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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some tips/advice. My field golden retriever is in training currently. I dropped him off at 6 months old (April) and he’s probably going to be there until August or early September. He’s in a program that qualifies him to be able to receive the Junior hunt test title at the end of his training. However, I don't foresee the trainer running him in any hunt tests just based off what I have gathered from training days with him. He mostly is field trial focused, which is fine. But that tells me I’ll probably be running my dog myself when the time comes. I’d like to even go as far as Senior in AKC and seasoned in HRC. I know for sure that I want to get involved in the hunt test environment/world.. and I'm assuming that I would be running him myself in those. Honestly, all of this is completely new to me but something I see myself really enjoying and becoming involved in. I plan to attend several hunt tests this summer that are mostly AKC ones, just to come and observe and see how things are ran. My question is, does anyone recommend joining any specific clubs now that are in my area.. even though he is in training, or just attending as many hunt tests as time allows, to become familiar with it all?

I just feel lost with it all and hoping for some advice or insight about how to get my feet wet. Located in AL.

Any advice is appreciated!
 

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You can attend hunt tests without being a member of the club that is putting them on. Go to entry express ( www.entryexpress.net ) and do a search for hunt tests in your area. If you read the premium it will list who the chair of the test is and you could call them to get more info about watching the event and maybe pairing up with someone at one of the stakes (jr, sr, or master) who can explain everything that is going on at that stake. If you are on book face a good way to reach out might be on the club page if they have one. If they are having club training days, ask if you can come help out.

Good luck and enjoy the ride with your pup!
 

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He’s in a program that qualifies him to be able to receive the Junior hunt test title at the end of his training. However, I don't foresee the trainer running him in any hunt tests just based off what I have gathered from training days with him.
You are misunderstanding something here.

You will learn a lot by attending a few events. They may even try to put you to work. Good way to figure things out and you may even hook up with a training group. The best, and perhaps only, way to really learn the sport is by training with good mentors.
 

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Absolutely attend some tests to see what is expected by the judges and how a diverse group of dogs and handlers work through the problems (tests) the judges set up.

I also recommend joining a nearby club. You may find one that offers both AKC and HRC tests. Many do. Here is one in Alabama which does North Alabama HRC - About Us: This will put you in contact with people who have the same goals that you have, and will probably make available some resources such as grounds and birds which may be hard to find on your own. Some folks are successful training alone, but it is very desirable to train in a small group.

One last point which I would ask that you consider is to spend a substantial amount of time ( think in terms of a week or so) with the Pro who is training your dog now, before taking the reins yourself. You will have invested a considerable sum to get you dog started out on the right foot. Don't blow it by just taking the dog home and subjecting it to a training style and standard it is unfamiliar with. Also, stay in contact with that Pro, so that when something unplanned or not anticipated comes up, they can offer advice to you based on knowledge specific to your dog.

Good luck! I hope you have many years of fun with your dog, training and participating in the games. -Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are misunderstanding something here.

You will learn a lot by attending a few events. They may even try to put you to work. Good way to figure things out and you may even hook up with a training group. The best, and perhaps only, way to really learn the sport is by training with good mentors.
What am I misunderstanding?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Absolutely attend some tests to see what is expected by the judges and how a diverse group of dogs and handlers work through the problems (tests) the judges set up.

I also recommend joining a nearby club. You may find one that offers both AKC and HRC tests. Many do. Here is one in Alabama which does North Alabama HRC - About Us: This will put you in contact with people who have the same goals that you have, and will probably make available some resources such as grounds and birds which may be hard to find on your own. Some folks are successful training alone, but it is very desirable to train in a small group.

One last point which I would ask that you consider is to spend a substantial amount of time ( think in terms of a week or so) with the Pro who is training your dog now, before taking the reins yourself. You will have invested a considerable sum to get you dog started out on the right foot. Don't blow it by just taking the dog home and subjecting it to a training style and standard it is unfamiliar with. Also, stay in contact with that Pro, so that when something unplanned or not anticipated comes up, they can offer advice to you based on knowledge specific to your dog.

Good luck! I hope you have many years of fun with your dog, training and participating in the games. -Paul
Paul,
Thank you for the advice! I’ve already gotten in contact with 2 different clubs in Alabama and I’m attending one of their akc hunt tests coming up in June. Excited to see what it’s all about and learn a lot.
I have spent days training with the trainer my retriever is at. Well just one day actually, yesterday. He told me not to come the first month because my dog was just learning obedience. I went yesterday and was able to run him a few times and then just spent the day learning and observing the other mature dogs that were father along. My trainer is moving north for the summer, for cooler temps. So I won’t be able to go train for the remainder of the time he is training.. which is so disheartening. But I just wanted to get involved with some groups and attend some tests so I could familiarize myself with it all.
thanks for much for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can attend hunt tests without being a member of the club that is putting them on. Go to entry express ( www.entryexpress.net ) and do a search for hunt tests in your area. If you read the premium it will list who the chair of the test is and you could call them to get more info about watching the event and maybe pairing up with someone at one of the stakes (jr, sr, or master) who can explain everything that is going on at that stake. If you are on book face a good way to reach out might be on the club page if they have one. If they are having club training days, ask if you can come help out.

Good luck and enjoy the ride with your pup!
Okay, thanks so much! I’m very excited
 

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I remember when I was looking for a dog just over 5 years ago. I was exactly like you. I just wanted a hunting dog that could handle and potentially achieve a Senior Hunter title.

whoa. Fast fwd a few years and it’s been a wonderful ride with hunt test success and lower stake field trial success. Most importantly a new passion and I’ve met great new friends along the way... all thanks to a wonderful dog that has made it all possible.

And I added a second dog to join the party last year and I am having a blast training both of them. Such a joy.

Best of luck with your pup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I remember when I was looking for a dog just over 5 years ago. I was exactly like you. I just wanted a hunting dog that could handle and potentially achieve a Senior Hunter title.

whoa. Fast fwd a few years and it’s been a wonderful ride with hunt test success and lower stake field trial success. Most importantly a new passion and I’ve met great new friends along the way... all thanks to a wonderful dog that has made it all possible.

And I added a second dog to join the party last year and I am having a blast training both of them. Such a joy.

Best of luck with your pup!
Aw, this is truly my favorite response yet and makes me so anxious and excited to get him back and get started with it all. Knowing that someone was as clueless as me to start with but how it turned out for you, what an awesome journey.
Thanks so much for the encouragement!
 

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What am I misunderstanding?
He’s in a program that qualifies him to be able to receive the Junior hunt test title at the end of his training. However, I don't foresee the trainer running him in any hunt tests just based off what I have gathered from training days with him.
Dogs receive a JH title after passing 4 junior hunt tests. I would assume the trainer means your dog will be well prepared to run in and pass that level of test, and he certainly should be.
I hope you go to some events and connect with some good people to train with and help you. The real fun in the sport, IMO, is the training. Test and trails show you what you are doing right and wrong and they are fun too, especially when you do well. The down side is lots of waiting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dogs receive a JH title after passing 4 junior hunt tests. I would assume the trainer means your dog will be well prepared to run in and pass that level of test, and he certainly should be.
I hope you go to some events and connect with some good people to train with and help you. The real fun in the sport, IMO, is the training IMO. Test and trails show you what you are doing right and wrong and they are fun too, especially when you do well. The down side is lots of waiting.
Oh yes I knew that 4 passes were required to obtain the title. My trainer is field trial focused so he won’t be attending any hunt tests which is why I said I’d be doing it myself. I went and trained with my dog and trainer yesterday.. he said he is in the position to pass the junior test now.. but obviously I’m waiting until my dog is out of training completely to start any tests. But yes, I’m finding out waiting and having patience is the hardest part. 10 minutes doesn’t go by without me thinking about him being back with me and I have quite a while left until I get him back. Lol. But yes I’m attending some Akc hunt tests this month and also one in June as well. Hoping to learn more from those and hopefully connect with others in the sport.
 

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I went and trained with my dog and trainer yesterday.. he said he is in the position to pass the junior test now.. but obviously I’m waiting until my dog is out of training completely to start any tests.
That's great, he will probably be able to go right to senior by fall.
 

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One thing our HRC club and training group has found helpful to new and old members is suggesting they download or purchase the rule book for each venue they are interested in. Most are pdf available or can be purchased online through the HRC website and AKC website for hunt test and field trials. Also now that we can get together, a lot of clubs are scheduling Judges/ Handler seminars where a lot of information is available.
 

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What club(s) in Alabama are you looking at? Black Warrior is the only AKC club with an event. If so, Dave Kress is a member here and will be happy to talk to you I know.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What club(s) in Alabama are you looking at? Black Warrior is the only AKC club with an event. If so, Dave Kress is a member here and will be happy to talk to you I know.
Yes that is one club I am interested in! I was in contact with a different member yesterday within black warrior club and she sent me his email and said to contact him so I just did that and I’m waiting to hear back. 👍🏼
 

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I've been associated with Black Warrior for about 25 years. They really are a grand group of people. Dave is near the Cattle Ranch where most events are held and it is possible to train there as well.It is about 10,000 acres of prairie with tons of ponds.Dave will also let you train on his land. Nice to see a Golden person interested in field training.
 

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Wow, what fun you are in for....my wife and I started with one pup over 25 years ago. Our goal was to run our new Golden Retriever in Hunt tests. Now we are retired and we have two Goldens one is working on her MH and the other will run his first SH in June. We have had five others before our current two dogs...all were hunt test dogs. We are as excited as kids with our new dogs....you see for us the fun of meeting all the people and dogs at hunt tests and running our dogs in hunt tests, primarily AKC...is now our favorite pass time...we run them all Spring and All through the Fall, we do it because the dogs love it and so do we...

I handle our pups and I learned by working with my trainers and actually running them. One thing you will learn is the dogs usually can pass the tests, if they mess up it is frequently a handler error...yep you will make some, but the dogs don't care as long as they get to run and fetch the bird, they are happy, happy, even if you make a mistake where they cannot find the bird, they will comeback when you call them (hopefully) and still be happy, happy....

Your local clubs may be aware of a training group that you could join. Call them and check it out! This is a local group of dog owners that go out and train their dogs. They will share their knowledge and show you how to do things... all you have to do is show up and help them do the work to set up and run the dogs....maybe bring some soda's when it is your turn....

Don't be afraid to run the JH or Started hunt tests. Tell the judges it is your first time...they will help you some...as you know it is best to watch a few JH tests first. When you watch focus on the handlers and the dogs as they approach the running area and while they are in the holding blinds waiting for their turn. Then watch them as the walk up to the line to run and all that happens after that. Watching will help you sort out what is all going on...but it is not hard to learn and your dog will already know what he is supposed to do....

Have fun and don't feel bad if you have a problem....it get's easier as you go....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow, what fun you are in for....my wife and I started with one pup over 25 years ago. Our goal was to run our new Golden Retriever in Hunt tests. Now we are retired and we have two Goldens one is working on her MH and the other will run his first SH in June. We have had five others before our current two dogs...all were hunt test dogs. We are as excited as kids with our new dogs....you see for us the fun of meeting all the people and dogs at hunt tests and running our dogs in hunt tests, primarily AKC...is now our favorite pass time...we run them all Spring and All through the Fall, we do it because the dogs love it and so do we...

I handle our pups and I learned by working with my trainers and actually running them. One thing you will learn is the dogs usually can pass the tests, if they mess up it is frequently a handler error...yep you will make some, but the dogs don't care as long as they get to run and fetch the bird, they are happy, happy, even if you make a mistake where they cannot find the bird, they will comeback when you call them (hopefully) and still be happy, happy....

Your local clubs may be aware of a training group that you could join. Call them and check it out! This is a local group of dog owners that go out and train their dogs. They will share their knowledge and show you how to do things... all you have to do is show up and help them do the work to set up and run the dogs....maybe bring some soda's when it is your turn....

Don't be afraid to run the JH or Started hunt tests. Tell the judges it is your first time...they will help you some...as you know it is best to watch a few JH tests first. When you watch focus on the handlers and the dogs as they approach the running area and while they are in the holding blinds waiting for their turn. Then watch them as the walk up to the line to run and all that happens after that. Watching will help you sort out what is all going on...but it is not hard to learn and your dog will already know what he is supposed to do....

Have fun and don't feel bad if you have a problem....it get's easier as you go....

Truly love seeing this response!! So encouraging and makes me that much more excited. My family and I have 5 Goldens currently, but this new one of mine, the one I wrote this thread about, will be the first to get into any of the hunt tests. I've heard it is so addicting once you get started and will probably become one of my favorite hobbies. I do see myself enjoying it to that extent and beyond!! And yes sir I am actually attending a hunt test this weekend, and also made arrangements in June to attend another one closer to my hometown, put on by a club I fully intend on joining and getting some of his titles through that club, hopefully. I hope to meet many people during this journey and hope to learn a lot from others and from my dog himself. It sounds like I am on the right path preparing myself to learn as much as I can, and get involved while my dog is in training, so that we can jump right into it when he gets out... and I am anxiously awaiting that day! Thank you tons for your encouragement and advice!
 

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And yes sir I am actually attending a hunt test this weekend, and also made arrangements in June to attend another one closer to my hometown, put on by a club I fully intend on joining
You should inquire with the club before the test about membership dues. Many clubs have significantly reduced dues for members that work a number of hours at events, maintaining grounds, etc. Since you plan to go to the test you could get some hours in working and it is a good way to learn the mechanics of a test.
 
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