How does running order affect a dogs performance in hunt tests? Does running first make a winger or thrown bird harder because there isn't alot of scent built up in the area? Does running early make a shot bird easier because there haven't been as many "falls" in the area? I am running my first hunt tests (Junior) at the end of the month and ended up running 5th (out of 60) on Saturday and then Last on Sunday. Is it a big difference or a small difference or does it just depend on things like wind and how well a dog marks vs hunts? Or am I just worrying about something I can't do anything about, or are there drills for this?
Kelly and Amber (Who isn't worrying about the up coming test at all) and Ready
all of the above, plus more....sorry! also--factors such as wind shifts take place, some people feel it is harder to run first because you haven't seen areas where dogs make mistakes, some like that 'clean slate' thing, some won't even watch other dogs run, they make Their plan & stick to it, others obsess over where others' dogs went wrong & how they can change things, etc etc.
there are many many schools of thought on this, all IMO have some validity.
bottom line--you cannot control factors at a test, they can change dramatically during the test due to wind changes, drag-back, dogs making a 'path' [literally or with scent] and so on & so on. all YOU can do is train for the dog to have confidence & give them exposure to as many things as you can think of [plus more that you will learn about at the test, lol].
also, you can learn to relax & breath [very important!] and tell yourself you have trained as well as you can, now it is up to the dog who is NOT being stressed by a stressed-out handler, right?
Generally, I want to run at the front of the middle third of the flight on land (to let the dew dry and have better scenting conditions), and in the first third of the flight on water so I don't get "sinking ducks." Other than that, its pretty much up to the dog once they are released. I have had to run first dog out of the chute several times and passed, but I prefer to be a little farther back than that first thing in the AM. Wind changes during tests, the sun moves and makes shadows, all sorts of stuff happens. Everyone has thier own theories, so just roll with it. Its all just dogs picking up chickens!
HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
Justlabradors.com -- the best site for your Labrador needs.
As the previous poster related...ALL THE ABOVE AND MORE!
While for the most part Junior Hunt Test Marks are fairly " easy " BUT this can depend on the judge(s) and the test they require and also weather , cover and wind conditions. NONE of these are within our control. But, there is one thing that we can control . That is , how many Marks we can TEACH and the " design " that goes into those marks.
Simply stated...RUN AS MANY MARKS as you can on a daily basis and run those marks on DIFFERENT pieces of ground and water each presenting a new set of conditions and diversions. Each and every time a pup runs a mark successfully THEY STORE IT AWAY in the ole BRAIN. Then when presented with something that is close to the same conditions...THEY RECALL the mark you taught them and that insures a better chance of PICK'N UP DAT MARK!
One thing that not being first or early is that it allows us a chance to watch how other dogs and thier Handlers run a certain mark. By doing this we get an idea on what to expect and where any problems would be apt to raise thier ugly heads. Get'n SUPRISED is to me the worse thing that can happen as a lot of this is how I react. Our dogs pick up on what we do and this in turn affects how they perform.
Thanks Everyone! I have decided that I have to believe in Amber. I have shown Amber over 200 marks in the last 2-3 months and have done as many walking singles all at the grounds that this test will be held at. I know Amber is a dog that marks pretty darn good. I know Amber is not a dog that will stop hunting untill she finds a bird. we have practiced with decoys, boats, sitting, standing, with line guns, We have done launchers and thrown birds, we have done live flyers and dead ducks and dead chukar, We have worked every pond and every field in the test area. We have done 20 yard marks and 160 yard marks, Up hill Cross hill, Down hill, Up wind, cross wind and down wind. I train with two judges and both aren't the least worried about me in the test. I have enough casting so that in an absolute emergency I could get her to the bird(Maybe). I now know a bunch of people that will be at the hunt test. I have worked at 3 or 4 hunt tests. We have passed the two Practice tests. I think Amber is ready. I just hope I don't do something stupid..lol
Kelly and Amber and Ready
You and Amber go smack you a test!
HRCH Ellie Mae MH CGC
Justlabradors.com -- the best site for your Labrador needs.
There ARE benefits to marshaling, you can control the running order to your benefit to a point
Kelly, you have the first test jitters. From what I have seen, you could easily pull off a Senior test without the blind
Remember to NOT talk to the dog once you have indicated you are ready! and, NOT touch the dog before you take the duck from her.
(Last hunt test I was at, I gave Kodi a hand signal to sit/stay after I had taken the duck from her and as I was handing the duck to the judge. Judge said I could NOT do that...it was intimidation!)
This does bring up another question. What should I do with Amber between our runs? Typically durring training she waits in the crate in the car untill it is her turn (sometimes she is 1st sometimes she is 20th). She doesn't bark or anything like that but when we had the mock test (she was 16th) she was a bit more excited than I would like. My options for the test would be to bring her in the morning and run her (We are 5th) and then take her home again and bring her back again for the second series (I live about 15 minutes from the test site). My other options would be to have her there all day and leave her at the picnic grounds (About 250 yards from the possible closest test areas). Or just keep the car parked near whatever test area we are at. Should I air her far away from the test areas? Should I try and wear her out a bit before running her? Do a few heeling exercises? Is it OK if I use a Tritronics collar without the Electronics on it? I have never had a leash on Amber in the field, should i train for that now, get her used to walking up to the line on a leash rather than just heeling? lo I guess I have trained everything for when it is actually our turn but didn't even think about the stuff that happens before our between out turn. Should I talk to the judges or just run my dog? I know enough to not take my eyes off Amber while she is running. If I pass out can I still Q? I am glad everyone is here to answer all the newbie questions..
Kelly(very nervous about up coming test) and Amber(not nervous at all) and Ready(who laughs at everything)
I like to watch the other dogs, and personally like to get the dog used to hanging out in the car while the other dogs run. However, if you are parked out in the middle of a field with no shade and it is 95* out, I'd run your dog and then find a shady spot in between runs.
In AKC they do call backs at the end of the first series, so make sure you hang around for that, (unless you are absolutely positive that she failed or that she passed). As you are probably aware, in AKC if you fail the first series, you do not get to go back for the second series.
I'd get her used to going to the line on a leash. I swear that all my dogs heeled better without the leash, and would look like untrained idiots when trying to go to the line on a leash!!
I would not put the ecollar on her at the grounds (or go VERY VERY far away). I am not sure it would make much of a difference in trying to "wear her out a bit" before she runs. They get so geeked anyways! I air the dog close to the test and on leash. If she bolts to the action and interferes with another dog running you are out, no questions asked.
By all means talk to the judges! Ask ANY question you may have. ALWAYS, ALWAYS thank the judges after your run, no matter what happens.
In Hoss' recent Seasoned test, I asked the judges if I could throw up at the line I was so nervous! If you pass out, just make sure Amber drops the duck into your hand or on your face!!