versatiles

HRC, NAHRA, etc

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versatiles

Postby bill10979 » Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:18 pm

This is really for ME or anyone else familiar w/HRC tests.
My question is; Why dont more owners of Versatiles test their dogs? People argue about this water at Navhda etc-for me the proof is in the pudding. If your dog can title as season or finished dog in HRC, you know you got a hell of a dog- A brag dog if you will, especially if it can hunt uplands and track.
Just curious-any GSPs,PPs WPGs have HRC titles?
Why so few DDs/GWPS in testing? Mine can do the work. She has 2 titled dogs in her pedigree even-Mom and Grand Mom, just wonder why so few folks run their dogs-is the dog up to it and have cooperation, drive, calmness needed? Ive met some great folks who are good trainers and have nice dogs and were open to a new breed running with theirs(running just as hard too).
Im excited about running this Spring and will test in late March. Wish me luck. Will run the seasoned test here in SW Ohio.
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Re: versatiles

Postby ME » Thu Feb 17, 2005 10:40 pm

Why dont more owners of Versatiles test their dogs?


If this question is for ME I can't answer since I did or do.. If I get this job that my company is trying to get in Milwaukee I will run my dog in the grand this spring since I will be able to train for it because I will be living over there..

I could only guess why...Time I would think is the #1 reason

Bill how is your dog at swinging with the gun and following you?

Seasoned is pretty easy if you have a dog that can mark and has ok line manners...Good luck and train for finished so your dog will be underwhelmed come test day...Good Luck and may all your duck fall belly up.. :wink:
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Postby Jon » Thu Feb 17, 2005 11:50 pm

I would think that this work would be great for versatiles and that there would be a lot of dogs that could do well. As long as the versatile work remained the fundamental effort, can't see why a dog couldn't gain a lot from this kind of training. Could be that by the time folks have done the NAVHDA tests and maybe the MH or FC, they just want to go hunting.


Both the dogs that I took to the Invitational were much better all around water dogs after the lining and directional work and I'll probably do the basics with every dog from now on. Its neat to be able to give a dog a line at the water and see them take it 2-300 yds and then some direction to the scent cone or fall. Saves a lot of walkin too :)
Keep the breed versatile
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Postby larue » Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:10 am

from my perspective,,,I would not want to put that much control
on a dog,,,,it would take too much from the dogs independance,,
to be worth the title....and I am primarily a upland bird hunter,,with some duck hunting thrown in...I do want dogs that reliably retrieve ducks,,
but the duck search..along with drive,,are enough for what I need..
To teach a dog to take a perfect line,,ignore distractions,live ducks on the way,,is just to much control for myself...it will take somethings out of a dogs natural independace,,and intelligance,,(in regards to hunting)...
Just as and obediance does....but here you are teaching a dog to completely rely on you,,and your commands...
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Versatiles

Postby bill10979 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:40 am

ME-I think she swings quite well-at least during this past season, I will work it more to be safe, as I will the steady-She has broken on shot a few times Im embarrased to say, not often, but occasionally, so we will continue to work Basics! I feel like we mark well, line very well out to 80-100yds-thats what weve worked for. In my hunting, the birds seem to fall out to that distance-I can put her in the cone and once that happens, their usually back in the blind shortly, except for a wounded swimmer.
Id like to think come test day, we will do fine-but again, you never know. My buddys Lab-a Grand Champion-went for the distraction bird last time out, and failed the test- Ill just continue to drill-I like the testing, as I think training for it has made an excellent Line dog out of her-which is an asset hunting-I like an efficient dog that hits the scent cone and is back in the blind. I can see where you might lose some independence if youre not careful, Im trying to balance the 2 together(control/independence).
My experiences training with the club has been very positive-they seem to enjoy other breeds-we have a PP/Boykin/Poodle in ours, in addition to usual Labs, Goldens, Chessies ,and it makes it interesting. I would definately encourage others to visit a club-you will see good dog work, meet good guys/ trainers and probably learn a few things-I know I have and its helped us this year in the duckblind.
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Postby terryg » Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:59 am

hrc has a very limited amount of chapters and as such exclude many dogs that might run.

similar to navhda, being on a very small scale hurts.

there are no hrc chapters in california, nevada, arizona, or oregon and only one in washington and utah each 800 miles away.

since that covers at least a third of the population of the u.s. it puts a pretty good crimp in trialing.

even navhda in california is pretty limited.

add to this the fact that most trials are poorly planned and run, the cliquey attitudes that abound, and the poor timing of either holding them in the middle of summer (100 dgrees plus here) or during hunting season, they make their own bed.

you can also add the poor reputation of ukc as well as, despite what folks here think, the vast majority of hunting dog folks are extremely ignorant concerning dogs let alone training and ones that do know and care do not consider training for trials a top priority in their lives.

the folks here are the exception, not the rule.

jsut some thoughts.
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Postby Jon » Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:36 pm

larue,
Good point about the independence. But, a couple of thoughts...

The real essence of a top versatile dog is being able to switch from independent search to directed work. Intelligent dogs can be conditioned to know when its time to to get out there a few hundred yards and look for birds and when it needs to react to a directional in the water.

Also, I think you can accomplish most of the retrieving work without making the dog dependent. I agree - I have no interest in a dog that will run over the horizon because I gave it a line. I do think a dog that can be given a "right" or "left over" saves a lot of time when the ducks are pouring into your decoys or its starting to get dark at pick up time.
Keep the breed versatile
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Postby ME » Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:46 pm

If your dog doesn't have the drive/desire and the cooperation nessasary you may have a problem with finished level work. Which is why alot of people don't do it. Dogs with out stability and a super high drive to retrieve need not apply. If you have to use real ducks everytime for training to keep the dog interested it will get expensive...

Mine, who may be the exception, will still go out and tear up a duck search. But if I need him to I can cast him to the spot. It can save your dogs life if you can cast him. The dog may catch the duck 175 yards out after an extended chase and be only 25yards from a shore. Most dogs will turn to come back and have to swim all the way back in the cold water against the wind. If you can cast the dog even with a duck in its mouth you can save time and maybe even your dog..

Jon,
Did you teach either of the to dogs you ran at the invite the "swim-by"?
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Versatiles

Postby bill10979 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:55 pm

Jon-I agree with your comments. A good trainer can balance the control/independence and a dog can be trained for both scenarios. I think there is a fine line, and independent searching must be encouraged often, in addition formal training. A good dog is fun to work and watch.

Terry-I had no idea that there were no chapters out your way. I do know that you can start a chapter with enough members-there is info on the UKC site-follow HRC links. Here in the Heartland, they are very common. I have 3 chapters within an hours drive in each direction. Again, my experiences are all positive. There are some "Pros" that are in it for the buck and travel far and wide. Its in their blood-they travel around the country and "do" hunt tests. I cant knock them. They have good dogs, have always been polite-even helpful, and say good things about my dogs even though they aint Labs!
I came away with a newfound respect after witnessing my friends dogs. Hes a county surveyor, and roads his dogs while working upwards of 10-12 miles a day in KY hills. They looked like they could hang with mine step for step. I didnt hunt with him this yr. as he had open heart surgery, but I can tell you that his dogs are in tip top shape, and I was certainly impressed with his dogs endurance, drive and cooperaton-funny thing was-he was just as impressed with mine. We really hit it off and I now have a top rate training partner.
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Postby crackerd » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:39 pm

Why dont more owners of Versatiles test their dogs?

Good question. Corollary would be, how many train their versatiles to handle? I don't mean take a straight line across a pond to a white bucket--a sight blind, if you will. I mean handling on a fine line, angle backs, long overs, at distance. Can't say that, after half dozen years of NAVHDA, I ever saw the first one. You asked about the swimby--that's one of the last steps before transition (a k a starting to run cold blinds), but you don't just jump into it; there's baseball casting, pile work, double-T that all lead up to it.

Yet another question on so few versatiles running HRC, or NAHRA, would be, how many of them ever work on multiple marks? Few, I'd bet. Once I was running a NAVHDA UT and the gunners took down a double in the field. Dog picked up the first quail and when I lined her for the second, which she hadn't seen, one of the judges said "You'll only risk something bad happening if you try to pick that one up."

No, the bad thing happened when the dog went for the fourth bird at the water series of a NAHRA master test. The first three ducks she picked up, but after the last mark, a farm goose began to cackle a couple hundred yards away. So what? Well, the dog had picked up three rubber duckies--Dokkens--as NAHRA was using them during an avian virus outbreak, and when the "real thing" showed itself, all bets were off. Made a beeline for it with the last Dokken still clenched in her teeth. Couldn't fault her instinct. Though the handling and control could have been better... :lol:

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Postby terryg » Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:30 pm

"Terry-I had no idea that there were no chapters out your way. I do know that you can start a chapter with enough members-there is info on the UKC site-follow HRC links. Here in the Heartland, they are very common. I have 3 chapters within an hours drive in each direction. Again, my experiences are all positive. There are some "Pros" that are in it for the buck and travel far and wide. Its in their blood-they travel around the country and "do" hunt tests. I cant knock them. They have good dogs, have always been polite-even helpful, and say good things about my dogs even though they aint Labs! "


bill, my days of showing have passed. all i do now is help people that want to trial train and train hunting dogs.

all of my comments are observations from the many i deal with and what i have witnessed myself.

just goes to show that what is common for some is foreign to others.

also demonstrates what small ponds dog orgs really are.

as an example, i called a guy that had gwp's advertised the other day. the add said
"gwp pups, both parents imported, sire is danish and mother is german, both have hunting titles. 5 females and 1 male. 10 weeks"

the 10 weeks was a flag to me but i called anyway. guy said he still had 4 females left but all the males are gone.

i asked about the parenst and he said the sire was imported by xxxx, a person i know and know the dogs. i said i respected this person but was not impressed with most of their dogs for what i do, but that was not set in stone and i would like to see him. he was in the bay area and not available.

i asked how he came to import the dam. he said he had an old gwp bitch that died at 15 years, his wife was in germany buying horses and as a present she went to a kennel and got the "pick of the litter" for him.

i asked about the hunting titles and he said the mother and father both had jh's and his was at a trainers to skip the sr and go right to the master.

i aksed if he had any video he could send me since i could not see or hunt with the mother. he said he didn't have any.

i told him i would keep his number but would have to pass.

btw, the pups were really 12 weeks.

not much use for any kind of club with these folks breeding.

know whut i mean vern! :roll:
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Postby ME » Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:20 pm

Jon,
Did you teach either of the two dogs you ran at the invite the "swim-by"?
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4) Thou shalt not bear false wittness (purgery)
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HRC

Postby bill10979 » Mon May 01, 2006 9:35 am

Ran our 1st test-and got our 1st pass. Ran Started to become familiar with the testing. Run again in a few weeks-started Sat., seasoned Sunday.

37 dogs ran. Lots of fun. Saw ducks pissed on, chewed on, danced on. Several dogs failed surprisingly and obviously. Also saw some rather nice work, from mine included. She aced it-powerful entry (which I dont like), perfect marks and hand delivery. Will work line manners a bit and should be ok. A better group of folks, you wont find.
Hopefully will have HR title this Spring and Champion title this Fall or worst case, next Spring if time doesnt permit.
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Thu May 04, 2006 9:43 pm

With respect to the reason most versatile dog owners don't test in HRC is (and I agree with Jon here) that it just takes a lot more training to go to the next level and most just don't want to invest the time and energy. Hell, most lab folks don't even train to decent handling standards. So having other priorities gets no argument from me, especially since most versatile dogs already have a great skill set as standard equipment.

Also, I think versatile dog owners may just be more interested in upland game hunting with its accompanying pointing breed tasks than they are the waterfowl hunting/retreiving related ones. So it's pretty hard to convince them that a handling versatile dog will, all other things being equal, out perform a dog who lacks those skills unless they've owned a dog that handled while waterfowl hunting and is familiar with that kind of training, etc. It's like trying to get someone to accept the notion that a pointing dog that's steady to WS&F will out mark one who's allowed to break at the shot. Everybody seems to come to the discussion with all the knowledge and assumptions they need and aren't willing to let a few facts get in the way.

And then there's the bias that if you require the V-dog to have more skills it will somehow take away it's innate drives. I hope that's not true.

Besides the dog learning more useful skills, the best reason to keep training is that you can spend tons more time with your dog. Most bird dog trainers quit when their dog is steady to WS&F, and what's that take, one, maybe two years max? A retriever's training is just getting started at two years!

While others' versatile dogs have been in their kennels all last week my dog and I have been outside almost every day doing all kinds of fun training. Maybe it'll have some untoward effect... but the bottom line is that the dog seems to love doing the training and we won't have to quit just because she's learned how to point and retrieve.

Folks like ME and bill10979 are my heros! Keep up the great work.
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Postby Rick Hall » Sun May 07, 2006 8:05 am

If a fellow's going to do much waterfowling with any dog, the basic skill set required for HRC Seasoned work really ought to be in place. And if he's a serious waterfowler, Finished work will pay real dividends.

From here in the cheap seats, the search element is the most telling part of NAVHDA testing and the most sorely missing element of hunting retriever testing. But one of the longest mornings I've spent in the blind was in the company of a NAVHDA dog that had "search" down but wouldn't handle a lick. Our party of four lost a number of lively cripples and gosh-knows-how many new gunning opportunities while our "Utility Dog" searched himself into the ground for birds a solid "Seasoned" dog would have, for the most part, handled with reasonable expedience.

As for the pointing dog trialers' axiom, "every time you put something in (control), you take something out (independent search)," it ain't neccessarily so - but is a good thing to keep in mind. If one exercises a lot of control, it's only natural that the dog will shift its focus to the handler, essentially seeking control, rather than game.

But dogs are great compartmentalizers, and we've found maintaining independent search as simple as limiting our use of control as much as practical in venues where we wish to encourage independence. Thus we'd not teach handling in a bird field, "search" pond or other hunting related area, where we want a pup's focus on developing independent hunting skills, rather than on our control. Handling, manners on game and such are taught in seperate venues, Pup recognizes as training, rather than hunting, areas and then incorporated into his hunting development in a gradual, balanced manner that keeps Pup's focus where it ought be.
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