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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 1year old female lab is currently with a trainer. Once the hunt tests start up again (after it cools off a little in the South) I will be handling her her in some hunt tests.
As someone new to handling in hunt tests, (have had a lab for years in hunting situations), I know I need some "training" as it relates to hunt tests. I have downloaded the rules and studied them. What type of "test training" should I do to help eliminate new handler mistakes?
 

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Your trainer should help you learn to run your dog. What cues to give, how to send, how to receive, how to cast in order to get a difficult cast, etc. The mechanics of what to do in relation to the rules are relatively simple and quickly learned. How to handle in a test vs. how to handle in training will take time and instruction from your trainer.
 

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learn from your trainer how to handle the dog THE WAY IT WAS TRAINED TO BE HANDLED. iF YOU DECIDE TO SEEK ADVICE ELSEWHERE AFTER YOU AND THE DOG ARE ON THE SAME PAGE YOU WILL HAVE TO TEACH THE DOG AS YOU CHANGE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I feel like I know the actual handling of the dog. I know everyone makes rookie mistakes in the excitement of the test. This is some of the things I would like to watch out for. I will be joining a club and working with them. I would like to draw on some of your knowledge on what dumb things you have seen rookies make.
Thanks
 

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I feel like I know the actual handling of the dog. I know everyone makes rookie mistakes in the excitement of the test. This is some of the things I would like to watch out for. I will be joining a club and working with them. I would like to draw on some of your knowledge on what dumb things you have seen rookies make.
Thanks
This is the biggest mistake rookies make. Not being in tune with their dog like the trainer is. Casting cadence is one example of that. Another is how the trainer gets course and fine movents at the line. The dog is likely not yet running cold blinds and probably is not yet refined in movements at the line. So you may not have seen this yet but maybe you have. There is much more to running the dog than just pointing her in the general direction and calling her name.
The dumb mistakes like not talking to the dog until released or not shouldering the gun in an AKC test or forgetting to load a shell for the diversion bird in an HRC test are extremely minor in comparison.
Someone suggested Dave Rorem's Art and Science DVD. I'd also suggest you check out the back issues of Retrievers ONLINE. There is an index of articles on the web site. Search for the two part article on handling in training and handling in a test. This kind of information will get you through many more tests than someone telling you to not forget to breathe.
 

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The biggest mistake I make on a continual basis,, is being in too big of hurry.

I am CONSTANTLY reminded to slow down.. Even when I am making a conciouse effort to be slow and methodical...

Pay very close attention to what your trainer tells you about how YOU move at the line to work with the dog... Incorrect movement by you at the wrong time only confuses and distracts Fido....

I would go to the trainer and request to attend as many training days he or she will allow,,, to get you used to what the dog requires..

SLOW DOWN..... STAND STILL,,, DAMN IT GOOSER!!! Thats all I hear!!:(

If only I could practice what I preach..

Gooser
 

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I feel like I know the actual handling of the dog. I know everyone makes rookie mistakes in the excitement of the test. This is some of the things I would like to watch out for. I will be joining a club and working with them. I would like to draw on some of your knowledge on what dumb things you have seen rookies make.
Thanks
I feel like I know the actual handling of the dog. You can never know enough! Believe me! I have worked through 2 dogs myself and have a third started. My first dog I had help and many mistakes were made especially by the pro. My 2 yo was trained by myself attending some group training when I could, asking questions, seeking out opportunities that would assist me, and reading lots as suggested. You are a better handler by having hands on your dog. Watch, listen and try. That will give you experience! I am glad you are joining a club. Work with your pro. Find and seek out opportunities!! Training and handling dogs is never ending.:) It is what you put into the sport.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would imagine there is a certain amount of "reading" the blind or mark as to things to watch out for, suction points, etc.
Again, I figure that working with a group I will learn some of that, but I know judges are setting up the tests to prove/challenge the dogs.
 

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A lot of reading the blind and marks comes from the experience of running or watching dogs and how they react to different factors. This is the area I am constantly trying to learn more about as I think it's one of the hardest to master. Assuming it can ever really be mastered.

There were several threads where pictures were posted and a bunch of folks submitted their ideas for placement of marks and blinds then they were critiqued and discussed things like how a dog would react. Ted Shih started most of them. Look them up, there's a wealth of information there to add to the real time learning out in the field.

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being too animated and working too fast. your trainer should be more than willing to help with all facets of the game. he's been there and know what to look for.
 

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...but I know judges are setting up the tests to prove/challenge the dogs.
Yes, the judges are setting up tests to prove/challenge the dogs. Specifically, they are wanting to set up tests so they can see the dog/handler demonstrate marking/memory, style, perseverance, and trainability.
 

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Gooser said it nicley. SLOW and easy. Take your time linning the dog up. I see it too often. Dog returns from a mark gives it to the handler and dog is sent right then. If the memory is there it will be there for a few more seconds. Let the dog get the picture of the memory bird before sending. You will know by experience when the dog is locked in. The dogs breathing will change from fast to non existant. When running the blind, SLOW your casts down. Take your time, linning, casting are built with confidence. If you have it your dog will to. Be the team. work together, if your casting fast, whistling fast your dog will too. And fido doesn't think that fast. Be deliberate. It will payoff. Good luck and mostly have fun with your dog.:cool:
 

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The best picture I have of me when I first started handling a dog was one taken from behind me as I signaled for the birds. I was so intent and watching intently while my dog at my side was looking in a totally different direction!! A picture says a thousand words and that is a mistake that new handlers make as they forget to watch the dog in their efforts to see where all of the birds are landing. The birds should all land in roughly the same spot except for the flyer. That is the only one that you should watch after you are sure the dog sees it.
Just my two cents worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Right or wrong, I plan on starting in HRC hunt tests and then transition over to AKC Hunt tests. I realize there will be some differences between the two. One of the reasons is my trainer is more familiar with HRC hunt tests.
 

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Right or wrong, I plan on starting in HRC hunt tests and then transition over to AKC Hunt tests. I realize there will be some differences between the two. One of the reasons is my trainer is more familiar with HRC hunt tests.
I think that is the best way to go. The dog will barely notice the difference but it would be better to run what your trainer is familiar with first.

I would encourage you to maintain standards that will get you through either type test. For example:

HRC Started test does not require delivery to hand but AKC Junior does. So I wouldn't run HRC Started unless my dog was reliably delivering to hand.

HRC tests allow you to talk to your dog while the birds are being thrown while AKC tests do not. I would try to have my dog working with me without talking to her. One exception to this is if there is no attention getting device used in a finished test, a quiet here or heel to help the dog swing is ok in my book.

AKC tests, at least from my limited experience , are more lenient on line manners/creeping. I think this is because of the way the dogs are scored (a 5 average in trainability will pass if you have high marking, perserverance, and style scores). A dog out past the gun barrel is most likely out in an HRC test but probably not in AKC. Maintain the standard of not allowing your dog to retrieve if creeps past the end of the gun barrel and you will be fine in either venue.

Also, you get a live flyer in AKC hunt tests but typically do not in HRC tests. I would expose my dog to flyers in training early on and not wait until I started running AKC tests to do it.

When you do run AKC Tests, I'd wait until the dog was ready for Master tests before running. By the time your dog has a finished title it is likely ready. This will save you some $. Remeber, ready is the key word here.
 

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Tips for running 1st Junior Hunter test

1 – Locate area where Junior will be running and try to find a spot to park that is not too close to where the line will be for the test and is shady (if warm).
2 – Check in with the Marshal and let him/her know that this is your first hunt test. The Marshal is who will normally have the catalogs.
3 – After you have checked in with the Marshal, air your dog. Keep your dog in her crate other than out to air.
4 – Listen for when they call the Handlers to come to the line to watch the test dog. Usually, after the test dog runs, the judges will ask if anyone has any questions. If you have a question, now would be a good time to let the Judges know this is your first hunt test. Don’t be afraid to ask a question.
5 – Watch several dogs run, if possible.
6 – After the Marshal tells you to get ready, air your dog and go to the holding blind. Make sure you have your whistle and slip cord!
7 – Once the Judges call you to the line and before you step out of the holding blind, get yourself and your dog ready (Sit), take a deep breath & exhale, then leave the holding blind (Heel).
8 – As you leave the holding blind, walk to the line so that your dog will be facing the 1st gun station.
9 – At the line, have your dog sit, either adjust slip cord or hold her collar, re-enforce “SIT” and then ‘signal’ the Judges that you are ready.
10 – NO TALKING once you signal you are ready.
11 – Do not send your dog to retrieve until AFTER the Judges say your number (or says ‘dog’)
12 – After your dog is going for the retrieve, place your slip cord in your pocket.
12 – As your dog is returning from the retrieve, turn your feet and body so you are facing the next mark.
13 – Take the bird from your dog and get your dog to sit at Heel position. HAND the bird to the Judge.
14 - Get ready for the next retrieve. This is when you would put the slip cord back on the collar or hold the collar while the bird goes down.
15 – Repeat #9 – 13
16 – Place slip cord on your dog’s collar; THANK the Judges and leave the line.
@ Vicky Trainor, Oakdale Retrievers
The above are some tips I gave to clients prior to them running their dog in their 1st Jr. Hunt Test. Hope you find one or two things that will help you in the future.
 

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I have run a few JRS and the nerves all way seem to be bad. One tip Vicky gave deep breath i found talking to my self to the line and when your dog is released turn and talk to the judge a little about the weather or what ever. Mine was about how the dogs just cant get there fast enough. I could run some pretty big run and guns and never get the nerves. But hunt test i feel like im all thumbs.
 

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I feel like I know the actual handling of the dog. I know everyone makes rookie mistakes in the excitement of the test. This is some of the things I would like to watch out for. I will be joining a club and working with them. I would like to draw on some of your knowledge on what dumb things you have seen rookies make.
Thanks
Amite River HRC club is bassed in Baton Rouge, also Pontchartrain HRC is close by. Not sure who your trainer is but Amite has a good group to train with. Also Pontchartrian members train in the Bonnet Carrie Spillway. We will be having a training day this Saturday. Both clubs have very knowledgable members that have been around for a while. Good luck with your first dog.
 
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