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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering at what point do you make the move from hunt tests to field trials? Obviously there is a level of training that your looking for, but should you work your way up from junior, senior, master, and so on, or jump in when you think the dog is ready and at a master level? If it's a age and ability thing then what are you looking for, beside ascending the ranks so to speak.
 

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Having a good enough dog is only half the equation. My opinion is almost all Master dogs could be running the Q at FTs.

Here is my answer -- it is time to make the jump when you have demonstrated to yourself that you have the necessary fortitude and dedication to do the necessary training (or spending the money for the pro as the case may be).

To me, that is what the other half is all about. I would say a smart amateur spends six days a week doing serious training. Following a program, isolating concepts, and then testing their application in test scenarios. This also requires grounds and help (training group).

My experience is that is not a big jump for serious HT folk. Many already do that or come close to it, myself included. So the difference is the personal fortitude and dedication.

At least that is how I see it.
 

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I started in NAHRA. I came to realize, when I was still running a started dog, that once you achieved the senior level all you could do was continue passing tests. Once the dog acheived the MHR what was left?

I loved training to much to continue on 100 yard tripples with a blind up the middle. I wanted more and tougher. The grounds I have available to train in the winter, don't make good 100 yard tests.

The white coats offered a game that I'd never ever consider to be easy. :twisted: :twisted: The white coat game will take the best you and your dog can do and spit it back at you saying. "Is that all you got? Come back when you know what you're doing." That's the polite version.

If you like the game and you love to train and you want to keep looking for great dogs then the white coat game is for you. If you don't have the time (I honestly think this should include EVERYONE with young children) or the big $$ then hunt tests are a good option. Training a MH isn't chopped liver.

BTW, if you are into instant gratification then the white coat game isn't for you.
 

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Drill a hole in you head. Bend over. when enough runs out your ready to
make the move to field trials. :wink:
 

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Howard N wrote:

If you like the game and you love to train and you want to keep looking for great dogs then the white coat game is for you. If you don't have the time (I honestly think this should include EVERYONE with young children) or the big $$ then hunt tests are a good option. Training a MH isn't chopped liver.
Howard-
How is this for naieve? I'm not sure I'll ever try field trials, but I will run Master with the next dog. I will have tons of time to train the next dog & the folks I've met with my first dog give me tons of folks to train with the next time around & I'm hoping to take "training vacations" south in the winter. My question is where does the big $$ come into play? Is it more expensive than running hunt tests every weekend?

M
 

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I think my husband's post was too cryptic!!

We live in the western suburbs of Chicago. There are NO good training areas around. We sneak in and out of factory complexes to train with bumpers only. Obviously, that is not enough. So, at some point we tend to send our dogs away to pros for training. And yes, like Howard, we love to train our dogs.

I will give you two personal examples of the money issue. Actually, I can give you more. I'll give you the success story first. As we have mentioned, we were very lucky and had a wonderful FC/AFC. For a few winters we sent her south with Mike Lardy. She also qualified and ran umteen National Amateurs. So, training was usually over $1,000 a month. pre-National training could be around $1,000, and then add up all the years of motels and meals and entry fees. Was it worth it? You bet.

Currently, we have a really nice male who probably won't get any further than what he has already accomplished. We've spent at least $12,000-15,000 on pro bills for him. He won a Q, got an Amateur 4th and JAMMed Opens while he was two. This past year he got his MH and was a finalist at the Master National. For three years he did nothing in trials. Quite frankly, I don't know if I can ever run another field trial with him.

We just spent about $6,000 on a young dog for basics training. She is a real puzzle and has decided she doesn't want to run for us. So as good as she supposedly looked at the trainer's, she has been dreadful in a couple of Derby's and certainly in training.

And we are not wealthy. We are average working people. We can't compete in field trials with those who have the money for a number of dogs in full-time training, who can also go out and buy the best if their current dogs are not competitive. It is SO tough. And the game is constantly changing and demanding such tough standards for tests and for dogs. An amateur dog has to be absolutely exceptional to compete. And the trainer has to have the resources - training places, training partners - time - and then money.

But ask any of us in this game - we still love it. It's addictive and serves our compulsiveness and perfectionist traits!

Peggy
 

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Reline-
Thanks. What I'm hearing though is that the extra expense comes from sending your dog to a pro? Is that right?
M
 

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redline said:
I think my husband's post was too cryptic!!

We live in the western suburbs of Chicago. There are NO good training areas around. We sneak in and out of factory complexes to train with bumpers only. Obviously, that is not enough. So, at some point we tend to send our dogs away to pros for training. And yes, like Howard, we love to train our dogs.

I will give you two personal examples of the money issue. Actually, I can give you more. I'll give you the success story first. As we have mentioned, we were very lucky and had a wonderful FC/AFC. For a few winters we sent her south with Mike Lardy. She also qualified and ran umteen National Amateurs. So, training was usually over $1,000 a month. pre-National training could be around $1,000, and then add up all the years of motels and meals and entry fees. Was it worth it? You bet.

Currently, we have a really nice male who probably won't get any further than what he has already accomplished. We've spent at least $12,000-15,000 on pro bills for him. He won a Q, got an Amateur 4th and JAMMed Opens while he was two. This past year he got his MH and was a finalist at the Master National. For three years he did nothing in trials. Quite frankly, I don't know if I can ever run another field trial with him.

We just spent about $6,000 on a young dog for basics training. She is a real puzzle and has decided she doesn't want to run for us. So as good as she supposedly looked at the trainer's, she has been dreadful in a couple of Derby's and certainly in training.

And we are not wealthy. We are average working people. We can't compete in field trials with those who have the money for a number of dogs in full-time training, who can also go out and buy the best if their current dogs are not competitive. It is SO tough. And the game is constantly changing and demanding such tough standards for tests and for dogs. An amateur dog has to be absolutely exceptional to compete. And the trainer has to have the resources - training places, training partners - time - and then money.

But ask any of us in this game - we still love it. It's addictive and serves our compulsiveness and perfectionist traits!

Peggy
I think Peggy summed most of it up with this post. Especially the money part. Like she said, a person may weed through alot of dogs to find the one dog that can and will do it. I think she gave some good examples of how quick the money can add up especially when you sink alot into a dog and it doesn't turn out. But like she said, we all still love it.
 

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redline said:
Drill a hole in you head. Bend over. when enough runs out your ready to
make the move to field trials. :wink:
There is much wisdom to these comments, Grasshopper! One has to be a bit obsessed, a little crazy, foolish with ones' money and co-dependent with retrievers! One must thrieve on humility and rejection. I guess that's why I like it so much! I liken it to trying to date Pam Anderson when she was 15 years younger, NO WAY. I think it might have something to do with the challenge and one's ego, sick as it may be.
 

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From what I see most everyone is pointing out the negative to the jump to field trials. If your dog can do master work then going to the Qualifying should be no big jump. Depending on the judges, Qualiifying stakes are run with all gunners out and the blind is outside of the marks. Some judges will retire one mark.

If you train your dog on 100 yard marks and blinds you may have a problem. Learn to stretch your dog out on longer marks and blinds because if they can do the longer blinds and marks then there should be no problem doing the shorter ones.

I can only train on weekends, but still enjoy running the Open and
Amateur stakes. If I can make it to the blinds I feel I have acomplished something.

You pay your entry fees in field trials, which are similar to the entry fees in hunt tests. In the master, or any other stake, there is no guarantee you will be called back for the 2nd series or even qualify. Last hunt test I entered there were 44 dogs entered. 15 dogs were called back for the 2nd series.

In field trials they drop dogs to get to the last series to choose a winner. In hunt tests you still have to pass a standard. If you do not do the work you will get dropped no matter what game you are playing.
 

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IMO a lot of it has to do with your personal expectations, and what you hope to accomplish. There are those that are just happy if they make it past the first series, those that are happy to finish and get a green ribbon, and those that aren't happy unless they bring home the blue.

As Peggy wrote:
It is SO tough. And the game is constantly changing and demanding such tough standards for tests and for dogs. An amateur dog has to be absolutely exceptional to compete.
The field trial game is tough. I'm an 8 pt master judge, and judged 3 master tests last year. IMO there are only 10-15% of the Master dogs entered that would be competative in a Qualifying either because they aren't tallented enough or aren't trained well enough. (by competative, I mean capable of bringing home the blue). Sure, there are a lot more that on a good day could bring home a green ribbon.

It was just a few years ago, that I started running Field trials. Like Howard, I needed more of a challenge. My dogs were Master hunters & althoug the tests were still fun, no longer challenging.

As Howard wrote:
If you like the game and you love to train and you want to keep looking for great dogs then the white coat game is for you. If you don't have the time (I honestly think this should include EVERYONE with young children) or the big $$ then hunt tests are a good option. Training a MH isn't chopped liver.
Jan & Peggy have had that dog that is competative on a National level, and are looking for another. Their goals and expectations are a lot higher than mine. I do all my own training my dogs aren't exceptional. I know I am limited in what I will be able to accomplish. I'm happy when my dogs finish & I bring home a ribbon.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well that opened up a great discussion, thank you for the input. I understand that everyone has thier own personal circumstances be it no time, grounds, or no training groups, but being someone who has the time, the grounds, and the technology to train alone, I feel that sending you dog off to a pro steals some of the accomplishment aswell as the money from the whole deal. I mean it's kinda like finding out the daughter you sent off to bording school has become a million dollar pop star and now you want to get in the picture, kinda looses something don't you think? Anyway to my knowledge no pro was born with the gift for training, they worked at it untill they became good at it. Well who says you can't do the same, not me. Sure it will take some time to get it right, but some day when my little girl gets to the big time I know what I was there helping along the way, and I saved alot of money on bording school, I mean training.
 

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RBP said:
From what I see most everyone is pointing out the negative to the jump to field trials. If your dog can do master work then going to the Qualifying should be no big jump. Depending on the judges, Qualiifying stakes are run with all gunners out and the blind is outside of the marks. Some judges will retire one mark.

If you train your dog on 100 yard marks and blinds you may have a problem. Learn to stretch your dog out on longer marks and blinds because if they can do the longer blinds and marks then there should be no problem doing the shorter ones.

I can only train on weekends, but still enjoy running the Open and
Amateur stakes. If I can make it to the blinds I feel I have acomplished something.

You pay your entry fees in field trials, which are similar to the entry fees in hunt tests. In the master, or any other stake, there is no guarantee you will be called back for the 2nd series or even qualify. Last hunt test I entered there were 44 dogs entered. 15 dogs were called back for the 2nd series.

In field trials they drop dogs to get to the last series to choose a winner. In hunt tests you still have to pass a standard. If you do not do the work you will get dropped no matter what game you are playing.
I agree with what you said about alot of master dogs being able to complete a Q but there probably aren't alot that could bring home the blue. Q blinds aren't always outside the marks either. The last Q I ran the blind was right between the flyer station and long bird. Not trying to stir the pot, just an observation. There are alot of nice Master dogs out there but competing against a standard and competing against a bunch of other nice dogs is a big difference. That is the hard part for me to swallow about FT's. I come home without a ribbon alot more than with a ribbon. It's all about competition though.
 

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I have always been told that "jumping" from HT to FT is not a good idea. They say train for and run FT, then if you want to run HT "go back" to them. I've been told its easier to shorten marks than it is to extend them.
With everyone I've talked to over the years about this and the tests I've seen, I would have to agree with that. That said, I would also say that a very special ht dog could step up, and I'm sure its happened more than once.
 

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achiro said:
I have always been told that "jumping" from HT to FT is not a good idea. They say train for and run FT, then if you want to run HT "go back" to them. I've been told its easier to shorten marks than it is to extend them.
With everyone I've talked to over the years about this and the tests I've seen, I would have to agree with that. That said, I would also say that a very special ht dog could step up, and I'm sure its happened more than once.
I would agree pretty much. I think the most successful jumping from HT to FT have trained for longer marks and tighter blinds from the beginning.
 

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dogs

Misty, good luck with your next dog. I'm sure you will tear the HT circuit up! I understand that it is a lot of fun and certianly has to be more relaxing than FT's.
 

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If you are training with the idea of running both hunt tests & field trials-is there ever an issue with the whole "white coat" factor-i.e. a dog who becomes dependent on being able to pick out his gun stations from the line or do you "mix it up" w/ hidden guns?

M
 

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Miriam Wade said:
If you are training with the idea of running both hunt tests & field trials-is there ever an issue with the whole "white coat" factor-i.e. a dog who becomes dependent on being able to pick out his gun stations from the line or do you "mix it up" w/ hidden guns?

M
The marks are closer in HT and they figure it out real quick. I run both and before I run HT I may switch to hidden guns in training or mix things up. I think when you train on marks especially before dogs are actually running trials, you should make sure dogs can see the mark if you are going to correct them. I think even Mike Lardy says this, that one should not train in camo on marks.
 
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