versatiles

HRC, NAHRA, etc

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Postby hunter94 » Sun May 07, 2006 8:44 am

you can train for anything, especially a test when the conditions are known...there is no substitute for real field experience.....usually best to train with/for as many different scenarios as possible.....cause in the real world, it seldom is the same circumstance the dog faces everytime...and test set ups/conditions will vary too........


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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Sun May 07, 2006 12:16 pm

Excellent post, Rick! Seems intuitive but is certainly argued a lot.

Also, I'm wondering about the HRC tests, particularly at the seasoned and fininshed levels in regard to the walk up, quartering, and tracking parts. How do the Versatile breeds deal with the flushing thing? What if the dog points? Is that OK? In prepartation, does one just require the dog to hunt close and hope there's no wind? Advice?
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Postby Rick Hall » Sun May 07, 2006 3:12 pm

Bruce, I know the rule book allows the use of quartering and tracking tests, but as a matter of practicality, I don't think you'll ever see quartering or tracking in Seasoned or Finished. And I'm virtually certain that the rules have been amended to require its mention on the entry premium if they are to be tested. You will definitely see at-heel "walk-ups" in Seasoned and may see a walk-up in Finished. But since there's no flush involved, just a bird thrown in/across your path, pointing is a non-issue.

I've only seen quartering in Upland Hunts (which are their own, seperate events) and never seen tracking in an HRC test.
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HRC

Postby bill10979 » Mon May 08, 2006 11:09 am

Bruce, By all means GO and have fun. I made a few friendships and hopefully hunting/training partners and the opportunity to watch other dogs and handlers is great. You dont know till you try. I lloked at it this way-if my dog does poorly, shes so ugly it doesnt matter. And not having a prize winning Lab pedigree is great too. In this case, youre/we're a huge underdog with nothing to lose! Training is just more time with your dog.
I recently talked to the test director (sending ribbons). I know it was hard for him but he said "you got a great dog, probably the Bbbees, lets just say one of the top three dogs there." This coming from a Lab guy was a huge compliment. I hope to run again this weekend so wish me luck.
Rick, the post you added was a good one. I really think its important to have 2 commands, 1 for search or find independently, and another set as a team-Back on blinds and fetch with/w/out a line and obviously handling drills to over etc.. A good dog will work well and be more productive. I was concerned about HRC for this reason but so far so good. You must balance this and not overwork one for the other, Im glad I started the searching in training early on and now the handling.
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon May 08, 2006 12:32 pm

I'm wondering about comparisons between HRC and the AKC Retriever Hunt tests. I'm familiar with the tests at the Master level retriever hunt tests and wonder if the "fininshed" level HRC tests look the same? Harder, easier, or just different?

Not sure exactly which level to look into because once you place at a higher level (maybe even as a fluke) then you can't go back to a lower one. Plus, I have a $450 plane tickect out of SE Alaska to get to any test, anywhere! Meeting like minded folks in the dog world is always the best part of the experience so I'm sure it would be worth it at any level so I'm glad you found receptive folks to the Versatile breeds.

I tried emailing the test secretary at the Whistling Wings club out of Seattle and the mail returned. Anyone know a contact down there? There's a club in Fairbanks that seems pretty active so that's a possibility.
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Re: HRC

Postby crackerd » Mon May 08, 2006 12:34 pm

bill10979 wrote: And not having a prize winning Lab pedigree is great too. In this case, youre/we're a huge underdog with nothing to lose!


Afraid that's a bit of a canard--"you're/we're a huge underdog" only if the dog's not been trained up to the work and you're aware of that but taking your chances anyhow. Why would/should a breed be considered an underdog because of its appearance or that the testing organization and/or judges are unfamiliar with it? Just because you show up at HRC or NAHRA without the same breed everyone else's got doesn't signify "underdog."

I've run five different breeds at the finished/master level of retriever tests, only one of them was classified as a retriever (and when I ran, even that breed wasn't considered a retriever by the AKC). Never felt, or was made to feel, an underdog in the least.

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Postby crackerd » Mon May 08, 2006 12:45 pm

Bruce Schwartz wrote:I'm wondering about comparisons between HRC and the AKC Retriever Hunt tests. I'm familiar with the tests at the Master level retriever hunt tests and wonder if the "fininshed" level HRC tests look the same? Harder, easier, or just different?


To be diplomatic, "different." To be blunt, a HRC's a lot more leniently judged (for the dogs; very strict with gun safety). To be personal, HRC (and NAHRA) tests each have preferable hunting elements over AKC. In the latter case, quartering to flush and trailing. Also prefer HRC for handler's firing the gun from the line, and the dog marking off it without noisemakers in the field (AKC and NAHRA) to get its attention for fall of the bird.

Not sure exactly which level to look into because once you place at a higher level (maybe even as a fluke) then you can't go back to a lower one. Plus, I have a $450 plane ticket out of SE Alaska to get to any test, anywhere! Meeting like minded folks in the dog world is always the best part of the experience so I'm sure it would be worth it at any level so I'm glad you found receptive folks to the Versatile breeds.


Are you asking here which clubs will allow a versatile to run? ALL OF THEM by the organizations' charters--even if not for a title, as you know has been broached before.

I'm aware there are AKC retriever clubs in Alaska, because a number of FTs are staged by them annually. But no HRC? No NAHRA? Take the initiative.

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Postby bill10979 » Mon May 08, 2006 1:12 pm

Crackered-"underdog" or novelty breed is how I look at it. When 86% of dogs running are Labs and most bred have such titles behind them, I think the term fits pretty well. In any case, theres nothing to lose either way.
I found everyone very friendly, I also found Everyone watching my dog-there was an acute interest in her-as an atypical versatile at a retrievers game.-how will this German bred dog do? etc. etc. Same thing w/a Boykin, WPG, GWP, PP, GSP. She answered the questions pretty quick, but theres that inital what kind of a dog is that- shock- and whats it doing here- it seems, unless Im just paranoid. I answered alot of questions literally and figuratively-so I dont think Im losing it.
Variety is the spice of life and I was interested in watching other breeds-Chessie, swamp collies and look forward to seeing a Boykin or PP.
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon May 08, 2006 2:29 pm

But no HRC? No NAHRA? Take the initiative.


Crackered,

I appreciate your comments. Yes, we have been down this path before. But I'm greatful that versatile dogs can run AND title in HRC events so that's why I'm really interested in those tests. There's a HRC club in Fairbanks, one on Vaccouver Island, B.C., and one near Seattle. The next closest, according to the HRC website, is in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico and that's why I was looking to make a contact at the Seattle one.

There's also an active NAHRA club outside Anchorage and they are great folks, but frankly, if I'm going to spend $450 to get to the test, I'd like a ribbon if I pass. Although I don't see a rational explaination that versatile dogs can compete (but not title) in NAHRA, the club members obviously have every right to set their own rules and I'm totally OK with that. I did take the inititive and tried to explore that with them but now the "rock's in their pocket."

I admit I'm caught up in the competitive spirit of these dog games and obviously would like to show other versatile dog owners that their dogs can compete on a level field with the "retriever" breeds at certain levels and even better than "retrievers" at other levels. ME on this board certainly did it, as have others. My Griffon just turned two, but I've trained labs for thirty years so I think I have a feel for what they could do if folks spent the time training AND the tests were readily available.

I've also taken the inititive to explore with the AKC field test folks the possibility of them opening the Retreiver Hunt Tests to other breeds besides the AKC designated "retrievers." The sticking issue seems to hinge upon exactly what the breeds were "specifically bred" for; that is, were they bred specifically to "point" or were they bred specifically to "retreive game under any and all conditons." I think the answer is pretty clear for most of us versatile dog owners,but this may end up being another case of where where policitcs triumphs over reason. We'll see.
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Postby crackerd » Mon May 08, 2006 3:39 pm

bill10979 wrote:"underdog" or novelty breed is how I look at it. ... Same thing w/a Boykin, WPG, GWP, PP, GSP.

Will give you the novelty slant, still amiss with "underdog"--at least at the hunt test level. You're up against a standard, not running for a placement, so really there is no underdog if the dog can do the work. As for the Boykin, it's an underdog in size only, and when mine followed a past winner of the Super Retriever Series that ran test dog for the last NAHRA master/senior test I ran--and passed again--I don't reckon it was any under, or over, thing a'tall.

Bruce Schwartz wrote:There's a HRC club in Fairbanks, one on Vaccouver Island, B.C., and one near Seattle. The next closest, according to the HRC website, is in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico and that's why I was looking to make a contact at the Seattle one.

There's also an active NAHRA club outside Anchorage and they are great folks, but frankly, if I'm going to spend $450 to get to the test, I'd like a ribbon if I pass.


Bruce, guess I don't appreciate the distances in Alaska, but "taking initative" was meant as getting an HRC club going, and now you tell me they exist but at a remove. But that a NAHRA club is nearby. Initiative might mean in this case getting that club to "go" HRC as a number of clubs--albeit not enough of them--have done in the East. Doubles your testing opportunities, obviously--and by the way, you'll get a ribbon at NAHRA if you're dog passes the test, just that if it passes six of them, it won't get MHR conferred on it (yet). I believe NAHRA may come around for titles with enough pressure/interest/enthusiasm from the non-traditional retriever handlers.

And getting AKC to open retriever tests (and/or trials) would have to mean AKC stood for Australian Kennel Club--where all gundog breeds can compete in retriever trials and tests. The American Kennel Club--never in a thousand years. Not when retriever trials have 260-odd dogs as did one I ran over the weekend, and when hunt tests for master routinely have to bring in additional sets of judges because entries are so expansive. (Unlike a spaniel event, where you might have 30-40 entries in three classes, and likewise for pointing dog hunt tests.) AKC hunt tests for master have been known to run over to three days to accommodate the entries now, giving more dogs eligibility would only "thrombose" them up even worse.

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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon May 08, 2006 4:21 pm

Crackered,

Yeah, I hear you! It's a totally unrealistic goal but I don't mind pointing out absurdity when I see it.

And also I don't like the idea of pushing versatile dogs to the same levels the lab folks have pushed theirs! These dogs are much too special for doing that, and some others on this board have pointed out that if you make them too dependent, you may lose a lot of what makes them so wonderful. I just want to train to the level that my dog wants to go and enjoy our time together.
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Postby bill10979 » Mon May 08, 2006 7:50 pm

Bruce,
I dont believe that there is any quartering/flushing etc except at the GRAND which is a week long event for those thatve qualified with enough points.
You wont see it or be judged at Seasoned or Finished, so no worries. A pointing versatile dog can do just fine. Just be steady,honor, take good lines, and bring back the ducks!
Im supposed to run seasoned on Sunday so Ill report back what I see and experience. hopefully will get in a training day or 2 this week.
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Mon May 08, 2006 10:12 pm

bill10979 ,

Thanks. I'd really like to hear about your experience... and good luck!
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Postby Rick Hall » Tue May 09, 2006 7:10 am

Bruce Schwartz wrote:I'm wondering about comparisons between HRC and the AKC Retriever Hunt tests. I'm familiar with the tests at the Master level retriever hunt tests and wonder if the "fininshed" level HRC tests look the same? Harder, easier, or just different?

Not sure exactly which level to look into because once you place at a higher level (maybe even as a fluke) then you can't go back to a lower one...


I'm in the heart of HRC country (started with one of the first clubs in '84 and blessed with four within a couple hours' drive), but the 20th will see the first AKC test within easy drive - and the first I'll attend. But it's my understanding from those who run both that the AKC is more technically/trial oriented, while the HRC is still largely hunting oriented.

An example of the differing philosophies might be the case of a dog that's drawned off its line to a blind by old scent. Where an AKC judge might gig the dog for succumbing to that factor, no matter how well he handled back on course, the HRC judge should not gig the dog for minding its nose but score the dog on its "recovery" when handled back on course.

Physical differences between the two would be the AKC tests' trial-like set-ups which are more technically difficult vs the HRC's hunt-like set-ups which are more...well, hunt-like. The HRC won't show a dog long quads, but it may expect it to work out of a boat, off a tree stand or from a remote location and stay put when a breaking bird comes from behind to splash in front of its nose. Reckon I, like most, would find the Master appreciably more difficult - but also that those who've concentrated on MH better train for Finished.

As for what level to start at, the stock advice is, of course, to test one level below your training. And many HRCers advise against skipping the extremely elementary Started level, because it's a good opportunity to acclimate a pup to the super-charged atmospher of testing (which loosens most dogs up considerably) without the temptations to trouble more advanced levels present.

Don't know that I could bring myself to run a dog that might pass Finished in Started, given your travel requirements, but I'd sure give serious thought to begining a perhaps-Finished dog in Seasoned. Or to begining a perhaps-Seasoned dog in Started. If the wheels fall off a "maybe" dog that's smart enough to get test-wise over it, there'll be a whole lot of second guessin' goin' on. (Says the voice of experience.)

On the topic of "novelty" dogs in the HRC, one's apt to see most anything taking a shot at Started's straight-forward little marks, 'least down here. But when someone like "ME" brings a non "retriever" (or flat or curly-coat retriever) to the Finished line, folks pay attention. Shoot, they pay attention when a golden or Chessie steps up - if only in hopes of feeling superior about their Labs.

Bill, best of luck with your pup in Seasoned next weekend!
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Postby crackerd » Tue May 09, 2006 8:41 am

Bruce Schwartz wrote:And also I don't like the idea of pushing versatile dogs to the same levels the lab folks have pushed theirs! These dogs are much too special for doing that, and some others on this board have pointed out that if you make them too dependent, you may lose a lot of what makes them so wonderful. I just want to train to the level that my dog wants to go and enjoy our time together.


Bruce, ever seen or run a NAHVDA Utility Test, you know, for versatiles? If you have--seen one, or perchance run--you'll know independence ain't something you will have seen much of. NAHVDA's testing concept is about 75 percent obedience, i.e., control: heeling, steadiness in a blind, steadiness on point to wing, shot and fall. But could that also be the opposite of "independence," per your remark about not "lik(ing) the idea of pushing the versatile dogs to the same levels the Lab folks have pushed theirs!"

Pointing dog trialers, even versatile pointing dog trialers, might call these dogs "bootlickers"--I say they're close-working biddable dogs (for the most part).

Now, ever seen or run a retriever field trial? You know, with the 400-yard triples land or water and with two retired guns? What kind of dependence does a dog use to get to those birds? Radar? Seventh sense? A Gator?

So, either way, to say "These dogs are much too special for doing that ...if you make them too dependent, you may lose a lot of what makes them so wonderful"--well, that's plain wrongheaded to begin with, and besides nobody's asking a versatile to assume the abilities of a FT Lab.

As for "I just want to train to the level that my dog wants to go"--how does the dog go about telling you that it's deduced that level? :wink:

When it comes to "absurdity" of the AKC--please explain why so, with retrievers running retriever trials, pointers running pointing dog trials, and spaniels running spaniel trials?

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