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HRC, NAHRA, etc

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HRC

Postby bill10979 » Tue May 09, 2006 9:41 am

Crackered,
I think Bruce feels slighted that AKC isnt an open venue like HRC, NHRA. Obviously there isnt enough pressure for them by other "non breeds" those who wish to run go route of HRC. 1 complaint I heard at last weeks event, was that AKC wasnt very hunt oritented. Have to wear light colored clothing-no camo, among other things. Several hunt trainers/hunters werent big on AKC tests??? I dont want to debate it, just thought Id bring it ip as it was mentioned by more than a few guys.

Bruce and others, With the right dog you can easily train to "Search" or Find (independently) and Also to command and handle via a line, fetch or back and following signals. If you over empasize one or the other, youll be disappointed in a blind. There are times both are necessary and important. Certainly a dog must handle but should retain ability to find a downed cripple no matter the circumstances.

Running against a standard is nice. It does dampen the competitveness(somewhat) but at the higher levels the work is pretty stringent, so a pass is a pass. It also allows for a little more comraderie IMO. Youre not "beating the other guy" (or dog) and you feel others rooting for you and vice versa.
Rick-thanks and Ill let you know how we do.
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Tue May 09, 2006 11:18 pm

Rick,

Thanks for your comments. I'm looking forward to testing at an HRC event. They sound like a fun venue and maybe better suited to the versatile dog folks, me included. Obviously you're pretty lucky to have so many options where you live.

bill10979,

You're right, I do feel slighted and therein also lies the absurdity I mentioned to Crackered. I feel my Griffon is every bit a retriever as, say, a Curly coated, flat coated, golden retriever, Nova Scotia Duck toller, labrador, poodle, chessie, or "whatever retriever", that are "allowed" to participate in the AKC Retriever Hunt Tests (this is from memory as I can't find their website right now). And, if anybody disbelieves this, then they are welcome to hunt waterfowl with me here in SE Alaska where we have 18 foot tides that change every six hours and some very treacherous hunting conditions as a result. My hunting partner's dog is a MH lab but my dog brings as many ducks back as his does. His can do spectacular blind retrieves that mine can't, but his is better trained and is four years old. Plus it's an absolutely fabulous animal! Mine does take nice long blinds, does angle backs, etc. but just isn't "there" yet. And she's only two. However (and you may find this surprising) - mine marks just as well, AND just as far! No, she won't do tripples, or quads, but I can also tell you that mine has done several searches for cripples that have blown my friend away ... as well as his dog! Sorry, I didn't want this to turn in to a brag thing, but clearly mine isn't the only versatile dog that can retrieve well.

Also, mine can't participate in an AKC Retriever test and I think it should be able to! It is 2006 after all, and in most places, racial, ethnic, sexist, and other "absurd" barriers have already been dismantled. A PL can't test in the AKC POINTING Breed Hunt tests either, but that seems to make sense to everybody but PL owners (and me) I guess. I'm not saying that participating in an AKC Retriever hunt test is my ultimate goal in life, but when I started complaining about this stuff last fall I hadn't even heard of HRC and from yours and Rick Hall's posts it seems that maybe HRC is a more comfortable place for me anyway.

Hey, I think it's a noble cause to change some of the arcane stuff in the dog world, and I should expect to see resentment, resistance to change, etc. I've said this before (and I really do believe it) - these institutions are kept together by hard work from dedicated people and they have every right to protect what they've built and to resist change that may not be in the best long term interest of their programs.

However ... HRC seems to be saying to me (as opposed to AKC) "Hey, you think your dog can do this stuff? Well, bring him out for a test. If it passes it gets a ribbon or a title or whatever." I like that approach - and their parent club has been around as long (longer I think?) than AKC, and testing all kinds of gun dogs doesn't seem to threaten them much. I can see where AKC might balk at such "radical" notions but how about NAHRA? It's membership is struggling (OK, I know no facts, but I have read this), and a couple of years ago expanded their testing to all spaniels (http://www.nahra.org/?template=nahra_ne ... 2037550450). Furthermore, they are inclusive enough to allow other breeds to run in their tests and get ribbons, as Crackerd has pointed out, but haven't extended titles to the dogs that do all the work they require. Does that seem absurd? Well, it might to some, and to some it seems exactly the way it should be.

Sorry for the diatribe. Obviously I could go on and on but I also want to respond to Cracker's post if I can. Meanwhile here's a picture of hunting over tidal grass flood plains at the delta of the Stikine River, in SE Alaska. This is not one of the scary places but shows some of the magnificent country we can hunt in and never see another party.

Bruce

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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed May 10, 2006 1:36 am

Crackered,

To answer your question about what I have and haven't seen, I've been in three NAVHDA tests. I've run in four AKC Pointing Breed tests at the Senior level. I've watched several Ã…KC Retriever Hunt Tests in recent years (all at the MH level), and I've run in a number of AKC Field Trials for Retrievers (all back in the seventies). That's the extent my trial/testing experience. This Griff is my first versatile dog, after a string of labs and an EP and ES.

Basically, I can't tell from your post if we have agreement in this thing or not. I was merely saying in a kind of oblique way that I think the lab folks have put more controls on their dogs than I feel comfortable putting on mine, and the resultant dependency must take a toll at some level. I certainly agree that the marvelous marking abilities of the retrievers in the HTs and FTs require incredible skills but I'm not ready to call it "independence", but merely a remarkable extension of any retrieve: seeing a mark go down and remembering where it went long enough to get it and bring it back. "Independence" to me is watching a duck search in the UT, where the dog is sent and it heads out and searches out for what it believes is a duck somewhere, without any help from it's handler.

I'm not sure that if trained for it, a lab couldn't do a really good INDEPENDENT search and I've owned dogs that I marveled at how they could disappear and come back with a cripple twenty minutes later, but I don't think I ever had or even seen a labrador that shows the kind of prey drive commonly seen in the versatile breeds. For example: I've been training for a UT test next week and a few days ago I set out a healthy mallard with the primaries pulled from one wing in a five acre pond. The dog searched for a while and then flushed the duck and chased the duck but couldn't catch it (because it was deep water and it kept diving). 43 minutes later I called off the chase because ice has been off this pond for only two weeks and I was afraid of getting the dog too cold and she didn't have her vest on. The dog and I then drove back home to get a shotgun to come back to dispatch the duck, arriving a little over an hour later, except the duck was missing, either having run off or having been picked up by an eagle. So I sent the dog for another search. Towards the end of the search the dog disappeared for about six or seven minutes and then came back with the duck she'd tracked through the forest about 1/4 mile from the pond. It was exactly 26 minutes after I'd sent her on the search, and and little over an hour after she'd done a 43 minute duck chase in ice cold water. So could a FT or HT lab do that? I don't know, but that's what I call indepencence, and I know the MH lab we train with wouldn't have delivered that duck to hand. And the American Kennel Club thinks she's a pointer!!

With respect to how far my dog is willing to go in this training thing let me say that I view the training as something that's fun for the dog and for me. When we're not having fun then we quit. Sure, I have to remind her that she HAS to "do this" or "do that or else" but basically it's a fun time. I'm fully aware that most serious trainers don't want their dogs doing "victory laps" when they bring back dummies, and they don't like the dog "shopping the pile," and they won't stand for the dog looping on it's "backs", "cigarring" etc. They'd also have a $#*! fit if they saw my dog bring back a dummy and come up behind me and push it (along with her nose) through my legs from behind and present the dummy in my crotch in front, just for fun or to get her chin scratched. When my dog's having a good time she'll do all this and more but when the training gets too serious she doesn't. The spark goes away, and she'll go through the motions of what I command, but we both know it's no fun anymore. That's how I think she'll let me know when she's trained to the level she doesn't want to exceed. I think if we keep having fun she'll have some nice titles to put on her pedigree one day.

I addressed the absurdity question in my last post.

Bruce

Here she is a few weeks ago on one of our favorite steelhead rivers here in SE Alaska

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Postby Puddle Rat » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:34 pm

Wow!! Great info here. My 14mo Small Munsterlander just knocked out a N/A Prize II, so it's time to get ready for hunting!! I'm going to order SMART WORKS and start on retriever training later in the summer.

Test Goals?? Next year I'm going to be looking at going for UH, SHR, and UT. The dog will tell me when he's ready for what. The interesting one will be UH...................

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testing

Postby Moonster » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:20 pm

Gary Have you started on the NAVHDA UPT or UT training yet?How is hunting season goining so far? Mike
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Postby Puddle Rat » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:16 pm

Hey Mike, been AWOL for a while. Started training a couple weeks ago. Going to run the pup in a HRC UH test in Mar (if work allows) just to get a feel for it. Will be a challange, a pointer at a flushing dog test :shock: Will at least run UPT this year, maybe UT if I can train him. He can do it, it's all a matter if I don't screw him up (again :oops: ). Will also try and put SHR on him this year.

After my first real hunting season with the pup, IMO, the NAVHDA UT duck search sucks as a test of a usable real world skill. A dog that can swim and search for 20min does not make for a bird retrieving machine. Next fall my Max WILL be taking lines and at least be able to do a lame blind. He has a nose and nose how to use it, like has been said above, just need to get them to the scent cone as quickly as possible and the dog will figure it out.

It is just an observation, but I think most NAVHDA testers do not hunt waterfowl with their pups.

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Postby Rick Hall » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:27 pm

Here I'd been thinking search (drive) was the most telling NAVHDA test.
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Postby Flyingm » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:14 pm

This is from the NAVHDA "Aims Programs Test rules" and I quote from page 20.

Search for a Duck
This is a test of the dog's ability to locate wounded waterfowl. It tests cooperation, desire, perseverance, and stamina. Of significance is the fact that it places the dog in an enviroment where the handler cannot physically follow the dog or even see the actual situation, thus requiring the animal to rely on its own initiative and intelligence in going about the task independently. A dog that must depend entirely on signals from the handler to locate game is unsatisfactory.

Now personally I don't think that sucks as a real world hunting skill. But to each his own. :wink:
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Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:21 pm

Flyingm:

Now we gotta breed a dog that'll do it without training....... The natural point, the natural duck search......
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Postby Rick Hall » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:35 pm

Gotta wonder how many anythings have come as close to fulfilling their genetic potential without training as they might have with?
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Postby orhunter » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:51 pm

Rick:
Yup........
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Postby Bruce Schwartz » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:22 pm

And a damn fine lookin' dog you got there Bruce. Heard it even catches the occasional steelhead.
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UT

Postby Moonster » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:45 am

Gary, I dont know how ya'll put up with all the bad weather up there! I am about tired of mud ice and snow! As dor the duck search part. I delight in having my dogs go and find birds that the lab boys have lost.
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A lot of these birds fell where we could send the dog on a line, But several of them were cripples where after the dog was sent we just had to wait for them to find it and return, or just send them in th direction and tell them to hut dead.
Then the next weeken Kate, Dot and I retrieved for a European style shoot and they retrieved 150 or so Pheasants in 2 hours. Quite a few cripples that the dogs had to use independence to find as I was busy with the other dog, The owner of the anch was very impressed with the drive and retrieving of my dogs. (I was a little upset becuase once the shooting started the dogs broke on the fall but theat is somethin to work on in training and not on the job) I owed it to the UT training (and a great dogs) that every hunt this year has been a blast working with well trained dogs. Mike
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Re: UT

Postby Puddle Rat » Thu Jan 18, 2007 1:30 pm

Now that's a pile of "quack" :!:

Moonster wrote:A lot of these birds fell where we could send the dog on a line, But several of them were cripples where after the dog was sent we just had to wait for them to find it and return, or just send them in th direction and tell them to hut dead.


Mike, thats exactly what I'm saying. Not a true NAVHDA duck search, you still handled the dog to the area and then let their nose/drive/inteligence/training get the job done.

FlyingM, Having seen the duck search - there is no relation to the dog meeting the requirement "swim/search for 20min" and being productive in this task. As a matter of fact, all the handlers that have UT under their belt, including some with VC's in our chapter, say that the worst thing that can happen during the duck search is for your pup to actually retrieve the bird because then you have to resend it out until the time is met - odd that an unproductive search is a good thing??? Unlike HRC where productivity of the event (produce undamaged game to handler) is as important as how the pup handles.
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Postby Flyingm » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:02 pm

All I was saying is that I don't think a duck search sucks. I think it is very useful. If you prefer to handle and hack your dog, more power to you. If that suits you, then go for it. Its your dog and your duck hunt.
However, where is this 20 min stuff come from?
I will quote again, this time from page 21 from the "NAVHDA Aims Programs Test Rules"

"Each dog is allowed a minumum of ten minutes to search out the duck, unless it completes the task in less time. No retrieve of the duck is required. If the opportunity for a retrieve occurs, such as the duck being caught or shot, the retrieve must be successfully completed. The test is concluded when the Judges have seen enough to render fair judgement as to whether or not the dog used it's nose, desire, perseverance, intelligence and sense of cooperation to the extent that under normal hunting conditions, the game would be brought to bag. It is emphasized that this is an exercise in searching and not a chase. If the duck is retrieved in too short of a time to make a proper judgement of the search, the handler will be asked to send the dog again without a shot being fired or another duck being released."

So the search is a minimum of 10 minutes. A dog that just swims around and around in the water is not searching. It can swim 10 minutes or 10 hours. It will still get a 0 or maybe a 1 at best. If the dog searches for say, 8 minutes and finds the duck and brings it to the hand of the handler, the judges might be satisfied depending on how the dog went about the task to say a fair judgement has been made. If they are watching a dog run up and down the bank and swim around here and there, they might want to extend the search for twenty minutes. If they do, then they are doing the handler a favor. The favor is to let the dog try to search and give it some more of a chance to search instead of telling the handler times up, and the dog gets a 0 or a 1.

Have you ever shot multiple ducks? Have you ever had a couple of crips and one dead in the water? What do you do? If you have less than three dogs you'll have to do a resend and since you've already shot, you won't shoot again. If you only have 1 dog you really need one that can do a search. Yeah sure you'll send it and tell it "over" or something like that. Anybody would. The point of the search is to have a dog that could do this type of task with minimum commands, show lots of desire and perseverance as well as nose and have the stamina to swim, run in mud, fight vegetation and not quit. Also to cooperate with the handler and bring the duck back without mutilating it. You might need to call of the search. Then the dog must cooperate in that endeavor as well.

Don't you want your dog to go out and search for wounded game with out you having to shoot your shotgun, or throwing rocks for each time you send? I know I do. Remember these are versatiles, they aren't labs. They shouldn't need to be hacked around.

Remember, the utility does have a marked retrieve, but to get a maximum score any command after the send will be penalized.

UKC retriever tests are tests of how well a dog can retrieve while being handled. NAVHDA retrieving tests are tests of how well a dog can retrieve without being handled.
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