How did VHDF come to be !

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Re: How did VHDF come to be !

Postby CalB » Wed May 24, 2017 10:59 am

Most people are ok with following the rules of a successful system. But some folks like to be the ones making the rules. Why go to all the trouble to become a JGHV judge or a Breed Show judge when you can start a club and just appoint yourself one. Where is the credibility in that?
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Re: How did VHDF come to be !

Postby 3DK » Tue May 30, 2017 1:27 pm

VHDF was talked about for years going back to the early 90's mostly at NAVHDA Judges Clinics which occur each year for Judges and Apprentice judges. During that time I had served as a navhda Judge, Senior Judge, Clinic Leader, and Director of Testing so I was at all of the meetings every year. Most of these discussions occurred at the West coast rotation of these meetings. There were two main reasons VHDF was envisioned.
1. The 4 point scoring system in navhda does a good job at identifying the below average performers, confirming the abilities of average performers, but does very little to identify the truly above average performers. The NAVHDA judges complained for years that we needed a more granular scoring system to provide more detailed information to breeders, breed clubs and owners. A 4 in search for example may only be an 80% performance. In VHDF it would be an 8. Much more intuitive. The navhda leadership at the time continually dismissed the notion because of data validity concerns. They felt all the data going back to the 70’s would become invalidated.

2. NAVHDA lacked a true breeders test and was beginning to emphasize the invitational. The old school judges and breeders, who were hunters and not Dog Sport types, felt the ability subjects were more important than the trained subjects and too many ability issues were masked by the time a dog was trained for Utility. The also felt the NA test was not enough of an evaluation to make breeding decisions on individual dogs. In response, the Leadership at that time came up with the UPT test which was largely designed by Jack Lulack and Bob West. The UPT failed to gain popularity though because it was simply a half-baked UT test that did not put greater emphasis on the ability subjects which was what the breeders wanted. For example if you train a dog to be steady to shot, you are almost at steady to kill so why not just finish it. Again the emphasis was on trained ability.
These things were talked about often and for many years. Most folks were afraid to try anything new though because just like the Data excuse for not changing the scoring system, they too had much invested in their test records. Additionally navhda had and does have extensive infrastructure and giving that up to build something new was just too hard, so most stayed in their comfort zone.
Below are the minutes to the first full meeting of VHDF which was still very much an organizational meeting. Maybe it will shed some light on the topic.


Versatile Hunting Dog Federation Annual Meeting, 01/26-27-2008, Reno, NV

Blanche and Chuck Johnson handed out books, “Field Guide to Dog First Aid,” to all participants.

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM by Joe Schmutz. He welcomed everyone and introduced himself and talked about Bodo’s condition. Andy Hewett also gave an update on Bodo’s condition. Everyone in attendance introduced themselves. (Attendance list attached)

Joe said today’s meeting is intended to pass on the purpose of VHDF. Tomorrow will be the opportunity for members of breed clubs to give their input.

Joe talked about “Why VHDF” – There were 9 points addressed. He talked about Sponsorships and some of the pitfalls. We have to be careful.


Chuck suggested putting Joe’s slides with an in-depth explanation on the website.

Joe then explained the 12 point scoring system.

The next point was: “How do we make VHDF work?”
(CHECK TAPE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.)
We need to conduct periodic reality checks.
Breed clubs are what matter.

Joe then talked about VHDF and the future?

Andy reiterated that all of Joe’s presentation should be put on the website.

Chuck talked about web activity. He reminded everyone – he needs photos.

There was a discussion on publishing articles and approaching breed clubs.

Website links. Chuck talked about the possibility of getting more exposure in other hunting publications. Etta asked about “Outdoor News”. Jeff talked about Bird Dog and Retriever News. Del Peterson – German Longhair – says their breed club lists VHDF prominently that they are going with VHDF.

Jeff gave the Treasurer’s report and talked about the status of incorporation and getting 501c3 status. Jeff is trying to do this in the State of Idaho. Gary Whitman is helping him with this process pro bono. Delaware is commonly used for incorporations and could be looked at as a state of incorporation. Several other states were also mentioned. It was acknowledged that Johnny Shulkey’s initial efforts to do this [when NAVHDA was started] set precedence for all ensuing organizations.

Insurance: Chuck has looked into several different carriers. Jeff had asked Chuck to look into different options because Chuck used to have an insurance business. Chuck discussed various contract terms offered by Sportman’s Insurance, a company that commonly offers coverage for sporting dog venues. Their basic policy covers bodily injury and property damage (including dogs). The Minimum premium is $750.00. He pointed out that, an organization [i.e. member] cannot profit by suing yourself. Members could actually sue the Federation, but the insurance would not pay them if something happened. He then talked about Directors and Officers liability. That minimum policy is also $750. Having a release form for participants is recommended by insurance carriers. (Could this be incorporated into the entry form?). Additional accidental death coverage is about $300.00. A separate rider [certificate] per event can be issued for additional fee that will cover hosting clubs. It is $50.00 per event. Chuck said sometimes homeowner policies might also cover incidents and suggested that people read their policy. Joe recommended that a subcommittee should look into insurance further. Chuck Johnson, Jeff Funke, Barry Wild and Byron Pugh volunteered. (It was recommended that we get an attorney involved if we can.) Chuck emphasized that the VHDF needs to be incorporated so as to provide that individual liability protection for the Officers and Directors.

Last thing under the treasurer’s report was, our revenue sources are memberships, entry fees, and possibly sponsorships. Etta talked about breed club sponsorships. Etta emphasized that the breed clubs (who benefit from the information) should “sponsor” the venue. Barry Wild also suggested contacting Sportsman’s Warehouse, Gundog Supply, and talked about other ways of raising additional revenue. When we get our non-profit status we could be eligible for grants as well. Kathy Wild offered to look into those opportunities. We do need to avoid exclusivity contracts with sponsors though. We want to be able to take advantage of as many as we can.

Lynda talked about memberships, forms and certificates for supporting and founding members. As a result of numerous discussions on other topics, some of the forms will have to be revised.

Jeff talked about the test rules. Discussion of the water testing was held. Jeff indicated that if a dog is tested in HAE and does not have an opportunity to do water due to the time of year – they could pick up their breed club water requirement at a later test. It was pointed out that in the database [test reports] dogs that were not tested in water need to be indicated NOT TESTED not 0 which implies that the dog failed. Etta asked about blood tracking, if it would be offered [it already is] and Jeff said judges will have to be certified to judge blood tracking. Also there should be an additional charge and advance notice required so the testing club can be prepared. The blood and carcass must be supplied by the handler just like fur if they want to use it.

Discussion continued on the water test that IF a dog was not able to be tested, what the different scenarios might be.

We could allow individuals to run the water test if water was not available at the time they tested but they would have to pay the full entry fee. At that point it would be their option if they wanted to re-run the whole test or just the water portion. However, this does not apply if they ELECTED not to run the water test, but it was available. (This is so we can avoid people trying to maximize their dog’s score by testing the water under more favorable conditions.) This only applies if there was no water available for the original test as a whole, (i.e. too early in the year – everything was frozen).

Joe asked about whether or not we could include a % [percentage of total possible score] field of the factors tested. It was decided that if a breed club needs a % factor – let them take the scores and extract that from the test results themselves (they can do the math). Most people are satisfied with the raw score.

Then Joe asked if, on the test report form we could set the water score column to the side so that if water is NOT tested, the scores are totaled separately. The overall total score (with or without water) will be what is reflected on the certificate though.

Judge’s books – Chuck can print the judge’s books if he has advance notice. Whoever is the testing coordinator will then send out sufficient books for the test.

We need to write a set of judging guidelines. Clem “CJ” Walton is going to help with that. Breed clubs are invited to participate in the development of the guidelines. Kristin Boren will represent PCNA. (This will be the Judge’s manual) Chuck mentioned that he frequently gets questions about the quality of our judges. The consensus is that what sets VHDF apart from other venues is the quality of our judges. Our judges must be hunters and have the ability to read dogs (as well as have trained dogs). Jeff said our judges must be hunters, trainers, and breeders. The “senior” judge is only the person who handles the paperwork that day. (Should we call them the “Lead” judge instead?) It was decided not to give any written designation. Whoever assigns the judges to the test will just ask that one of them takes responsibility for the paperwork. We need to take out the word “senior” in all references. Our judges will also have to take a test. IF someone wants to be a judge – let them submit a resume, as well as a write-up stating why they want to be a VHDF judge. This should include what their qualifications are. It was asked if we going to have judge’s seminars? The answer is “Yes”.

Jeff told the breed clubs, “If you have qualified individuals in your club that you want to become a VHDF judge, they need to send in their information. Now is good time for them to get in.”

There was discussion about gunners at the tests and liability. Guidelines need to be written for gunners. The consideration of the handler being the gunner didn’t work in other venues. The Testing Committee will develop criteria for being gunners. Break open guns should also be required. We also need to have a minimum age requirement.

Joe talked about having an attorney review our entire program.

Tom Brown talked about the overlap between JGV and VHDF. Jeff said he had -approached JGV-USA about establishing a separate system where we could run non FCI registered dogs but they were not receptive.

In summary if we don’t have breed clubs involved we are not meeting our purpose.

Dennis Carlson: Test Data. The database is made up of 12 different tables, but they relate to each other. (It is a relational database.) The dog’s table has everything that is on the entry form. Then each test has its own table that has everything from the judging cards. He also has a “Breeds” table and “Registry” tables. He extracts the information from the database. He can send the test organizer a spreadsheet that they can complete with all the dog info from the entry form and all the test scores from all the different tests. They will then return that information to him electronically. That way he won’t have to enter the information manually himself. He also needs the paper copies so that he can verify the information. He will send the paperwork back to the Test Organizer. [It was suggested however that he needs to keep all the documents as those are VHDF records.] It was asked if it is possible to get the fill-in forms to talk BACK to the excel spreadsheet. If we put the whole database on the website, it should be searchable only. If you are a member you could have access. Or we need to determine if we charge per page for requests for individual reports.

All Test Entry forms should include a copy of the dog’s registration papers. There was discussion whether we should take the parent’s test data off of the entry form. Some people either don’t know the information or don’t want to fill it out. It was decided to leave it as is and if people chose not to complete it – they don’t have to. Joe said the tattoo should be checked by the VHDF judges. There was a major discussion on the mechanics of HOW to verify the tattoo. It was also pointed out the in the US – only imported dogs have a tattoo.

Jeff asked that, under Conformation that we go to “exception” notations. Just note exceptions not note “normal” on each element, i.e. teeth, bite etc. However, Joe suggested that Temperament deviations should be noted. He would like to see more “comments” on temperament than just “normal.” He wants a “phrase” evaluation on each dog – not just “normal.” It was asked if we can just have a check box (the box being checked indicates that the factor was examined and deemed “normal”) with a comment field where comments could be noted if applicable. If we put a check box to verify that each item was checked we can be sure it was done and not overlooked. If there is just a check and no comment it is presumed normal.

Etta – said she would like to see having a hunting license a requirement to run a dog in the test. She said we need to educate the public. (Etta also pointed out that the Test entry form does not include blood tracking as a field.)

Jeff – Testing
Test fees are set at: $100 HAE; $120 AHAE; $140 PE + $25 extra for blood tracking tests. Canada could be slightly higher. If the blood track is being tested, the handler has to bring their own blood and reward [carcass]. VHDF will bring the judges. There will be an assessment to the hosting organization by VHDF to help cover the judges cost. Should the assessment will be per test or per dog? Per test motivates the host to fill the test. It was decided that there will be one set fee per test vs per day. Those entry fees make it just about a break even. We need a standardized fee as opposed to letting each host set their own. The Federation takes a percentage of the entry fees to pay for the judges. Insurance is going to have to be provided by the host OR the VHDF will carry the insurance and they will provide a certificate of insurance naming the host for a minimal fee. The insurance committee needs to look into the particulars of whether the VHDF can be a host and whether any “host” must be required to carry the rider.

To run a dog you have to be a member. We need to put the “release of liability” on the membership form. (That will have to be signed each year.) Insurance companies recommend we have a release. It was not resolved how family members (who are NOT members of VHDF) and/or guests would be handled.

Clem recommended if a judge wants to test one day and run a dog the next, that they do not get reimbursed anything. There was additional discussion whether we would only reimburse them a percentage of their costs. This is intended to preclude judges from getting a “free ride” to pay their way to tests when they want to test their own dog.

Will we have a requirement that one judge must be out of area? (Not necessarily, but since the judges will be assigned by the Testing Committee we should be able to assure that hosts do not request the same judges all the time.)

Do we need to have protest procedures? For example: NAVHDA has no protest procedures; VDD does but it is very specific, you can only protest if a rule was broken, plus you have to pay a processing fee. Every effort should be made to deal with any issues on site by the judges. If it can’t be resolved there then it would have to be brought to the board. Protocol levels could be spelled out – Jeff will look into it.

Testing procedures need to be defined in detail; all the responsibilities need to be addressed. John and Dawn volunteered to serve on the “Testing” Committee. Jeff read their duties from the bylaws. They will write guidelines for how to hold a test; they will schedule the tests and assign judges. This will all be done in collaboration with the EC and a committee. They will provide a checklist of requirements to hold a test, positions, and duties.

How many dogs do you have to have to make a valid test?

Andy Hewett: Originally wasn’t going to be here as a representative of PCNA, he was just coming as an individual. PCNA thinks VHDF is on the right track. They are not in a good position to be a testing organization. His challenge is, some members believe nothing is as good as PCNA’s tests. We say we have flexibility in our testing for breed clubs. We all want the same things. He intends to take back feedback from this meeting – VHDF’s willingness to be flexible. Joe is going to the PCNA test in March to make a presentation about the VHDF. Again, Andy thinks we’re on the right track and will try to encourage PCNA to get on board. How about holding a combination test? Share judges? It was suggested that PCNA bring dogs and try it or hold a VHDF test in their area. PCNA members are encouraged to go to the Seattle test in May?

Jeff – dogs that run in the PE and master all the elements in one day are “something to see.” Barry – when you then take that dog out hunting – you can see the difference. The PE adds the North American component of backing to the JGHV tests. Why should versatile dogs be exempt? From a breeding standpoint the difference in the multipliers reflects the inherent qualities of the dogs.

Website: Chuck Johnson. Brad Lockhart gets the credit for the new format. One of the things just added was how to submit information. He would like to add a brief description of each versatile breed w/ photos. The website is only as good as the information provided. If you want a member’s only section, it’s easy to do. We have to tell him what we want them to see. If we want certain information restricted we need to tell him. Judges and members information needs to be protected. He suggested we get an off-site backup for all federation data including the Website, database of test records, membership data. He would like the authority to look into what it would cost. Jeff recommended a system he uses which appears to be less expensive.

In addition to the website Chuck is going to send out promos to magazines. If someone is willing to submit information to “blogs” they are encouraged to do so. Report back growth. Etta asked “Do we need to get permission to put a link on our personal websites?” Permission not really necessary – but it would be nice to know who is putting out links. One other thing they can do on our website is start a store to sell books giving 40% of the sales to the organization. If a club wants to buy books and sell books at events they get a 50% discount but the club pays the shipping. The First aid book is $15; the bird identification book is $19.95. His dog training book is $24.95. When he reprints the training book he will add VHDF to the subject and put in a membership application to VHDF in every book he sells.

There was more talk about a members only section. Personal information must be protected. Chuck needs to take personal information out of previous newsletters.

Newsletter: Clem - Not much to say. He views a newsletter as a recruitment tool – it should be written for members only. What do you want to see in it; test results data; a synopsis of the tests? It can be viewed as an electronic version of a magazine. Are we going to mail it to members or email it? Should we add to membership application form how they want to receive it? “Do you want the newsletter electronically or hard copy?” It was decided it should be in Pdf format. There was discussion on whether we should do articles on ethics of breeding. Is the newsletter for members only or will it be put on the website. Some people think that it should be for dues paying members only. Some think it should be on the website to entice people to join. Some articles could be extracted for public release. Are people joining VHDF to get a newsletter? Put out the newsletter to members FIRST and delay to put on website? When new newsletter comes out, put the previous one online. Should the board review the newsletter before it is published? Clem said he usually sends submitted articles out to be reviewed? We have to be careful that what we publish is accurate.

Should we have a “Ask the judges column.” Vet articles. Frequently asked questions? Questions are currently going to Jeff, if he doesn’t know the answer he sends it to Joe. Take off (of breed clubs) from the name and leave it as VHDF. (As opposed to . . . .and enthusiasts. If you say VHDF (of breed clubs and enthusiasts – it gets too long).

Under questions:
If someone has a question, who should respond?

Herman Hassman introduced himself. He was/is the President of the NADKC. He had heard the Federation meeting was being held in Reno so he came just to see what it was all about. He asked pointed questions about why we feel we need the VHDF when there are JGHV organizations already in place that hold these kinds of tests. Jeff explained that works for imported dogs with FCI papers, but not for domestically bred dogs that don’t. There was detailed discussion on some specifics of the JGHV test requirements that we feel are not conducive to the North American hunting scene, i.e. emphasis on forest work etc.

Hermann offered information regarding the recent changes to the FCI/CKC agreement whereby dogs registered with CKC will carry an endorsement by the FCI and are eligible to participate in FCI sanctioned events. He said he would forward that document to Lynda and she can pass it on to the others.

The meeting was then adjourned.
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Re: How did VHDF come to be !

Postby blue04 » Tue May 30, 2017 2:52 pm

3DK wrote: The 4 point scoring system in navhda does a good job at identifying the below average performers, confirming the abilities of average performers, but does very little to identify the truly above average performers.


I'm not sure I'd state the strengths of the 4 point system in such concrete terms, but I generally think you're right. HOWEVER - I'm 100% in favor of a more granular system. I also think there can be quite a lot of inconsistency in how tests are setup and run. This is not just true of NAVHDA, but virtually every other testing system I suspect.

This is why you can't make breeding decisions based on test scores. You need to see the dogs work in person.
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Re: How did VHDF come to be !

Postby 3DK » Tue May 30, 2017 8:36 pm

blue04 wrote:
3DK wrote: The 4 point scoring system in navhda does a good job at identifying the below average performers, confirming the abilities of average performers, but does very little to identify the truly above average performers.


I'm not sure I'd state the strengths of the 4 point system in such concrete terms, but I generally think you're right. HOWEVER - I'm 100% in favor of a more granular system. I also think there can be quite a lot of inconsistency in how tests are setup and run. This is not just true of NAVHDA, but virtually every other testing system I suspect.

This is why you can't make breeding decisions based on test scores. You need to see the dogs work in person.


Blue you are exactly right on both points. What I said was a summary of the thought processes that were occurring at that time and is presented as such. It is not presented as a statement of fact, or gospel, or even necessarily my personal opinion. It is not possible to summarize the collective values of all that were involved, but those were the main points and the reasoning that I recall being discussed most often.

And absolutely please never make breeding decisions based on test scores alone. Those events are a baseline that are useful at putting folks on the same page and using similar language, but I certainly could not make a breeding decision sight unseen on test scores that attempt to quantifying hunting abilities by a score from 0 to 4. I would hunt a dog a season or two before making a decision on breeding. However, having said that, a dog that earns all 11's and her offspring tend to score above all 10's is probably a genetically valuable contributor.
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http://www.vhdf.org
http://www.snakeavoidance.org/
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Re: How did VHDF come to be !

Postby blue04 » Tue May 30, 2017 9:22 pm

Good summary 3DK.

The thing that baffles me is that lots of people make decisions about studs based purely on test scores. A stud with excellent scores is more likely to get to breed than a dog with just good scores, regardless of whether the bitch's owner has ever seen the excellent scoring dog in person or not. There are plenty of dogs that have good scores (not excellent) that probably are better breeding candidates (based on watching them actually hunt, temperament, etc.) than a fair number of the "excellent" scoring dogs. Likewise, one really bad day at a single test can more or less exclude a dog from being chosen as a stud by lots of folks.
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