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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What training do you all think pups ought to have before they start running derbies? Would you let handler experience in field trials factor in?

There's been lots of discussion lately about running dogs before the pups are "ready." How do you determine "ready" for derby?

I'm a new trainer/handler learning the ropes with 17 mo old pup.

Thoughts?
 

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If they are able to finish one, I'd enter in it. Depending on the dog though. Some I'd wait until I felt like they can win. Different dogs need different things.
 

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Go watch some derbies and you will get an idea of what is expected, especially the water marks. They better be thoroughly decheated because they will learn to cheat, and they must be above average markers because there are some really good dogs out there. Depending on the dog, line manners may suffer. I had one dog win his first derby and pulled him after the second so his line manners didn't get worse. Most are doing qualifying level work. I personally skip derbies now and go in at qual level.
 

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There are trialers in Salt Lake City. Get with a group of them. Train and BS with them for a few days. That should show you what trial dogs do and what we train for.

There's no such thing as an average derby IMO. Have your dog's line manners good and have him water honest.

If your derby dog will sit on the line and work with you, I don't see anything wrong with watching your first derby as a handler. You'll never watch a series more closely than when you're going to run it in a few dogs. One derby will not make a lifetime of bad habits. Several will if he's allowed to get away with behavior that is verboten in training.
 

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Renee : go watch the Derby this weekend at Lee Kay in Magna,take a picture or sketch the tests and come back and ask yourself if your dog can honestly complete them, there is also another trial the following weekend too with the GSLRC also at Lee Kay
 

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While the derby is supposed to be about natural marking ability rather than trained ability, to get past the first series, your pup should be able to do a long retired gun tight to the back of a flyer station with three crates of birds, three gunners making noise, and a 4 wheeler. I say long retired because inevitably the long gun is in the shadows and/or the dog loses sight of the long gun enroute.
Also, the dog should be very honest in the water. Judges seam to have trouble finding non-cheating water marks.
 

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Glen you're right on with the abilities to ignore flyer station and focus on long tight single gunner that stands in the shadow.
Long water entry with a lot of cheating set up.
 

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Glen and Mohaled, I find both of your posts discouraging though probably accurate. As I get ready for my first try, I get excited about even finding good land and terrain to work my pup on. I have also been fortunate to find some good people to work with so we have some degree of confidence in his line manners. The dog marks well, tries hard and I do enjoy him. But now I have this vision of a little shop of horrors, like lines tight behind flyers, hidden guns and a gold embossed invitation to cheat water. If this is accurate it is unfortunate. How often have I heard that the Derby was to bring in the next generation? Or was it supposed to read the next generation that employs pros and only plays the dog games second hand? I have no beef with the pros. I have benefitted hugely from their guidance.
At the risk of not being "taken seriously" I train my dogs for fun and only enter the occasional trial for the same reason. If in fact Derbies are commonly expected to over face the pups without professional training, it looses all appeal for me.
 

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Just go run a derby & stop playing the what if/whoa is me game. Enjoy the experience & stop complaining about it before you ever do it. Sheesh.
 

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Didn't mean to scare you, just few things I saw that might be helpfull for you to train for, generally its a wide open doubles, one on the left and one on the right :)
 

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I don't see many birds tight to a flyer in the derby, but I suppose it happens. I think that part is a little overstated. Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) Does my dog get in the water on both short corner type entries and longer entries the first time without any intervention, and does the dog generally stay straight in the water once he enters?
2) Am I regularly correcting for line manners or issues getting to the line?
3) When faced with factors like wind, terrain, etc., does my dog regularly end up behind the gun?

If your dog fails those questions, it probably won't be competitive in the derby. It might finish some, but won't be in play for any placements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I don't see many birds tight to a flyer in the derby, but I suppose it happens. I think that part is a little overstated. Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) Does my dog get in the water on both short corner type entries and longer entries the first time without any intervention, and does the dog generally stay straight in the water once he enters?
2) Am I regularly correcting for line manners or issues getting to the line?
3) When faced with factors like wind, terrain, etc., does my dog regularly end up behind the gun?

If your dog fails those questions, it probably won't be competitive in the derby. It might finish some, but won't be in play for any placements.
I was sort of wondering about #3, glad you wrote that. There is a lot of worry about pups getting in the bad habit of cheating water, but I haven't noticed much discussion about them getting in to bad habits because they haven't learned to fight wind and terrain. Does the latter not happen much?

To add: I took some of captainjack's comments as tongue-in-cheek/sarcasm.
 

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at the last couple of derbies that I watched, the judges coincidently were also the Open judges, so their tests were similar to the marks thrown in the Open, but were done as a double, wide open, nothing cheaty...Remember that in many cases the Derby gets the leftovers in terms of the grounds used, its competetive but probably more for bragging rights for the breeders/stud dogs, looks good on the dog's resume for use at a later date...take it for what it is, an entry level stake that shows if a dog can mark and count to two
 

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Derbies are great fun. They will only be under two for a seemingly very brief time so jump in and enjoy the youthful exuberance. Yes, they may break....have a controlled break (be prepared to yell heel or here), cheat, creep etc. but you'll never have a read or field test like the real deal. Many times there's no prediction as to what an all-age dog will come up with on a given weekend and the Derby dog will be no different. My first dog, I waited until he was 17 months old. Next dog, 14 months old and my current dog just got a jam at 9 months. All derbies are not created equal! Enjoy your pup and go for it Cheers!
 

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Thanks Beverly! Thats the kind of attitude some of us need to hear. When I read the posts by the old hands that list all the pitfalls, I think I get overwhelmed. I am so afraid of making mistakes, that I fail to try.;)
 

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What training do you all think pups ought to have before they start running derbies? Would you let handler experience in field trials factor in?

There's been lots of discussion lately about running dogs before the pups are "ready." How do you determine "ready" for derby?

I'm a new trainer/handler learning the ropes with 17 mo old pup.

Thoughts?
The all purpose answer - "It depends"

It depends on how good a handler you are. The better the handler, the more room for error that you have.

It depends on what kind of dog you have. The wilder the dog, the longer I would wait. If I had a dog that was a little down in the dumps in training, I would be more inclined to run it in a trial as a pick me up.

It depends on your dog's level of sophistication. I would not run a dog that did not have solid line manners. Running a dog with poor line manners is a guarantee of line manners in the future - and they are very difficult to correct

It depends on how much you need to run. Sometimes, a boy (or girl) needs to play with his/her toys.

But, I run fewer and fewer derbies as time goes on.

I prefer to lay the foundation for the All Age Stakes

 

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My rule of thumb is .... when the dog can run a cheaty water mark as a memory bird and is similarly as advanced in its training on land.

john
 

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Your first derby is a good place to really find out where you and your pup is at in the Field Trial game. I started running them at 6 months with my pup. Good Luck and Have Fun
 

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Renee and Carol, I've been where you are as recently as March. I watched derbies in the past and got a feel for what it took to compete in them and decided to hold off until we were further through transition work. I think a lot of the "scary" suggestions that you're getting are geared toward helping you determine if you can be competitive (if you can place) in a derby, not simply if you can run one.

From my limited experience, if you maintain your training standards, it is tough to get through a water series if your dog hasn't gotten thorough training on de-cheating, angle water entries, angling across points, and down-the-shore type setups (I've seen plenty of dogs that run around corners or beach early and run the bank, but if it was my dog, I would not tolerate that behavior). The bottom line is, you don't know what the judges are going to setup, and so if you want to compete, you have to be ready for a lot of different possibilities.

Prior to running a derby, I asked myself two questions. What is my ultimate goal for my dog? What is my goal for my first derby? My ultimate goal is for a competitive AA dog. My goal for our first derby was to finish it (we didn't). I believe the first answer trumps the second one, so I was determined to maintain our training standards as best as reasonably possible. As I'm not experienced enough to know which trial behaviors I could let slide without causing issues down the road, I was prepared to maintain pretty high standards with regard to handling or picking up.

If your goal for the derby is to simply play, gain some experience, and get as far as you can, then I'll offer this checklist for success in the first series. I made this prior to running one based on my observations of derbies that I’ve worked for our club (in order of importance).

1) Holding blind/Line manners - in training, the dog should walk at heel, off lead, from the holding blind to the line. The dog should sit on line quietly and calmly and watch the birds. For me, the dog should *never* break or creep in training.

2) Picking out guns - the dog should be able to look past the short flyer station and lock on the longer dead bird station. Be prepared for the long bird station to be hard to find, in shadows, and fairly tight behind the flyer station (I've seen a separation as small as about 20 degrees).

3) Returning to old fall area - the dog should be trained to run past the flyer station en route to the longer memory mark. Sometimes, there will be a cover strip (like a hedge row) that the dog will have to break to get out there. I've seen a derby first series where dogs that ran along the hedge row ended up back at the flyer station.

4) Fighting factors - the dog should be able to fight SOME factors, like running through strips of cover and hedge rows, hillsides, and wind (see 3).

In my opinion, if you can do 1 & 2, you will be able to pick up at least ONE bird in a derby. If you can do all 4, you will be able to pick up at least TWO birds (and most likely FOUR, assuming the first and second series are both land).

My final suggestion is to read the rulebook before you run. I think it is especially important to read the “Classification of Faults”. This section can serve as a barometer for where you are in training and if you should run your dog. If your dog commits serious faults or regularly commits moderate faults in training, I would do some deep analysis of my training and my dog, and might think twice about entering a trial.

Finally, a note to Carol: I find your statement that only people who use pros can compete in derbies dismissive of me and many other young amateurs that I know. I have a wife and full-time job, but I work very hard to train my dog (myself) to be competitive in this sport. Sure, we’re out-numbered, but I’ll guarantee you that there are amateurs like me at almost every derby. Please go watch some derbies…we’re out there!

Good luck and have fun!
 
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