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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When judging, what is your criteria for scrapping the test ?

When the first x dogs do it with little or no challenge ?
What about if the first x dogs do not do it ?
When there appears to be an unforeseen safety issue ?
When test is taking too much time ?
When a visibility issue develops after the test starts ?
Your thoughts......

How many of you use a setup dog ?



john
 

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Judged an HRC Finished test a few years ago in NC. Setup the test on Friday and ran setup dogs with no issues. Saturday morning rolls around and the first 6 dogs that ran did not do it. We started it out as a hunt where you jump shot the first bird which was only about 30 yds and then you sat on a bucket to shoot the other two. After the 6th dog I knew we were in for a long day if we did not do something. After talking it over with my co-judge we scrapped the sneak part of the test and just did the marks sitting on the bucket. Called all the handlers together and explained the deal and we proceeded to start the test over from dog 1. We had a strong field of dogs being 99% were HRCH dogs and would be running the Grand in a few weeks.
 

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I do not judge. My husband judges field trials and also is a stake set up man for several clubs. I marshal and am also around on a few set up days.

Judges who fly in obviously do not bring dogs. When the club can, they offer set up dogs. It has been my experience that few judges who drive to the trial bring their own dog for the set up dog or even ask for a set up dog. Then it seems to me that the host club should have some set up dogs available if at all possible.

Judges don't like to scrap tests (for many reasons). I hate it when the reason is their hard-headed vanity of not wanting to admit they set up a poor test or an unsafe test.

I hate it when they drag it out beyond 6 or 7 dogs. Not only are they wasting time, they are wasting the club's money in shooting flyers and minimizing the bird count for the trial.

IMHO it shouldn't take more than 6 dogs to realize it is a poor test or an unsafe test that should be scrubbed. However, I recall at one time a test was not scrubbed until after 13 dogs were run. What were those judges thinking?

If the judges don't have common sense, then the Field Trial Committee should step in and demand it be scrapped. If it is an unsafe test, I think the FT Committee is obligated to tell the judges to scrap it immediately. Actually, the decision to scrap an unsafe test should have been made on set up day if FT Committee members are present on set up day to observe a test dog running the test.

I have been at a few trials where the judges simply refused to scrap their unsafe test until a large body of handlers threatened en masse to scratch their entries which forced the issue.

Sad, but true.

Helen
 

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What are some of the things that make a test unsafe? I've only run in a handful of tests and trials and haven't seen a series scrapped because of safety concerns.
 

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What are some of the things that make a test unsafe? I've only run in a handful of tests and trials and haven't seen a series scrapped because of safety concerns.
I have seen trials where they should have, handlers were very concerned, some scrapped due to the danger, one I know ran against his better judgement and lived to regret it as his dog was severly injured.
 

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What are some of the things that make a test unsafe? I've only run in a handful of tests and trials and haven't seen a series scrapped because of safety concerns.
The two safety issues that I've seen were issues due to:

Trees that beavers dropped in the water, than gnawed off some limbs, leaving spikes of branches that could impale dogs (and did, at one hunt test last year).

Ditches bisecting the line to the mark. A narrow ditch may not look like much of an obstacle, but it depends on the dog, when the dog sees it on the line to the mark, where it decides to launch, etc. Dogs have been lost trying to jump a ditch and mis-judging it.

The perspective of what is a safety concern and what isn't can be deceiving. We've set up training marks where there was an area of concern (not unsafe, but we wanted to keep an eye on the first few dogs just in case), and it turned out to be nothing. Conversely, we've had training marks that we thought would be no issue, but after watching the first dog run the setup was scrapped IMMEDIATELY, with the feeling that "when we set that up I didn't expect the dog to go THERE.." and we felt lucky the dog wasn't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What are some of the things that make a test unsafe? I've only run in a handful of tests and trials and haven't seen a series scrapped because of safety concerns.
Heat.... a big set of marks on a hot humid day.

john
 

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Yes, the huge marks on a 96 degree humid day or in HT, a 6 bird first series (3 marks, diversion mark and double blind) with that kind of heat/humidity. Ditches are bad news as are water with growth so thick that the dogs get stuck and potentially go under. Sticks or rocks at the edge of water where a dog will land. Rock walls that are covered with grass or weeds so the dog can't see them. All of that could and should be avoided by walking the grounds while setting up. A set up dog will help you with visibility of the dog in cover but may not uncover other hazards if they are running singles as their AOF will be less than a dog running multiple marks. I have judged tests where the first 4 dogs flat out failed and I began to worry, then the next 10-12 dogs did fine. I doubt I would scrap a test if the first 5-6 dogs did a great job on it. It just might be they were very good dogs.

Dawn
 

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I always use a set up dog and a test dog. We (HRC) normally set up our tests for Saturday on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon for Sunday's test. I have changed a test if there is a considerable difference in wind direction or force from one day to the next. I once ran a test at Music City HRC, where the water level rose 6-8 feet over night. Those tests had to be changed.
Like others have said, temperature plays a big part in setting up the length of marks. Heat and humidity can be killers for dogs. Even though you think your marks are not long and a dog can accomplish them quickly, there are always going to be the few dogs that have extended hunts, thereby turning your "reasonable" marks into dangerous marks. Better to go with shorter, well placed marks than marathon marks, IMO.
I always look at the water's edge for stick-ups, stumps, etc that could impale a dog that has a big water entry. I never want any type of obstruction of this type anywhere close to the line to the marks or blind.
I always check the fields for wire, glass, holes, and any thing else that could hurt a dog.
 
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