodline.
Be consistent with a high standard for your selection and then breed to the very best hoping that average gets raised one dog at a time.

Then train the dog, or send him to someone who can. Seems simple enough.;)
 
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