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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been watching a lot of US HT's on video just recently, prompted by the post in here a couple of weeks back by Clear Run Films, a really nice undertaking. I find the whole thing fascinating; our nearest equivalent would be Working Tests, but the standards applied aren't as clearly graded or defined, as for example, JH, SH, MH. The evaluation tests offered by The Gundog Club, are very precisely graded but don't really push the technical envelope as far as I'd wish.

Any road up, (that's just for crackred, a bit of Brummie-speak) I'd appreciate aninput from you guys on the procedure you adopt at the line on multiple marks. When the birds are actually being thrown, I don't see the handlers lining the dog on each individual mark in turn before sending the dog on the go bird. That is, lining the dog on the first mark as it's thrown, then slightly shifting position for each of the subsequent ones. Would this be contrary to the rules? I see it done over here by some handlers in roughly analogous circumstances, and I believe it gives them an edge.

Also, I don't see a lot of evidence for "push-pull" being used by the majority of handlers, some do, most don't. Or am I missing it? Do you do it at HT level?

I'm contemplating building the first "shifting" technique in my new Pup's profile (push-pull a given) but noting the heavy accent on marking that you guys have, I thought I'd ask the questions.
 

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A good handler will slightly shift position to bring the dog in line with the next mark just before it is thrown and you may not be seeing it in the videos, or the handlers in question are probably amateurs (pros ought to know better).... This is especially true in HRC (slightly different in that there is no noise in the field to tell the dog where the next mark is coming from). A good handler will swing the gun to the next mark just as the next mark is being thrown. A good dog will know this procedure and follow the gun - takes training, of course to do so. In HRC you are allowed to talk quietly to the dog - so here and heel are also used a lot..... I think in AKC less experienced handlers get away with not 'helping' the dogs with subtle physical cues/movement....In AKC you are not allowed to talk to the dog after the you request for the marks to be thrown. In AKC dogs should be able to locate the next mark because of the attn getting sound (duck call, typically) before the mark is thrown - and if they don't hear that, they ought to hear the gun shot.

I don't want my dog looking for the next mark til I cue him to do so. Letting the dog find the next mark is a good way to create head swinging - or exacerbate it.
 

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When you have finished through , heel, and sit with your push/pull and WW with that little one of yours 'Eug' , you will be singing from the top of 'Blimp Tower' like ''Darius Rucker'' . :)
 

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No, Robt., he'll be calling for birds in training like Sir Simon Rattle swinging his baton. Eug, easiest unBrum equation I can give you is, FTs: handler is allowed to "show" his/her dog the birds before "calling" for them by raising her/his arm to inform the judges that s/he and their dog are ready for the multiple to be thrown. HTs: handler wants dog immediately situated at the line because the birds in a multiple are thrown rather quickly in succession, and as you will have seen in the vids, the "guns" are wearing camo, so if the dog is moving when the birds go down, it's likely to mismark them or return to an old fall since all HT guns are hidden.

As for lining, the secret for both FTs and HTs that you mightn't have noted or had pointed out to you in the vids is, "you" the handler are always receiving the dog with the bird it's just retrieved in such way that the dog curls in or "button-hooks" to your side with you already lined up and facing in the direction of the next bird the dog will pick in a multiple. That's a fun little fandango to work on, I think you'll enjoy the nuancing involved, and who knows, once you and Finn and have got the hang of it, I expect

Hair Lip One-piece garment Arm Shoulder




Angela Rippon will be summoning you both for a star turn on "Come Dancing."

MG
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
MG, I've already got the retrieve / deliver / re-align thing .... did it with all my previous dogs from either of two presentations; right hand cue with an open hand by my knee, or a "European" front sit /head up / and push Into cupped hands. The cupped hands were the cue.

The first was useful going on essential in a busy spot handling two / three / four dogs at a time; the second was just showing off!

Angelica Rippoff was never my cup of Earl Grey on or off "Strictly". Mind you after a good but tiring Saturday picking up, sitting by the log burner with a glass of peaty water watching pretty girls with great legs in short skirts wasn't a penance.

Tobias, thank you. Again an interesting watch. Cueing off the gun isn't something I've ever consciously trained for; I'm sure The Boys picked up on it, but only in a rough and ready untrained way. When I'm driven shooting there will be birds dropping like rain on a big day, and I'll be shooing as many doubles as I can. In a pigeon hide I'd likely be going for occasional trebles so it would have limited use. However I might just play around at it just for grins.

The course setters were either sneaky or something else with the first left hand bird; if the dog ran past it he became out of sight from the handler, and the breeze looked to have a tidy downwind component just add to the fun. I did notice the handler varying his stance on some birds; wether this was a conscious move or not I'm unsure. It's a bit of a bugaboo of mine.

Another thing which is radically different from my experience is birds being hand thrown from a visible blind. The dogs must surely pick the idea that no mark is going to be more than chucking distance from the hide.

Robert, Regrettably we haven't got Finn yet. The Management had a couple of health issues (now resolved TG) so with luck it's this Thursday. Nothing more complex than house training and recall in the garden for a few weeks, he's only just had his first shot. Given he will be the only dog, a singleton, we won't be doing the big days where 'keepers want a flock out hoovering up. It'll be small syndicates and farmers shoots which I much prefer, but ...... nae much brass! I intend to do more competitions than in the past which is why I'm drilling down on marking.
 

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Robert, Regrettably we haven't got Finn yet. The Management had a couple of health issues (now resolved TG) so with luck it's this Thursday. Nothing more complex than house training and recall in the garden for a few weeks, he's only just had his first shot. Given he will be the only dog, a singleton, we won't be doing the big days where 'keepers want a flock out hoovering up. It'll be small syndicates and farmers shoots which I much prefer, but ...... nae much brass! I intend to do more competitions than in the past which is why I'm drilling down on marking.
Bummer!! Not 'Brummie' ..on the later charge of Finn, but a gift horse is often better (out--with serious health issues) for Y'on wee Finn to stay where it is , if the stable is right for the foal.
Singletons are often perceived as easier in training/often thought by some they require more condensed shooting environments and often regarded by others requiring company in training/progression through puppy to adolescents and beyond. (But you know that anyway )
Competition you say ? ..Look forward to the exploits of which I am more than sure, you will let us all know how you get on. Yea, different ball game for competition than 'Picking Up' / beating, wildfowling, or even sitting in a hide for pigeon or Duck. Rabbits and Hare and Deer are all of a sudden no more something for the pot ! lol and best start at the beginning makes things easier later on for sure.
As for that ..Err, 'Difference' ,The third mark (in the clip) there was a fair bit ...well more than a fair bit of 'Stravaiging' going on .On your side of the Bristol Channel or any other part, you will receive a pat on the back from those with awards . A wise man told me ''it doesn't matter what hand you use to send the dog on a mark or even no hands , where there are multiples of more than 1, it doesn't even matter what side the dog is with you, it doesn't even matter if the dog comes back on the left side or the right side with the bird or dummy, and it don't matter if the dog sits in front or at any side as long as it 'delivers tenderly to hand', anything after the first one is just a memory ! So, they ain't Marks anymore....."
Me ? I'm just having fun playing hide and seek with two 'singletons' together , maybe next week if they are lucky , they will get a paint roller of their own to bring back to me on their own . atb Robert.
 

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Robt., if you will give our rtf audience an overview (or innerview) of "stravaiging," I'll share mine and Eug's dirty little secret of belonging to the 'Merican Hunting Dog Club (AHDC) quite a few years ago without ever engaging in any of their competitions. If I recall correctly, the AHDC's topmost test (open to all breeds) was never (!) passed by a single dog and only a couple of nimrod-faithful gundog companion teams even took on the challenge of entering it.

MG
 

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Michael, often audiences already had their ticket to the ball.
"Stravaiging" is an actual word ...Trust me or Google it.
I use it often in evaluation of dog work , especially retrievers on marks , downwind, back wind, side wind or blowing out the rear end .
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Confession time .. never heard of "Stravaiging" until tonight; at first I took it to be supporting Stranraer FC.

Now I've looked it up I feel vindicated ... my fishing / wild fowling / picking up / boozing / Wolves supporting mate Gordon and I watched Stranraer a few times, more to pass the time before "The Grapes" opened than anything else. They did a fair bit of stravaiging in those days.:)

Onwards and sideways,

Eugene

PS. Love the two boys "Buck" and "Goose" and the gentle style.

The Grapes .....
 

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The Grapes .....
And to give this thread a more multicultural pickin' and a grinnin', can almost swear I hear the sweet strains of "My Luvvin' All for Small Heath" emanating from above.

And Robt. thought the audience already had their tickets punched for the ball...or, with respect to Stranraer FC, was it meant to be the other way 'round for the (goalkeeper-only) punching of the balls?

MG
 

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Tobias, thank you. Again an interesting watch. Cueing off the gun isn't something I've ever consciously trained for; I'm sure The Boys picked up on it, but only in a rough and ready untrained way. When I'm driven shooting there will be birds dropping like rain on a big day, and I'll be shooing as many doubles as I can. In a pigeon hide I'd likely be going for occasional trebles so it would have limited use. However I might just play around at it just for grins.

The course setters were either sneaky or something else with the first left hand bird; if the dog ran past it he became out of sight from the handler, and the breeze looked to have a tidy downwind component just add to the fun. I did notice the handler varying his stance on some birds; wether this was a conscious move or not I'm unsure. It's a bit of a bugaboo of mine.

Another thing which is radically different from my experience is birds being hand thrown from a visible blind. The dogs must surely pick the idea that no mark is going to be more than chucking distance from the hide.
You are welcome - Dogs do learn gun mechanics quickly and the same can be done with movement of the body, right knee, or right foot. (if the dog is on your left)

Dogs can/do learn that a mark will be within a certain distance of a hide/gun station. My dog Toby proved this today on a 300 yd mark he did not see fall. He heard the shot and ran out, hunted both sides of the gun station and found the bumper. :) The marking skill becomes evident when the fall lands in such a way that the dog is drawn away from the area due to terrain, wind, water, other falls/gun stations,..etc.... Like one of the other marks I ran with the dogs today.... they all had a tough time holding the hillside and ended up hunting around the wrong tree stump. Another way that marking skill is determined/judged and improved is through the use of retired guns - who throw the bird/mark and then disappear completely from sight behind a brush pile or even into a layout blind such as is used for goose hunting before the dog is sent for the mark.
 

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. When the birds are actually being thrown, I don't see the handlers lining the dog on each individual mark in turn before sending the dog on the go bird. That is, lining the dog on the first mark as it's thrown, then slightly shifting position for each of the subsequent ones. Would this be contrary to the rules? I see it done over here by some handlers in roughly analogous circumstances, and I believe it gives them an edge.

Also, I don't see a lot of evidence for "push-pull" being used by the majority of handlers, some do, most don't. Or am I missing it? Do you do it at HT level?

I'm contemplating building the first "shifting" technique in my new Pup's profile (push-pull a given) but noting the heavy accent on marking that you guys have, I thought I'd ask the questions.
Here is a quote from the AKC hunt test rule book:

Section 6. In marking situations, a handler shall not line a dog in the direction of any fall or gun station until all falls are down. Once all marks are down and the handler/dog has been released by the judges, a handler may give the dog a line in the direction of any or all falls, provided that such lining is accomplished briskly and precisely. Conspicuously intensive lining suggests a weak marking ability and the dog must be scored low in Marking. The handler of the working dog shall remain silent from the time handler signals for the first bird to be thrown until the Judges release the dog.

Another interesting passage in the AKC rule book is:

Shouldering the Gun. In Senior and Master Tests, handlers shall always carry and shoulder an empty shotgun except when honoring the working dog or when running a blind. The gun shall not be used as a pointing device to direct the dog’s attention to the bird.

So in HRC, the dog is trained to look where the gun is pointing but in AKC a handler isn't supposed to use the gun to point out the birds. Once in a while, people who run both venues make handler errors because of some of the differing rules.
 

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How and what determines that this rule has been broken? Every dog I've ever had has directed their attention to where I pointed a gun.
I have no clue. I see master test handlers pointing the gun at the gunner stations or the AOF. I am the wrong person to ask for clarification. I wanted Colonel Blimp to be able to read the rules pertinent to the question he asked about not seeing handlers shifting to align dogs for the next mark, etc.
 

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you cannot point out the gun stations prior to calling for the marks to be thrown.... You CAN swing the gun anywhere you want after you have called for the marks (or shift your position). I wouldn't suggest pointing it at the judges or gallery, or anywhere other than where the ducks are flying through the air. (Unsafe handling will get you dropped, most likely)
 

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So, Tobi, you now are allowed to "call for the birds" at AKC HTs, or are you referring to blowing a duck call which used to be de rigueur back in the day for judges and occasionally handlers as well?

Also you wrote
Dogs can/do learn that a mark will be within a certain distance of a hide/gun station.
Perhaps Eug or Robt will enlighten us on how their dogs learn to mark with their ears for night flighting wild fowl (ducks)?

MG
 

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So, Tobi, you now are allowed to "call for the birds" at AKC HTs, or are you referring to blowing a duck call which used to be de rigueur back in the day for judges and occasionally handlers as well?
In HRC the handler always uses a duck call for the test to start, at which time the judges will signal the gunners/throwers. In AKC and NAHRA it varies. Handler may be asked to use a duck call, otherwise, as with FT, a signal to the judges with a wave of a hand, and then the judges signal the guns to throw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Tobias, thank you. Again informative and enlightening.

J.Marti, the rules you quoted seem pretty plain don't they? A British style send out on a mark, and that's you catching the early bus home is how it looks to me. I recall your thread asking about it a while ago; drunkenpoacher and Paul both thought it would be allowable in US competitions, albeit pretty useless. Presumably they were referring to blinds. Let's just say that now I've seen the ruling, if I were in a US test venue I'd ask the judges advice before jumping in the deep end on blinds or anything else.

In the interest of fair reporting, I don't intend to use the standard British send-out in future. I used it for years without very much thought or conviction, but having recently thought about things in some depth I see if it's to be truly useful it needs a lot of modifying. Just one of the things I don't like is giving a heel cue, then promptly breaking the heel by moving your left leg way back. The dog is then in no-mans-land and often enough you can see him shuffling around, and the handler hissing "Heel, heel" when the target knee is two feet out of position. Gleaming!

Ref crackred's comment about marking by sound, for the most part like Topsy it just growed. The exception was "Jack" my principal wild fowling dog; I did a lot of night time training with him on both land and water. He could also mark by sound in woodland with a thickish canopy; handy for flight shooting roosting wood pigeon. They can make a fair old clatter coming down through the twigs and branches. Mind you when things got boring he'd start retrieving empty cartridge cases to while away the time. You don't see that in many training manuals.:)

He did struggle with this one though ...... the morning after the night before. I think this is what MG wanted to see (again).

 
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