Correct. To earn a MH, the dog does not have to be special in terms of talent, desire or intelligence. A decent trainer with an average Lab can earn a MH.Originally Posted by WigWag
The challenge in MH is; can a first timer or beginner train their dog to that level. If they do, it is a great accomplishment.
The previous poster made a comment about HT simulating actual hunting. This is not an accurate statement. As someone who duck and goose hunts an average of 20 days per year, I can tell you that what a dog sees at a HT and what they see on an actaul hunt are not even close. What training for a HT will do, is help you get ready to take your dog hunting, period. They do not simulate one another.
Last season, I took my neighbor and his young son duck hunting. While I was sitting pouring them a cup of coffee, they both stood up and shot at some Pintails that were flying high overhead. I stood up and was watching them fly away when one dropped two rice fields over from where we were hunting, about 350-400 yards away. With a HT dog, I would have had to walk most of the way and then send the dog on a blind retrieve. With my FT dog, I was able to step out of the blind and send him for the bird from where we were hunting.
Later in the same season, I was hunting with two guys I've hunted a lot with over the years. We had five Speckled Bellie geese come into the decoys. We dropped four of them, two dead and two crippled. I had to send my dog through two floating dead geese with one still flapping his wings to get the cripples first. Not something one would see at a Hunt test! HT's are basic, FT's incorporate the extreme situations one will encounter on a duck hunt.
However, both the FT and HT dog need actual hunting experience to be a well-round hunting companion.
I also want to add that many of the fine and up and coming FT handlers that I've seen have come up through the HT ranks. HT's are the best thing that has ever happen to FT's. They have provided a huge infusion of new blood into the sport.
That's senario sounds like a few hunting trips I've made. You think it has something to do with the fact we hunt in the same areas??? Nothing like seeing those ducks and geese sail off a couple hundred yards and then watch your pup run out and pin it between their front feet 8)
Originally Posted by ricky
Now, now! Simmer down a bit! First off, I can tell you point blank you have not been around enough FT bred labs to make such a statement. Just because the dog is hot and wired at the line to get some birds does not mean he is like that all the time. Also, the fastest dog does not always win the trial. I marshalled (for the first time *tee hee*) at a field trial last weekend and I can tell you that some of the speedier dogs were not the ones who made it to the last series. That is a common mistake people make. Understand what "style" is before you put it downNot a high drive crazy lab-like creature that can reach the bird the fastest with 'style'. Sorry guys, I'll take my BEAUTIFUL, SMART, HUNTING (IN REAL LIFE HUNTS), labrador RETRIEVERS, that conform to the breed standard!!! 'nuf said!
My ugly field dog is beautiful to me (and to many othes as I get many comments from the general, though un-lab-ucated, public) and I think many others here have beautiful dogs as well. No need to imply that those who don't have a dog from show lines hunt with something ugly.
Never said they were ugly... Some are actually very pretty dogs. But, I believe what I believe and no amount of talk on a forum is going to make me believe otherwise. I think I have the greatest dogs in the world and I love them to pieces. My opionion, take it or leave it. Just defending MY labs.No need to imply that those who don't have a dog from show lines hunt with something ugly.
>>>Correct. To earn a MH, the dog does not have to be special in terms of talent, desire or intelligence. A decent trainer with an average Lab can earn a MH.<<<<
I'd disagree with this, unless that person has excessively deep pockets and even so, I think I've heard of only one or 2 tests recently that were "straight forward" (easier). The MH tests around here are challenging even to the field trial folks. Yes, the distances aren't as great but the marks are so tight and technical that a mediocre dog doesn't have a chance. Many of the Ft trainers are running at hunt tests and none have expressed that they are anywhere close to a walk in the park. Last I inquired aournd w/ the pros, the average MH dog cost ~$10-12 K to get there. Their SH clients, they figured, spent from $4200-9000, depending on the dog. I think that should tell us something. I did a CDX in 3 straight trials, minimal expense for training. The fact that hunt tests require so much more for the same "level" of title is why so few folks can do it all-- show (which a good dog is still going to cost ~$5000, I'm guessing, to finish), MH, etc. Not many folks w/ multiple dogs in their household can afford that. I have 4 youngsters here right now that I'm juggling, and if time isn't the factor (it is), $$$ will be. I'll take at least 1 to the SH level, but will not go beyond that. For one, it's hard for me to get away for an entire weekend, as I have 6 dogs here to take care of and no one to help. I do think I've got dogs capable of MH, I just wont be able to play the "game" if I still want to breed and do all the other games too. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
They complain of HT's being very difficult down here too.
I'll bet you thought High School was hard too, that is until you got into college.
Originally Posted by FDR
No, actually not at all. I was a 4.0 student in HS, and had nearly a year of college credits done (some thru NSF programs) before I got to MSU, and that was back in the 70's when HS kids didn't take college classes...... graduated w/ honors in 3 yrs, and went straight into grad school. Not a good analogy this time!
Multiple venue training is much more difficult that it may appear on the surface. I was training/trialing my one girl in 4 different venues the year I was running SH (my first to train for). Finished SH in 6 tests, also finished 4 agility titles that year plus got her cert'd for Tracking in a matter of a handful of months. The tracking is the only thing I didn't finish... if we can get that, we'll get one of those few VCD2's that AKC awards to labs each year. We had the CDX (in 3 straight) when she was 2.5 yrs old, but then that was my 3rd gen CDX so it was easier w/ that experience/foundation already there. The rest of it was all new to me (agility, SH, and tracking). Oh, I should mention that I personally don't hunt so all the JH and SH work I do is because my dogs love it. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
While I think it's terrific to achieve high goals in any dog competition I can't understand why the field trial should be the retrieving standard for breeds such as the Labrador. Where in the standard does it stay they need to be that skilled? The field trial has evolved over the years as you mentioned because training techniques have improved, however from a genetics standpoint it's impossible in such a relatively short time to increase the drive and intelligence that a breed possesses. A study done in a fox fur kennel showed how over hundreds of generations the foxes began to exhibit differences in temperament and trainability. So my point is that a retriever should be able to retrieve and to me this means something a whole lot more simple than an FC.
Originally Posted by WigWag
So do I, but the only way to prove if a retriever has merit is by competition. I don't consider a JH title to be proof enough of a great retriever, I have an American Bulldog and a Papillion that can do JH work. And even the weekend warrior is going to occasionally need a dog that is trained to a higher level. The only way to prove if a retriever is a retriever is to compete. I own a Master Hunter and think it's a great title, the dog has proven it is has desire, trainable and fairly intelligent, but it's fairly easy to earn with a pretty good dog, and the talented ones are capable of much, much more.
And I know for a fact that training for and running FT's has made my dogs better gun dogs. There have been numerous times that my dogs have pick up birds from other duck blinds 200 or more yards away. In fact, my dog picks up most of my friends "blind retrieves" because their dogs won't handle( kind of makes me wonder how many birds they would have lost if I wasn't there?). Having the higher level training and the dogs with the horsepower has it's purpose for this serious duck hunter.