Duck search

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Tests

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Duck search

Postby Densa44 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:24 pm

I've been told recently that to get a 4 the dog should spend 50% of its time in the water. That seems perfectly reasonable and even if I didn't think so, the judges can have it anyway they wish.

I'm not looking to argue about how much time the dog spends in the water, what I want to know is this a universal policy?
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Re: Duck search

Postby Chadwick » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:11 pm

It is not universal. The rules make no reference to the amount of time the dog should spent in the water. It is situationally dependent.
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Re: Duck search

Postby orhunter » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:26 pm

It depends on the testing site as much as judging. Theoretically, the dog is supposed to water track the duck onto dry land. Theoretically. Depends on the duck too.
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Re: Duck search

Postby Deuce » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:16 am

Chadwich and ORhunter have it right.

No where is it stated that the dog must spend 50% in the water. That seems rather arbitrary given the changing nature of cover, situation, duck behavior, etc. from duck to duck and site to site. The dog should search likely cover, including water and land.

To counterpoint the 50% rule, if it spends more than 50% in the water, specifically open water... what's the dog searching? I would argue it's not searching. Same goes for the dogs that go straight out and back, ignoring the cover in between.
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Re: Duck search

Postby orhunter » Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:57 am

The dog needs to search independently, out of sight of the handler. Some dogs get attached to a small patch of cover that looks/smells promising and won't leave it after a decent search. The dog must be able to determine where game isn't and expand the search to include where it might/should be despite the reluctance to do so. At some point, the dog must run the bank and pick up a scent trail left by the duck as it left the water. All good quality ducks do leave the water to avoid the danger that lurks/swims there. During training, the situation shouldn't be set up so the dog finds the duck in in the water.
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Re: Duck search

Postby TimberdoodleWI » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:32 pm

Everybody else has hit it right on the head. Judges want to see independent search, an expanding search, and the dog hitting objectives (ie. likely cover) To me if a is dog spending a lot of time in open water swimming and not jumping through cattails and checking the banks isn't really searching
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Re: Duck search

Postby ryanr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:21 am

Or, gotta disagree with you on one point, a duck, especially one that has lost its ability to fly knows it is usually safer IN the water than on land. That's why during their molt, waterfowl are usually never more than a few feet from water.

Actually ran into this situation last night. Had the dog out for a short run in the fields and woods near cold trout stream. Quade picked up some scent and immediately started tracking/searching. There some fresh tracks in the mud, looked like fox so I let him have some fun. He was up and down the cover along the shoreline, then all hell broke loose as I heard splashing, a duck nervously quacking and the distinct sound of Drahthaar charging through the water after said duck. The duck raced upstream and then back down, then up and again back down trying to get away from my duck terminator. I realized it couldn't fly because it was molting. Took me some time to convince Quade to give up the pursuit. I'm just glad he didn't chase that duck way upstream to the pool the two fly fishermen were enjoying, lol!
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Re: Duck search

Postby orhunter » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:59 am

Ryanr: Explain why we see most the ducks at tests head for the bank or crippled ducks during duck season do the same thing. This isn't about the molting period, it's all about scoring well in the test. Remember, during the test, the dog does not have to fetch/find the duck.
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Re: Duck search

Postby ryanr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:37 am

orhunter wrote:Ryanr: Explain why we see most the ducks at tests head for the bank or crippled ducks during duck season do the same thing. This isn't about the molting period, it's all about scoring well in the test. Remember, during the test, the dog does not have to fetch/find the duck.


Because the duck is most often escaping from a known pursuit or threat in real time. These ducks have also just been recently thrown in to these ponds or bogs, it's a bit of a shock I'm sure. At the tests I've seen more ducks stay in the water than ones that head way up on land. Sure some do, seen it, but I think more stay in the water, either hiding in tall reeds in the shallows or out sitting low amongst the lily pads. Some of it depends on the venue itself too I'm sure. What's universal is that a duck that can't fly is safest on the water.

Eh, I shouldn't have posted as it was tangential to the original point of the discussion and not a big deal. Apologies to the OP.
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Re: Duck search

Postby Hunters Edge » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:15 pm

Chance's are if a dog runs the bank he will be penalized. This is water search and is judged on the search IN WATER. Now the exception is the dog tracks scent to shore, in this scenario he bests better produce duck or judge seen duck come to shore. Either case if he does not track scent to duck quickly and efficiently or he does not re-enter the water he will be penalized, again the section of the test says it all water search.
The land search will be judged in the field portion of the test, thus the severe penalty for running the bank. What was posted earlier judges have to take in account of site and circumstances but in the end they want the dog in the water and it continuing to expand the search ON WATER.

Now to train for this once dog is doing searches exactly what a 4 score, now add have lot of bird scent on and around shore where dog is released. No birds though his memory of finding birds in the water will quickly after a few releases will have him dismissing bird scent around release site and old scent on land. The dog if tracked fresh scent to shore will quickly bring the duck to hand or re-enter the water and continue to expand search.

I would like to add retriever test's and trials the dog is severely penalized for running the bank. For either the dog does not want to enter water or is not taking handlers lines. So when judges see a dog running the bank and not reentering they have to assume dog does not want to enter water and is not finding scent or tracking, it is trying to find sent on land, which the dog should be trying to find sent on water NOT on land, thus the reason it is called water search. Hope this helps so you have time to correct this behavior.
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