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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to this world, and especially new to the world of hunt tests. I handled in my second hunt test this weekend, the Tennessee River test. Maggie and I passed our first test, Seasoned at Southern Flight, and I thought we passed this one... turns out we failed.

Rather than complain about failing, I wanted to ask some of the experienced guys if the conditions of this test, as well as the judging, were normal. The judge, in my test, was a friend of mine who lives in the area. I'm certainly not blaming or blasting, just trying to get my bearings straight.

Here are the details I thought perhaps questionable:

land -
12-24" cover (grass) over entire test
go bird approximately 80 yards (across small valley)
25-30mph winds (blowing this speed before test was set up)
50yard blind on side of hill with 25mph cross wind
diversion bird thrown in direct path of dog returning from blind blind

water -
blind was a "down the bank" at 50 yards. Extreme angle on entry and dog must stay 5-15 feet from slightly curved bank on left to reach the blind, with a 25mph cross wind left-to-right.

I thought these may be a little much for seasoned, I was just wondering the opinion of some more experienced hunt test handlers/judges? 18 of 36 dogs passed, 18 failed.

My dog was flawless on the walk-up, stepped on the land marks, ignored the diversion (that nearly landed on her face), and completed the water marks with no issue (swam 20ft. left of the memory water (60-70 yard swim) and caught scent of the bird). No handling on any marks.

My problem was the blind. I had seen 5 dogs fail on the land blind by falling to the right (down the hill) and refusing a left-over cast (up hill/into wind). My dog did the same thing, so after 4 refusals (back instead of over) I called her in and re-sent her. She lined it on the second attempt, with one accepted left/over cast.

I also saw a lot of dogs get knocked out on the final retrieve, the water blind. Many handlers, to compensate for the down-the-bank run (the judge emphasized that the dog must go by water), handled the dog too far right (into the water). My dog did the same... and there was a shallow portion about 10 yards too far right that many dogs found themselves standing up on (what dog doesn't prefer to stand instead of tread water?). After 3 left/over casts, my dog continued to go left/angle back. Finally, on the 4th cast, my dog took the over and went straight to the blind.

I failed because I had more cast refusals than cast acceptances. Here is my second question - is it better to blow the whistle when unnecessary, simply to get a positive cast? If I had known that there was a "more/less" rule, I would have blown the whistle 4 more times to show the judge some positive casting, especially once she was headed right for the bird.

I look forward to learning from you experienced folks, thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!
 

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Tough luck. I'm not sure if the resend didn't do you in. I don't think you call a dog back in if the blind goes bad. As far as I know it means you get two attempts at sending in case of a no go maybe? Someone who knows will chime I'm sure. I'm not one to quote the rule book.
 

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Barton,

I don't do AKC Hunt tests. But in most venues, by the time you're running blinds, if the handler sends the dog, and gets refusals to the point where the dog gets called back in, that's not going to be passable work.

I'd imagine that as soon as you called the dog to you after 4 refusals, you were not going to be able to salvage a pass.

My suggestion to you is that you focus on the future. You may have gotten some benefit out of the recall and the successful blind on the second attempt. It sounds like you faced some pretty challenging factors with some pretty good results - other than your first take on the blind.

I bet you guys will get it next time.

Your dog had just as much fun, whether you brought another ribbon home or not.

Good luck and don't sweat it.

Chris
 

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Your test although sounds a bit difficult for seasoned certainly sounds as if it is well within the guidelines for seasoned test. Not a judge myself I know judges at seasoned level make reference to 50 percent on blinds. You dog should by all rights take every cast. I know it doesn't always happen. I haven't looked at the rules so I am not sure about calling the dog back in and resending on a blind. I know you can do it in started on a mark. There may have been something that the judges saw that you did not. None of us here can really say as we were not there.
 

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A call back in a HRC seasoned hunt test blind is acceptable. I have done it twice in my career and got passes. The key to recalling and resending is to do it before you get into so much trouble. I suspect having so many cast refusals before you recalled was the issue. But I wasn't there and didn't see the test. Asking the judge is the best approach.
 

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Interesting. I knew you could recall but I assumed once you started handling the blind was in the books.
 

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By your own account I to would have failed the dog for control. The rule of thumb for seasoned dogs is 50% compliance. You will not find this in the rule book and judges don't just count and automatically fail a dog if it exceeds 50%. Without seeing the run and going by your account it sounds as if the dog on the water blind only took the left over when it got deep enough to wind the blind. At that point it does matter how many time you stop the dog and cast him the blind was over. As I read it the blind would be scored in my book as, PIL (poor initial line), WCR (whistle cast refusal), WCR (whistle cast refusal), WCR (whistle cast refusal), WWB (whistle winded blind). The water blind alone was reason enough to fail him and the land blind was not much better. The rules allow you a re-cast your dog but the judges do not ignore the first failure.

The test sounds a little on the more difficult side for seasoned but I was not there and not knowing what water they had to work with I don't find it unreasonable. Did you ask to see the judges score sheets? You should if you did not so you can get a better idea of what they saw and why they scored it as they did.

Sounds like you have a nice dog that just needs a little more work on his blinds. Good luck at your next test.
 

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Even though on the tough side for Seasoned, the judges and HT committee all agreed on the test. Rule Book says land blind should be in relatively easy cover and water blind in relatively open water.

All subject to interpretation by the judges.
 

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Everyone loves to pass every test, but when you get that many cast refusals sometimes its better that you pick up the dog and don't reward him with the bird.

You mentioned handling the dog early (blowing the whistle when unnecessary) to get cast that you feel the dog woud take. How about handling the dog early to keep him out of that hole that you watched take down 5 other dogs on the land blind. Not say that you shouldn't challenge the blind, but that corridor to the bird should have two sides. Err a little on the safe side.

Not a judge, but I would not set up a seasoned blind on land or water with a 25-30 mph crosswind. Too strong a factor for a season test IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the great responses so far. Yeah, it was definitely a tough test. I believe it was within the bounds of a seasoned test, just definitely on the difficult side of seasoned.

I think my reasoning is off, since I am new (and certainly not a judge). My thinking was that her "acing" everything else would "earn" more leniency on the 7 cast refusals vs. 3 cast acceptances. I am learning that this is not how it works.

I have talked with the judge, Jason Christopher, as he was going to "bring my ribbon home" after the test ;) That ended up being a late, disappointing phone call. He was the one who explained my exact number of cast refusals and how that works. He also let me know that 18 of 36 failed. Is this number, 50% passing, normal?

Jason lives in my town, and I had to leave before the banquet/ribbons on Saturday. I am a minister in Tupelo, and I cannot therefore run on Sundays. I have to run Saturday only, which is what makes a failure so disappointing. Jason is a good guy, and I think he is a straight-forward judge. I didn't want any of you guys to think I was blaming/bashing.. or really even complaining. Just seeking knowledge!
 

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you asked your question in such a polite and understanding way I am sure nobody thinks your bashing anyone. Welcome to RTF BTW. I for one completely understand your weekend. My normal weekend is Sunday and Monday. I enter many weekends one day only because of it. Just endeavor to persevere, folk like you and I, and a great many others who do not have two days of testing every weekend still can title our dogs. Just can take a bit longer. But not much because some folk have Jekyll and Hyde dogs that turn into beasts on the second day of testing.
You could use a term from Profession, "Blessing in Disguise"?
 
 
.
 

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Thanks for the great responses so far. Yeah, it was definitely a tough test. I believe it was within the bounds of a seasoned test, just definitely on the difficult side of seasoned.

I think my reasoning is off, since I am new (and certainly not a judge). My thinking was that her "acing" everything else would "earn" more leniency on the 7 cast refusals vs. 3 cast acceptances. I am learning that this is not how it works.

I have talked with the judge, Jason Christopher, as he was going to "bring my ribbon home" after the test ;) That ended up being a late, disappointing phone call. He was the one who explained my exact number of cast refusals and how that works. He also let me know that 18 of 36 failed. Is this number, 50% passing, normal?

Jason lives in my town, and I had to leave before the banquet/ribbons on Saturday. I am a minister in Tupelo, and I cannot therefore run on Sundays. I have to run Saturday only, which is what makes a failure so disappointing. Jason is a good guy, and I think he is a straight-forward judge. I didn't want any of you guys to think I was blaming/bashing.. or really even complaining. Just seeking knowledge!
Someone else mentioned that the "rule of thumb" is that you should have no more than 50% cast refusals. While this may or may not be, I wouldn't be as hung up on the number as you sound. One thing to remember with blinds is that a big part of it is teamwork. How well do dog and handler work together to accomplish the blind. When a dog has cast refusals, while they can happen for several reasons, a big one is lack of teamwork. And it's one of those "you know it when you see it" things. Generally with so many refusals it's not a pleasant blind to watch because of the lack of teamwork and that will result in a fail. Stepping on every mark will not make up for poor blind work. Just as it doesn't work the other way around.

A 50% pass/fail rate is pretty common though will be higher or lower depending on the weekend.

It sounds like you have a nice dog, ran into a tough test due to conditions and set up that your dog struggled with. You certainly aren't the first one to be in that boat! And now you know the next time you get a windy day that it would be a great opportunity to work on cross wind blinds. Always something positive to take from a test. Pass or fail.
 

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Barton, nice to meet you this weekend. I am the one with family that lives in your area.

I watched your land test, but was unable to watch the water portion or even see the setup. I remember that you had a good walkup and a couple of good marks. The blind was pretty ugly. I am not a judge but I have run several tests, from started through finished. It is my understanding that even though you can bring the dog back and recast for the blind, your previous casts/refusals are not erased. If memory serves me correctly, your pup was taking a right over toward the short memory mark (old fall) as opposed to the back cast you were giving. It got pretty ugly before you brought pup back in and recast. The conditions were definitely far from ideal with the brutal winds. The cover was a little tall, but definitely something you will see again, and sometimes the cover gets a little nastier as you progress to the higher levels. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a judge but have run several tests and ran several about like the test that Jason and his co-judge set up. I know Jason well and have run under him on several occasions. He is a good judge, very fair, knows what he is doing, and is glad to help you learn how to improve.

Hang in there. Good luck on your next test. You have a nice pup. What test are you running next?
 

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I had a similar type test a few weeks ago. We had breezed through our first test a week earlier, then had a very tough seasoned test that had some blind suction elements to it. We were warned after the first blind, that the afternoon blind needed to be pretty clean in order to pass. Well, the afternoon blind went worse than the water blind, and we got dropped. Only about half of the field passed that test as well. We went home and worked on the issues that we were having, and came back one week later & put together a sweet double pass weekend. Hang in there, learn why you failed, and try your best not to let that setup get you again.
 

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The end result is you did not do the work the judges wanted. Different judges may have let the refusals slide, but it sounds like the majority would not. As big a deal as it seems to you now, it is not really. What you have learned is that you must continue to work with your dog and make him better. The rule of thumb is don't run a dog at any level until they are ready for the next level. This was just seasoned and it is one of the toughest to set up because dogs in seasoned are all at different levels, some are ready to move on to finished and some are not ready for started. Just keep working, stop trying to over think it and the numbers and by next year you will laugh at the question you asked. Everybody experiences the same thing at some time when they start out. Best advice, train, train, train to a level more than you are running then run your dog and enjoy the ribbons OR learn from the failure.
Welcome to RTF
 

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I have run Seasoned under Jason twice and found him to be very fair to the dogs with good set ups and fair evaluations. I chose him as a seasoned judge in my club test a few weeks ago and he did an outstanding job.
If you were close, you probably would have got the pass.
Work on your weaknesses and it will go better next time.
MP
 

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I have run Seasoned under Jason twice and found him to be very fair to the dogs with good set ups and fair evaluations. I chose him as a seasoned judge in my club test a few weeks ago and he did an outstanding job.
If you were close, you probably would have got the pass.
Work on your weaknesses and it will go better next time.
MP
Not to put words in the OP's mouth (i too am working through occasional cast refusals) but what is the next step in training to work through cast refusals, work on that teamwork and get the dog taking casts and making progress to the blind? Is it strictly repetition or are there drills, etc he/we could work on?
 

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I am going to quote a few things from the seminar..

Iwant to make sure everyone knows I am not attempting to slam judges...

I want to make perfectly clear also,, that I think the seasoned level test is the hardest to set up,, and intelligently incorperate all the aspects required of it..

On days where weather and cover conditions are less than ideal,, it makes it that much harder.... Handlers then just have to suck it up, and do their best,, and LET THE JUDGES JUDGE....

Quotes from the seminar:
Seasoned Blinds.
The standards of control and performance on blinds for Seasoned dogs are less than that for Finished and Grand. Less control and MORE WHISTLES and CAST REFUSALS can be ACCEPTED for the seasoned dogs as compared to to more advanced catagories.

Blind retrieves should be through EASY COVER and relativly OPEN WATER.

Recomendations:

The Seasoned Blind should be a seperate test. Dont combine it with another part of the test.

Be careful to run Seasoned blinds away from the Marking tests.

Aviod drastic cover changes.
Handlers should be able to see the dog.

Avoid tight angle entries on seasoned water blinds..

Aviod bank running blinds..


Those are directly from the seminar....

As you can see ,, some tests may be encountered that incorperate Factors above the standarsd of the seasoned level...

The biggest thing I have learned from owning two dogs,,, and attending Seminars and training with pros is this:

To many people start running tests BEFORE the dog is really prepared to run them....

If there are blind retrieves incorperated in a test,,,, The dog must be prepared.... No matter what the standard may read.....

A dog running any cold blind should have a good dose of pattern blinds,, and blinds run with diversions.. By diversions,, I mean blinds with a considerable amount of suction...

The OP's blinds were 50 yrds....

handlers should have dogs prepared to run a 50 yrd blind, with the dog leaving,, showing a good initial line,, and being ready to run straight for at LEAST that 50 yrd distANCE..

Train Harder... prepare the dog... Dont get in a hurry to run tests..

Gooser has made every one of those mistakes..

Dint train particarly hard,,
Dog wasnt prepared.,,

Got in to big a hurry to run tests..

New pup is goin to be very different...

Gooser
 

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Not to put words in the OP's mouth (i too am working through occasional cast refusals) but what is the next step in training to work through cast refusals, work on that teamwork and get the dog taking casts and making progress to the blind? Is it strictly repetition or are there drills, etc he/we could work on?
The answer to this question is one that everyone has to determine for themselves and their dog. What I mean is this, it could be that you need more experience in correctly handling the dog to enhance the probability of success ( ie - being quick on the whistle, slow on the handle, better guidance with your hand signals, on and on ) It could be helping the dog develop more confidence to go where sent, and making sure that he is actually going in the direction of where YOU THINK he is going, or even getting the dog to work more as a team with you as the handler through more practice and repetition.

Yesterday I was training with some friends at a new tech pond we had access to and my young dog who has his HR title was having difficulty running a blind with a water entry, over a point, back in the water and then taking an angle over to a corner and get out about 5 yards. I was getting extremely frustrated and the dog was getting more and more upset as well. What we did was calm everything down, drop back 2 dogs, and broke down each part of the blind to teach him what we wanted him to do. He was able to do it with no problems after using a "modified Bird Boy Blind Drill" and in the end he was successful with it and developed a lot more confidence with the task. Now we will go back to that same spot and reinforce that training by running the same blind, or by going to another location and trying to recreate a similar experience. The goal is to train that skill, reinforce that skill, then hopefully be successful at that skill if it shows up in a test scenario.
 

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slowwwwwwwwwww downnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Gooooooooooooser :)
 
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