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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been asked to help a young boy in the area get ready to run his first HRC Started test. He has an 8 month old lab that has been force fetched and collar conditioned. I've run and judged lots of AKC juniors, but I've never had the pleasure of running an HRC test. I read thru a rule book and it looks very similar to AKC junior.

If I'm reading it right, the dog will have to retrieve 2 singles on land and 2 singles on water. He can be brought to line on lead, held by the collar or a leash looped around the neck. The dog does not have to deliver the bird to hand but must deliver it to a designated area. Also, I read that the handler does not have to handle a gun, if the dog is not steady. Is that correct? Will the birds be shot from the line by someone else?

Is there specific things the judges would be looking for, that I should let this young man know about? I plan to basically make sure the dog/handler team does everything they would need to do to pass an AKC junior. Will that work?

Thanks for any help you can give me.
 

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Yes, someone will shoot the birds from the line probably to the right of the handler. Hold the dog, I dont care how steady it is...... Generally the judges will look for the dog to return to the "immediate" area of the handler with bird. Have the young boy meet the dog at the waters edge when returning, if possible. This avoids any dog being a dog behavior.....LOL I would work on holding blind manners, and walking to the line calmly on lead. Some judges are more strict about this than others. Other than that, tell him to have fun!!!

Troy
 

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Carol, how great that you're helping this young man!
There will be somebody shooting from the line, and it is recommended that you let them do the shooting rather than the handler, even if the dog is steady. The marks tend to be shorter and easier than junior, and the judges will usually make a very encouraging and inviting test. If the dog is ready for juniors, started should be a breeze.
 

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A couple of things to add/reinforce:

Max land mark distance is 75 yds, though I have not seen any started tests that far, most seem to have at least one mark in the 50-60 yd range. Water max is 60 yds, though again they tend to be a touch shorter.

If the judge doesn't specify the deliver to hand area, ask. If you don't, most will still gently say that you should let the dog get closer. Most will give you a good step or two. The advice about standing on the water's edge is very useful.

Definitely let someone else handle the gun and poppers.

Not sure if this is allowed in JH, but in started the dog can be recalled and recast on the mark once if, for whatever reason, it looked away or some such thing.
 

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Make sure the young man has a duck call. He will have to blow his duck call to signal readiness to begin the test. He will get an answering call from the winger stations.
Started is a marking test only. The judges are looking for the dog to proceed directly to the area of the fall, set up a hunt, and bring the bird back to a designated area.
 

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Carol I am also a AKC HT judge . I also have ran many HRC HT's and if the young man's dog can pass a Junior he will be able to pass Started. The duck call with the dog beside him, and the shots off to the side may surprise a young dog. If possible in preparing for the test set this up in training. Also make sure the handler has head to toe camo as that is required where I have run. Another thing usually the area of the handler is one step. Something I would show is as referred down this way is the "junior scoop" about taking the bird fairly quickly from the pup before they drop the bird. THANK you for helping the next generation of dawg game addicts.....:):)
 

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Carol, I had an experience at a started test once. It went like this. Call, bird is thrown gunner shoots, dog looks at gunner and not the bird. HMMMMM should have trained for that. He did it twice, leason learned. So use a gunner next to you when training a couple of times. Have fun.
 

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Dogs can also have a controlled break in started, probably not necessary, as the child will be holding the dog and not running the gun. But should anyone else want to try using the gun in a started stake, you get a controlled break, no distance really involved here as long as the dog does not pick up the bird, and You can bring them back. I'd suggest holding the dog for the rest of the marks after that though ;) Now why would anyone take the chance, perhaps miss out on a pass? Because the dog is not ready for Seasoned, and the handler wants to test the dog and themselves with regards to the gun. It's terrible to fail a dog because of your own gun issues, test are different, and seasoned gun work can be very challenging. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. We will definitely train with the gun to the right of the handler and shooting at the arc of the bird. This is not something seen very often in an AKC junior, although I have seen it.

I'll let you all know how he does.
 

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EAR PLUGS for the handler since there is shooting at the line.

True for adults as well, but especially for a child.

Meredith
 

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If the dog is big, powerful, or generally wound up, make sure to remind the kid to really hold tight onto the collar and send the dog after the bird hits the ground.
 

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EAR PLUGS for the handler since there is shooting at the line.

True for adults as well, but especially for a child.

Meredith

Really?? Its just poppers... Not blanks!
 

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That is lovely, Carol..

Good Luck to the young handler and his Labrador Retriever..they will have such fun :)
 

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HRC no longer uses poppers on the line but primer blanks. They are not loud at all. I just judged started last weekend for 2 days. The handler can tell the gunner where they like them. Best place I can see is the opposite side of where the dog heals. Have the gunner stand close to you. If the judge requires you to sit on the bucket, have the gunner squat down also. This way the dog is seeing the gun and he will not look off and miss the bird.
As far as camo, the rules state hunting attire. HRC is pushing head to toe camo but it is not required as of now. As long as he wears a camo shirt and dark pants /shorts he will be ok for most judges.
Have him hold the dog, and the best way for him , which is the same for Jr and to slip you hand under the collar with fingers pointing toward dog head, not fingers down toward back. This way, the dogs head is pulled up and not pushed down. Saw a lot of that this weekend. If the dog is ready for Jr, he will have no problems. The judges do like to see delivery to hand, but at your feet is ok. Also in my experience, have the boy step away from the waters edge not closer so the dog has to come out of the water. Hope this helps.
 

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Main thing is to wait 2 heartbeats (trust me, it will be beating fast!) once the bird has touched down before releasing the dog! You do NOT wait for the judges to release you by saying dog. You can quietly talk to your dog the whole time, but I would limit it to a gentle reminder to "sit". Take the bird or pick up the bird BEFORE reaching for your dog on the return. No choke chains or collar tabs allowed. Flat BUCKLE (do not use those clip together kind, they can come undone or the collar can loosen at the wrong time!) collar. Either loop the lead around the dogs neck or through the collar, and put away or throw behind you when the dog is released, or use underhanded (more control) grip under the collar directly. Throw the lead behind you or put completely in pocket. Remember duck call, you don't have to be an expert caller!
Hold on, have fun, and most importantly.....breathe!!!! Take it slow and don't be afraid to ask questions, no one bites at HRC tests!
 

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Most important thing to do is make sure the Kid has fun..

If the dog is prepared as you say it is,, it will be ahead of many that you will see there..

Gooser
 

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Hi
In started you will have someone gun for you. In seasoned and finished you will need to handle 870 shotgun. Some.females.need.to have there own 870 with.shorter stock.
Practice with 870 while training and always remember gun safety. Primer loads.are.used in 870

Regardsjt
WWW.marshhawkretrievers.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for your help and suggestions. We had our first training session today. Kept the bird stations as hidden as possible and shot the birds from the line. Andrew (who's only 10) did an excellent job of listening to instructions. We had him practice with his own dog as well as with one of our dogs. I think the hardest part for him, was not to grab the collar before getting the bird. I see the same thing in juniors all the time. I gave him the same advice I gave my 6 year old grandson before he ran his first junior, " as soon as you send the dog, put your left hand in your back pocket and leave there until you have a bird in your right hand". It worked pretty good for him.

I truly appreciate all your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just wanted to let you know, my young trainee passed both started tests this weekend. Thank you all for making this a pleasant introduction to dog games for this young boy. You provided me with the advice I needed to help him, and I've very grateful.
 
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