commands during UT test

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commands during UT test

Postby cjm » Sat May 07, 2016 12:31 pm

Our first UT test is coming up and I'm wondering about the use of commands and impact on score. I couldn't find specific info in the test book that answered my questions. I have two specific questions:

First, on steadiness - right now Watson will stay steady to fall 3 out of 4 times. The other time he will take maybe a dozen or so steps on fall toward the bird but he stops with the collar stim or one 'whoa.' Hopefully he'll be totally steady by the test - but if this happens during the test, would it be better to tell him 'whoa' once to make him stop within the 3-4 allowed steps or would it be better to keep quiet and hope they don't ding him too much for the extra steps?

Second - when he is retrieving (during duck search, on land...) I am always quiet until he finds the bird. Once he is on his way back to me I have a habit of saying "good fetch!" - would that hurt scores in any way?

I generally talk to the dog very little, but just wondering if there are times when giving an extra command is big no-no.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby SwitchGrassWPG » Sat May 07, 2016 4:29 pm

Depends on the judges.

Steadiness...If you think he'll brake, give him a hard whoa on the first bird and hope he handles the rest fine. If he handles 3 of 4 bird contacts well, he should be fine. Remember, you only need a 3 in steadiness for a prize 1. You'll get dinged for the command or extra steps. Get it out of the way early and your score can only get better. Generally, if your dog moves to mark a fall, they won't get dinged for it; forward progress towards the fall will.

I've never seen a dog get docked for a "good boy/girl" after picking up a bird during a retrieve. If you do it more than once during a retrieve, you may get dinged. Again, you only need a 3 for retrieve.

The judges will tell you to handle your dog as you would while you are hunting. There's nothing wrong with talking to your dog during the run. If you are going to give a command, give it like you mean it and make it count.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Deacon » Sun May 08, 2016 7:58 am

If your dog breaks at the flush, or shot, and you can stop him with a command you should absolutely do so. If the dog disobeys the command then you are going to get dinged twice, once for the steadiness and another for obedience. This can absolutely save you. If your dog breaks on the flush and you say nothing his steadiness score will be a 1 for that encounter. If he stops at your WHOA, and then remains standing when the bird is shot and hits the ground, you would likely be looking at a 3, which is a Prize 1 score.

The best course of action is to try eliminate this problem prior to the test. Do your best to set up scenarios during training which will put the dog into position to break, so you can make your correction there and then go into the test without this concern.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby GRIFF MAN » Mon May 09, 2016 5:57 am

You have had good responses on the steadiness in the field, so I won't comment on that.

I will say a bit on the duck search retrieve. I also use to give a "good girl" when I saw a duck in her mouth coming back and I had an experience trainer tell me to only give that verbal cue when I need it. Keep that verbal cue until she is off track or distracted. If you give one cue when she doesnt' need it and then give another one when she needs help you will get dinged.
Now getting a ding isn't that bad, but if you really don't need it then why use it.

So I suggest start to train with out and keep it like an ace in the hole, you have it IF you need it.

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Re: commands during UT test

Postby orhunter » Mon May 09, 2016 9:15 am

Shouldn't reward the dog with a "good girl" till the task is completed, when bird is in your hand. You should get better retrieves if trained this way.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby cjm » Mon May 09, 2016 12:38 pm

thanks all - super helpful!
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby ryanr » Mon May 09, 2016 1:02 pm

First off, let me say up front I'm not a UT level trainer yet but a discussion like this cropped up after our chapter's Utility Test last year and I'll share the advice received from those that are. After the test, a few of us were hanging out with a couple of the judges as well as some other experienced trainers & judges in attendance and the consensus was "if you see or feel you need to give the command, DO IT and make it count, rather than hope your dog doesn't make the error." One command like that isn't going to hurt your score much, if at all, but the dog's error or fault almost assuredly will (that's what they told us.) It was a valuable piece of advice and insight.

The "incident" that prompted the discussion was this: A handler (fellow in my chapter) actually cost himself and his dog a prize 1 by not giving a command when he had opportunity to that would've prevented the ensuing fault. His dog was practically flawless through every aspect of the test but dropped the duck, twice in a row, on the remain by blind retrieve. The dog clearly telegraphed it was about to drop it, I was the distractionary gunner and saw it unfolding and actually had to bite my lip to keep from shouting out "FETCH." Naturally after thesecond drop he had to give the command anyway (to which the dog immediately responded) and the dog was again flawless after that (including retrieving a duck in the duck search.) When the scores were read it was the only thing that dropped him to a prize 2. It was a shame too because all test long the dog was just performing its butt off. One of the judges was a chapter member and he said he almost cried when it was happening and the handler didn't want to give the command. Lesson learned though.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby 3drahthaars » Mon May 09, 2016 1:53 pm

cjm wrote:Our first UT test is coming up and I'm wondering about the use of commands and impact on score. I couldn't find specific info in the test book that answered my questions. I have two specific questions:

First, on steadiness - right now Watson will stay steady to fall 3 out of 4 times. The other time he will take maybe a dozen or so steps on fall toward the bird but he stops with the collar stim or one 'whoa.' Hopefully he'll be totally steady by the test - but if this happens during the test, would it be better to tell him 'whoa' once to make him stop within the 3-4 allowed steps or would it be better to keep quiet and hope they don't ding him too much for the extra steps?
As a JGHV judge, I find some of NAVHDA scoring nebulous. We have MUSTs and SHOULDs, praedicate and point deductions. That aside, I truly believe that be it the UT or the JGHV VGP, the test is a handler's test. And, the goal (especially if you're inexperienced) should be PASS/FAIL and not points garnered.

Train the way you test... test the way you train. Don't rely on short cuts, handlers' gimmicks, etc. at the test. Judges have usually seen it all. Do what you need to do to control your pup. During your training, you should learn to read your pup, know if a whoa is going to work (or not). And, when you give the command during a test, don't get cute. Give the exact command and deliver it the way you did during training!


Second - when he is retrieving (during duck search, on land...) I am always quiet until he finds the bird. Once he is on his way back to me I have a habit of saying "good fetch!" - would that hurt scores in any way?

UT is kind of between our HZP and VGP. Generally, I believe that you are allowed a single command for the "fetch" and then it's up to pup (with exception to directional aids). As a hunter/handler I'm pretty loose with my pup. She's 4, but I still lavish praise for a job well done. If she's returning to me on a retrieve, I praise. Hell, one judge thought my last pup's name was "Good Boy". As a judge, and most especially for a young pup I see no issue with lavish praise when the pup is returning and after the finish. You can be a statue, but is that how you hunt? Besides the praising may help relax you, too. Again, I'd test the way I train and train the way I'd test.

This dog thing is supposed to be fun. For my pup and me every bird is a celebration!!! We have a hoot together.

I reiterate, for your first UT, passing is the key!!!

And, unlike JGHV tests (in which you have 2-chances) in NAVHDA you can enter like a bazillion times. Have fun....

3ds



I generally talk to the dog very little, but just wondering if there are times when giving an extra command is big no-no.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Duckdon » Tue May 10, 2016 10:06 am

[b][/b]
cjm wrote:Our first UT test is coming up and I'm wondering about the use of commands and impact on score. I couldn't find specific info in the test book that answered my questions. I have two specific questions:

First, on steadiness - right now Watson will stay steady to fall 3 out of 4 times. The other time he will take maybe a dozen or so steps on fall toward the bird but he stops with the collar stim or one 'whoa.' Hopefully he'll be totally steady by the test - but if this happens during the test, would it be better to tell him 'whoa' once to make him stop within the 3-4 allowed steps or would it be better to keep quiet and hope they don't ding him too much for the extra steps? Steady 75% of the time and breaking 25% of the time is not steady. You have time to fix that before your fall test. 3-4 steps forward, once, in the test, may cost you but the slippery slope is if it progresses to a chase as the test continues to the next point. During training, I correct if a dog moves one step. I don't allow a dog to turn, moving his feet, to watch the bird fly. One thing, if you need to give a command during the test, it will likely cost you points so make that command COUNT.

Second - when he is retrieving (during duck search, on land...) I am always quiet until he finds the bird. Once he is on his way back to me I have a habit of saying "good fetch!" - would that hurt scores in any way?
"fetch" is a command. That will or can, cost you. Why not adopt "Good Boy"...? At the UT level we are talking trained dog....make him look like he is trained.
I generally talk to the dog very little, but just wondering if there are times when giving an extra command is big no-no.

Like I said before, if your in a position to make a verbal correction during a test, MAKE IT A REAL CORRECTION !! Hopefully you can avoid the same issue later in the test by nipping it in the bud early on. You can handle the dog "some" on the water but I don't unless I have too. If dog takes the handle, your good, if he does not take the handle it can cost you in obedience.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Chadwick » Tue May 10, 2016 11:49 am

The test book states "A dog that takes three or four steps when the gun is fired should not be penalized, particularly when the dog's view of the falling game is obstructed."

It also says "The highest score in steadiness can only be awarded when quiet, confident and sportsmanlike team work between handler and dog is displayed during most of the bird contacts." Quiet does not mean silent. I have seen handlers give a quiet "whoa" command to the dog every time they step in front of the dog before flushing with no impact to the score.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby ryanr » Tue May 10, 2016 2:37 pm

Chadwick wrote:The test book states "A dog that takes three or four steps when the gun is fired should not be penalized, particularly when the dog's view of the falling game is obstructed."

It also says "The highest score in steadiness can only be awarded when quiet, confident and sportsmanlike team work between handler and dog is displayed during most of the bird contacts." Quiet does not mean silent. I have seen handlers give a quiet "whoa" command to the dog every time they step in front of the dog before flushing with no impact to the score.


Personally, if the dog's view is obstructed I want the dog to move, just to mark the bird and then stop like he should. In training, I only make a correction if he moves a step when he doesn't need to. The book says the dog can have 3-4 steps but I think if you train for zero steps (except to mark, if needed) then you'll have a dog that's less likely to inadvertently lose its head and break into a chase. A friend of mine has a dog that's now a VC (first try) and 3yrs ago during its UT (either the first or maybe second bird) she broke into a chase. My friend's face was a look of horror as this was very uncharacteristic of the dog and here it was on a full-on run. He recovered his shock in time to give a very hard WHOAAAAA! and I think even picked the dog up and set her back where she had been. She worked several more birds after that perfectly without any commands needed, did great the rest of the test and ended up with a Prize 1. What was explained was that the totality of the field work was excellent, as was the rest of the test and so the dog was not penalized for the single incident (it also obeyed the command and needed no others.)
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby cjm » Wed May 11, 2016 1:30 pm

this was all very helpful. of course the best thing will be to keep working on steadiness - i was just curious if this situation comes up.

we are testing the first week in june... it will be my first time even seeing a UT test and Watson is just over 2 yrs old. he is capable of a perfect score on a good day but he's young, I'm new, and anything could happen. i figure this is as good a way to learn about testing as any - and we will just have fun with it. if it goes terribly, i'll sign up for another one later in the summer or fall.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Fun Dog » Wed May 11, 2016 10:11 pm

Handling can make or break your score in the UT test. Less is better, but if you need to say something do so and make it count.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Hunters Edge » Thu May 12, 2016 12:43 am

OK where to begin. First off one time at the invitational at heel the a judge was standing behind to walk along as two others stood to watch. When I started the heel segment off leash your allowed one or first command. The judge afterward said he actually jumped out of his skin practically when I had given the command. I told him as I am telling you I train that there is no doubt whatsoever that my dog heard the command. Two reasons is when training if a correction is needed and I need to reinforce a command I need to know he/she is giving me the middle finger, the other reason is during a test if a judge hears a command and your dog does not respond even if by chance he is distracted or you did not say it loud enough you will be penalized or failed in that portion of a test.

Now on the land or water search good girl/boy judge may find it as a second command and may ding you, but I would think they would advise you of such after the first time you did it,used it. To be sure before the testing of each segment they will briefly explain that segment and than ask you if you have any questions. That would be the time to ask. On my view and would believe all judges would judge accordingly if the word fetch was used with good, bad or ugly first or after it is a command and I would knock it as a second command and believe they would as well.

In the field portion they usually plant 4 birds, in most cases to show the dogs usefulness/run/effectivenes the dog is going to have to find 3 birds and handle them. Not saying one of them maybe a stop to flush and judges may require gunners to shoot bird, judge steadyness and retrieve, obediance etc. If your going to have to stop him from breaking the first time is.the time when it may not cost you the prize 1. If after two or three finds and the dog is coming unglued and you have to use it, by all means use it but most likely you will be dinged heavily and it may cost you the prize 1 but it would still be less of a ding if the dog just breaks and you do nothing and besides it sets your training back as well. They want to see a dog improving not degressing.

Now remember you do not need a perfect score to pass so a little leeway is given in the scoring, but you should train for a perfect score. Which means no verbal except hunt'em up, and occasional fetch once the dog points and whatever command used to drop or give you the bird. Retrieves should look like the dog is on a string. Now on test day even if training he is always 100% perfect, it never fails something always happens that is unusual or maybe handler error, or dog feeling your anxiety, or the dog because of other dogs and the excitement in the air, never fails you end up with ether a total different dog or just a liitle different dog. Whatever the score your going to have a great experience and a much better dog by training for the test which you will appreciate every time your out hunting. Good luck in training and on the test, hope the information I wrote will help.
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Re: commands during UT test

Postby Densa44 » Fri May 13, 2016 10:51 pm

I'll tell you what I was told by the greatest trainer that I ever met, he has been gone many years but here is the advice; "your only role is to help your dog!" He would spend hours thinking how he could help the dog in every case. An example would be in this case if you aren't sure she is steady, he would whisper to her to whoa as he past her going to flush the bird and he would try to work himself into a position that he could make eye contact with his dog and keep the eye contact while he flushed the bird. He would then walk back to the dog and be standing beside her when he sent her for the retrieve. This can be very effective.

Note what the fellows have said about a command and a refusal.

I teach silent commands and work on FF and steady!
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