BirdBrainz, I'm sorry if you miss understood my point. I don't think having the gunner retire is worth the trouble. When I'm gunning, I like to be able to watch the dog work, as long as it doesn't interfere. And your right, a young dog does get a little freaky with all the "stuff" out there by his mark. My young black dog failed his first day as he went to the mark, saw the gunner, and wouldn't pick up the bird. He was within 5 yards 3 different times but wouldn't make the retrieve. Second day, passed with flying colors, which included a flyer.
I totally agree to many rules hinders the judges and handlers. An HRC started event, a handler asked the judges what they considered "safe for a dog that didn't deliver to hand. The judge wisely said "deliver to area. I'm not going to say 4 ft. because what if your dog delivers to 4.5 ft." He wasn't going to get himself in a corner be defining "deliver to area" and did the handlers a huge favor. I love AKC events because they are a tougher test. At juniors Sunday, we had a live flyer and on another mark, we had to handle out of a boat. I like HRC tests because the gun is at the line and you are able to communicate with your dogs at the line after calling for the bird, more like real hunting situation. Both have their "pluses and minuses." Too many rules bind up the judges and started/junior handlers don't need anything else to think about.
Thanks for clearing that up tkpaul. I am amazed at how many judges out there don't see all the factors they are setting up for our young dogs. JH training is tough enough-- just getting thru a good FF program takes time. Then to try to factor in everything else that can go on is incredible. Our first test of the season had 2 water marks that weren't water marks--- the dog went thru 30-50 yds of mostly lunging water/exposed rocks up on land and had to drive back up to 70 yds thru recently burned out cattails. Oh, and it was an angle back (sharp angle back for many) so the dog ran right past the gun station (and they retired the gunner!) and what's in the gunstation but of course, crates of quacking ducks! Duh. If your dog managed to get past that, but didnt get a waving duck you were screwed. The other "water" mark landed high on a hill, so the dogs had to scale a steep bank w sharp rocks to get to it. That was a JH test that should never have been, imo. Esp not for the very first of the season. So to make things even tougher when judges are already ignoring some of the guidelines, is really a mistake. I've actually been seriously looking at the UKC/HRC tests instead of AKC if they continue to allow that nonsense. However, after awhile, clubs do tend to catch on and not hire those judges if people will speak up. But it should not have to be that way. JH is a level for folks to start at, to have fun w/ their dogs. SH used to be a very functional level, but w/ all the bulldogs and stuff that some want to throw in, it's no longer very fun to train for either (and actually the JH test I just described had combined those 2 marks for the double-- 90 and 100+ yd marks!). Really ridiculous for someone who doesn't have the inclination to actually hunt their dogs but is just proving their breeding stock for others.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
If you take out the "walk ups" and "poison bird blinds" please don't call them "hunt" tests anymore!
Being able to run a poison bird blind is essential for hunting, as someone else pointed out. So is the ability to primary/secondary select, and we SHOULD test for that. It is not uncommon at HRC tests to have the diversion thrown in front of the dog returning for the third mark, and then have to run a blind past the diversion bird. I did that this weekend at a Finished test in TN. This gets amplified in Master tests with the dreaded "poison bird flyer". Never seen a PBB in Senior. You would get killed by the gallery if you tried that in Seasoned. I don't want to see "out of order flyers" eliminated, either, even though I think they are becoming WAY overused.
I have no problem with retired guns, they are all "hidden" in a good HRC test. That is why we train dogs to mark off the gun in both venues. If we are about teamwork, then train for teamwork, and let the gunners do whatever.
CanCK dogs running AKC is fine with me. If CKC is ConCC, then HECK NO!
Whatever gets more consistency in HT judging is way overdue. I am not sure if this proposal will help or hurt.
HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
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As far as this list goes, I mainly agree with what everyone else has said.Originally Posted by Kzunell
1. Walk ups are practically a backbone in the way we hunt the sloughs up here. If your dog can't do a walk up, he'll miss a good portion of the birds.
2. Poison birds- I agree that you should be able to handle your dog off of a marked dead bird to a blind cripple- at least in the levels beyond JH (which is supposed to be designed for the young and/or inexperienced dogs).
3. Retired Guns- So far, with all the HTs I've been to, we've never even seen an exposed gunner or thrower used. So, I don't think this is a problem for us at least. Besides, retired gunners/throwers is the what we train with- ie. gunner/thrower is exposed for throwing then retires. So, if it does happen to come up in a test, I don't think it's going to be that much of an issue. However, I can also see where they might "spook" a young and/or inexperienced dog if they've never seen them before.
4. CKC in AKC- I pretty much think this is a non-issue. Correct me if I'm wrong, but CKC (CanKC) dogs are already allowed to run if they gain AKC registration, right? So, pretty much AKC is just cutting out the red tape- so to speak. It would be nice if CKC would return the favor.
5. Judging- I definately agree that this area needs some work. Like Anne, I too have had to resort to keeping a DNE list. I simply do not have the resources (time, money, etc.) to waste on poor judging. One of the biggest problems I see is poor judging sprouting from inexperience in the sport and actual hunting situations- that coupled with a FT mentality being taken to HTs. More apprenticing might help for this kind of issue. However, and here in lies the double edge sword of this, if apprentice judges are paired with more experienced judges (i.e. high pointed judges) who have these kind of issues as well, the inexperience and the cycle of poor judging will only continue to be perpetuated. So, what is the grand solution? I don't know that there is one. Getting good, consistant judges will always be a crap shoot. You can't verify someone's actual hunting experience like you can how many dogs they've titled. All we really can do, as exhibitors, is continue to enter under the ones we feel are doing a good job and refuse entering under & giving clubs feedback about those that aren't.
Just MHO and thoughts...
Piper, Faith, Mocha & Pink
In Loving Memory:
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