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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the opportunity to run my dog in an upcoming NAHRA event, and I have a few questions. We would most likely try and run in the intermediate category, but I am very unsure of exactly what the upland portion of the test entails. Can someone explain a typical upland NAHRA scenario. Are the dogs flushing? Are live birds used? It says the dog may be required to find dead birds? Is this really any different than the trailing test? Just wondering.
Secondly, I must admit I am a bit concerned about the upland portion. I am working my dog through seasoned in UKC and senior in AKC, and I am wondering if the upland portion of this test could be detrimental to my handling of blinds with the dog. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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The intermediate upland test requires your dog to quarter the field within reasonable gun range. The field is typically scented by the judges and may or may not have dead birds in the field. If your dog finds a bird it must retrieve it to hand. There is no live flush in the Intermediate upland test.
 

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Troy, I hope someone else will reply to your question, there are a bunch of folks on here that run NAHRA...Sue Snow...where are you when we need you.

It has been a long time since I was at a NAHRA test, but I think in intermediate, you quarter a field, which may or may not be "salted" with birds. If it is salted with birds, they expect your dog to pick it up and deliver it then continue quartering. In the tests we ran, they used a flush box, when the dog gets close, they released the bird and the dog had to be steady to the shot. Usually, they did not shoot the bird, usually it is allowed to fly away. In Master, they shoot the bird, the dog has to sit to the flush and you have to have it delivered to hand.

We used to run AKC and Nahra tests and I never remember the dogs being confused by "quartering" vs "handling on a blind".

I hope someone else steps up to answer your questions...It has been a long time since I was at a NAHRA intermediate test. I will tell you though...NAHRA is fun, fun, fun and some of the nicest folks and best tailgate party's too!
 

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The two proportions of the NAHRA test that most people have trouble with switching over, is the quarter sit to flush and the trail.

Upland-Quarter

The upland portion in intermediate doesn't require a sit to flush, you will be asked to quarter. Usually they like to quarter up into the marks. So you take your dog from free range quarter into, steady for a double, which can be tricky. Quarter can hype many dogs up, so practice this. Now when they say quarter they don't mean the dog has to run any particular pattern, they just have to go out and illustrate they know how to effectively hunt an area. Also you control how fast or how slow the hunt proceeds, keep him in gun range and be sure to keep reasonable control to be able to bring him back to steady. You'll know why when you reach the top of the hill and the double just goes off ;). Sometimes a dog reaching a certain point top of the hill etc. is what sets the marks off, you'll have an area to get them back into heel, be sure you know where that area is, because if the dog reaches the set off point without you, getting control. STUFF HAPPENS!!!! ;)

The Dreaded Trail

Intermediate trail can include a turn and can be pretty involved. The degree of difficultly can range from very straight forward, to extremely challenging. Trail is the aspect most people go out on, because they don't train for it. So much so that a lot of people get upset if they put the trail at the beginning of a test rather than it being the final series ;). This aspect the dog has to do entirely on his own, and he has to run a significant distance away from you and find the bird with no help. If he gets lost he needs to know how to return to a scent pocket, work it out, and continue on until he finds the bird. They also have to show that they are indeed trailing not just running all over. All you get to do is stand there and wait, which is very nerve racking, even with a master trailing dog ;). It's a good idea to go out (especially with a fast dog) and teach the dog how to stay on the trail, how to find and go back to scent pockets, etc. When You put out a trail mark it in away so you know where the scent pockets are, and pay attention to wind direction, get a pretty good idea where the scent will travel, it makes it a lot easier to know when the dog is actually trailing, vs. running all over with no real direction. This type of training more than anything else teaches you how to read your dog, and you'll begin to know when he has scent, and when he's messing around. This makes it a little easier to stand there and watch. That is until the judges tell you, re-heal your dog and you have one more chance, or my favorite let's see if the next dog can do it. :)

Couple of other things
Air you dog well and Train him not to lift his leg all over the trail, judges really dislike that. It messes up the trail. I've seen one hard core miscreant dropped for it. ;)

Train your dog to handle off the trail, once he has the bird... It's much more impressive to sit your dog and cast him over to meet you than running down to the end to ensure he's not going to get back on and contaminate the trail.
 

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Here are the rules, LENNIE. Pretty much what I said the first time.

Section 12: An upland hunting test will be conducted with no flush.

a. The dog shall be required to seek birds as in upland hunting within gun range of it's handler.
b. The dog may be urged to hunt with moderate hand, voice or whistle commands.
c. At the discreton of the judges, the dog may or may not be required to locate dead birds.
d. If the dog locates a bird it must be retrieved and delivered to hand.
e. The retrieve will not be scored but it must be delivered to hand.
f. Two dogs may be required to hunt together providing there is adequate room for both dogs to work without interfering with each other.
g.
If two dogs are being required to hunt together during the upland test, scented areas will be allowed but planted (dead) birds will not be utilized.
h.Fly-aways will not be used in the Intermediate upland test.
 

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Better late than never Lennie!! :)

To add to what the others have stated about the upland test, the quarter is strictly a quarter with no flush in Intermediate.

As to the trail .... "Intermediate trail can include a turn and can be pretty involved." I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever run a trail that only has one turn in it. Most trails that I have run have been been set up in a U shape (tight with 2 very distinct turns or a more open U following a tree line) or in a Z or lightening bolt shape with two very distinct turns where the judges can truly see if the dog has a nose and can follow a trail.

It is wonderful if your dog nails it right off the bat, but don't panic if your dog falls off the trail. The important thing is that the dog understands how to "work" back onto the trail continue on to the end.

Hunt Em Up is correct .... as the dog reaches the end of the trail, the judges will have you move to a pick up location so that your dog returns directly to you at that point versus running back to the original start location, therefore contaminating the trail for the upcoming dogs.

To start the trail the judges will put some feathers on the ground to indicate the start of the trail. Some people will bring their dog to line and sit them at the start of the trail and then when told to start the trail then have to direct their dogs to get their noses down into the feathers and release. Personally I have found it easier to walk the dog up towards the feather pile on a heel where it's nose is just naturally down closer to the feathers and then release the dog.

Good luck and have fun!!

Sue
 

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I have NEVER seen a quarter to the marks in Intermediate. Not saying no one has tried it... but that would be a lot to ask of an Intermediate dog. And there is no flush box... no flushing of birds allowed in intermediate.

Troy, what test are you thinking about entering? I'm going to be at the SW PA test the weekend of April 21 and then going up to Cambridge Springs to visit my folks. I'd be happy to meet up with you and do some training on Sunday of that weekend.

Also, related to the trail.... yes, dogs will go out on it if you don't train for it and they have no idea what to do...but Duh.... if you don't train for a double mark your dog is likely to go out on it. A small percentage of dogs that know how to trail go out on the trail.

Let me know... would be happy to meet you.
 

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Troy, I think your question has been answered. Mike makes some good points. Some of the best trails (IMHO) are live bird trails where the bird is released to travel on it's own. The dogs seem to do the best with that set up as to the dragged bird. Dead or alive, it's just more natural. If you can train that way it has always worked for me.

Mike: I'm going to Georgia the week before SWPARC test to talk dogs with Dave Thompson and I will be coming back that weekend. If you're running I'll stop at the test, I'd love to catch up. Maybe dinner or happy hour you know I'm close to Cambridge.

Troy I'm in Erie too. Are you a member of PIRC???
 

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I have NEVER seen a quarter to the marks in Intermediate. Not saying no one has tried it... but that would be a lot to ask of an Intermediate dog. And there is no flush box... no flushing of birds allowed in intermediate.

Troy, what test are you thinking about entering? I'm going to be at the SW PA test the weekend of April 21 and then going up to Cambridge Springs to visit my folks. I'd be happy to meet up with you and do some training on Sunday of that weekend.

Also, related to the trail.... yes, dogs will go out on it if you don't train for it and they have no idea what to do...but Duh.... if you don't train for a double mark your dog is likely to go out on it. A small percentage of dogs that know how to trail go out on the trail.

Let me know... would be happy to meet you.
I ran one exactly like that in AZ a few years ago.

Be sure to ask the judges anything you feel is necessary. Keep in mind that you can usually call your dog back a couple of times to restart the trail if things aren't working out. You will have fun and meet some nice folks.
 

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I have NEVER seen a quarter to the marks in Intermediate.
Hey Mike .... have to agree with Kevin on this one, as I ran one like this MANY years ago at WNY's test. After you quartered the initial portion of the field, you then had a short distance to get your dog under control and walked up to the line for the marks. (To clarify though, this was not a walk-up double).

Sue
 

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If you hunt, training dogs the trail que is very useful. It's easy for most dogs and once they get the hang of it, they find it fun. It's a good way to start or end a training session.

If a dog knows "dead bird, dead bird, hunt 'em up" or whatever you use to cue them, they can get right to work when hunting. Trailing is 90% natural instinct - dogs using their noses... BUT A running pheasant on a dry day can be lost if the dog doesn't get right on the job. I've had a dog find a 250 yd. runner before a friend's very experienced hunting dog figured out that there was a runner that he should trail.

In testing, the trail is a little more tricky. Training alone or with a few dogs, drag one trail and run the few dogs. (Or better, release a wing-clipped bird...) When there are a lot of dogs, there can be drag-back, overscented trails (from re-dragging too much), etc. If you have experienced judges, it will be a piece of cake with just a little preparation (compared with, say, handling on blinds...)
 

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Keith brings up a good point about "cueing" up your dog. I have found that when training for either the quarter or the trail, by using a different cue when releasing my dogs to quarter (hunt em up) versus running a trail (find a bird) helps them know the job they are getting ready to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the clarification folks! Im not sure I have time to polish up the quartering and work on the trailing before the test so I may just run the hunter class. Im just anxious to get my pup out and see where hes at during the "game". I was really hoping to handle though.......Ill play around this weekend with the trailing, and see how it goes. He has hunted a lot, so Im not so worried about the trailing, as I am the quartering the field. We have never upland hunted.

Mike Tome - Yes, it is the SWPA test I am considering running in. Not sure what I have going on Sunday yet, but I will be sure and look you up at the test. If Im available, for sure, we can get together and train. Ill let you know as soon as I can.

RND- Yes I am a member of the PIRC. I live in on the Fairview /Millcreek border, near the airport. We should get together and train sometime.

Thanks again folks, as always, the cornucopia of information here never lets me down......

Quartering regards....LOL
 

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My apologies to all...Like I said, it has been a Loooonng time since I have watched a NAHRA intermediate upland. We ran so many seniors for Cody's GMHR I figured I would mess up the rules, just wanted someone to reply to Troy's post.....

Again,,,I apologize
 

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If Your nervous, You can run hunter Sat. then run Intermediate Sun. or signup for Intermediate Sat and drop down to hunter Sun, if intermediate is slightly too high. They Usually run these stakes together, so you should be able to watch them both and get a better idea. In all the NAHRA's; I've been to I've never had any problems switching or re-adjusting stakes. Sometimes it's good to challenge yourself and your dog, and sometimes it's good to get one ribbon for a weekend.

One of the best weekends I had, a friend of mine, who had never ran a test passed intermediate the first day, then upped his dog to Senior for the second. Stating he was happy and didn't care how she did in Senior. He didn't care until she smashed the marks, and then almost dropped out on the trail. He turned a nice shade of white. I don't think I've seen anyone ever release a dog that fast on the sit to flush, in the last series. ;)

In my area, NARHA has just been back for ~2 yrs. We got all the old school boys (70-80's)with their 1000 pts. dogs to come back and judge. They put a lot of focus on Trailing and Quarter. They love that quarter up into the marks for the younger dogs. I think they enjoy watching out of control dogs, set them off of their own. ;) They love intricate trails, for the upper stakes, and they know winds and scent, and how to lose dogs. One particular nerve racking trail I ran, it was the case that if you could see the dog he was off the trail. The judges watched from down further, eventually the dog would round a bush with a bird in his mouth. Never saw my dog until she rounded that bush, I guess she did good. All I know it was very quite (white-noise) and seemed like it took 30 mins, for her to come around that bush ;).

Most important thing Have FUN!!!! NARHA has a bunch of characters in it, so that shouldn't be too hard.
 

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Couple of other things
Air you dog well and Train him not to lift his leg all over the trail, judges really dislike that. It messes up the trail. I've seen one hard core miscreant dropped for it. ;)
Probably 15 years ago I was running my first intermediate. We were good with quartering but basically just trained for the trail the day before. I was so excited at how well my dog was doing until he stopped and pooped in the middle of the trail. He then continued on and picked up the bird. I could feel the judges and gallery staring daggers into my back--probably still the most embarrassing moment ever in dog games. We still passed though :)
 
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