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First, I know there have been similar questions to mine asked lately but not exactly the same and I need help for this weekend's Hunt Test. My dog ran his first Hunt Test two weeks ago at Deer River HRC. He did great and passed both days in seasoned. The only problem was on his first run both days he seemed to be over excited and got confused on the simple "go" bird. After that he was perfect. Lined the land blind and one whistled the water. All other marks were perfect. I don't want him learning that "going to the dance" is any different than normal routine. By the way, he does perfect in training. No confusion at all. What do I need to do differently? Would taking him off test grounds and running a few marks before he runs official test help? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
 

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Try finding some place where you can do some work with him before heading to the grounds. Dennis has a section on his training alone DVD with his routine. I find it always helpful to get my critters out if I can and work them a little bit, even if it is just obedience, to take the edge off.
 

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Do you normally shoot primers in training? In training are you sending from your side standing or from the bucket? Sometimes a dog will have sensory overload from the test and simply have a brain fart. Not a big deal and I don't know of any way to fix that.

With dogs getting confused on a go bird. I will make the gun safe, get up off the bucket. Then make sure the dog is lined up for the mark before sending. The ready, set, go mentality can confuse some dogs.

Also make 100% sure the dog actually saw the mark. Look at your dogs head while the marks are going down. It could be as simple as your dog didn't get a good look at the go bird. Last weekend there were lots of seasoned dogs that didn't swing to the go bird. If that is the case lots of bucket drills help.

Hope some of this helps
Mark Land
 

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A little "off the test grounds" marks and a blind or two before he runs would be great for him and kind of take the edge off of him before he runs the test. Good luck with him and enjoy the ride! I enjoyed 20 years of running HRC and miss the companionship of the hunts, old age sucks, Bill
 

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Dogs can play off your emotions too. Are you as relaxed at the line as you would be on a normal training day? It's hard to expect the dog to act like nothing is different if your heart is pounding 200 bpm and your hands are shaking. ;)

Seriously, if you are nervous, you are probably rushing things at the line and may not giving him a chance to 'see' the test before releasing him.
 

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I'm going to just address the simple go bird concern. I have a dog who sometimes gets a little over excited and can muck up a go bird like no one's business. I attribute to him being in kind of a fog of excitement, so once I'm realsed by the judges I'll give him a sit command. This normally pulls him out of that fog, relaxes him a bit and allows him to truly focus on the bird...might consider trying it...

FOM
 
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