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    1. #1
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      Brooks and I went to spectate at our first hunt test

      One of the ladies I train with recommended we go check out a hunt test. There was a JR/SR/MH test where I've been boarding the dogs this weekend. Brooks and I went up there today to check things out.

      We watched about 10 Junior dogs run water marks, and realistically, I thought it was pretty ugly. Not one of these dogs went straight to either mark. Several ran around the bank to the mark and back, never entering the water. 2 dogs NQ'd as they never found the first mark. I honestly thought that even Junior dogs would be capable of the basic retrieves they were faced with.

      When the JR dogs broke for lunch we headed over to watch the SR dogs. A GREAT improvement!!! You could tell these were seasoned, experienced dogs. They were straight to the marks, and got the blinds with minimal handling. Very fun to watch!

      Brooks did a good job. He watched the marks, and was steady to shot. He was quiet while watching the other dogs work, which really made me happy. The biggest take away is I learned a lot of what is needed for a dog to be able to do at the JR level.

      Brooks turn 6 months old today, and real training begins!!!!

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    3. #2
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      Sounds like it was very informative. Good job Brooks being patient.
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    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      One of the ladies I train with recommended we go check out a hunt test. There was a JR/SR/MH test where I've been boarding the dogs this weekend. Brooks and I went up there today to check things out.

      We watched about 10 Junior dogs run water marks, and realistically, I thought it was pretty ugly. Not one of these dogs went straight to either mark. Several ran around the bank to the mark and back, never entering the water. 2 dogs NQ'd as they never found the first mark. I honestly thought that even Junior dogs would be capable of the basic retrieves they were faced with.

      When the JR dogs broke for lunch we headed over to watch the SR dogs. A GREAT improvement!!! You could tell these were seasoned, experienced dogs. They were straight to the marks, and got the blinds with minimal handling. Very fun to watch!

      Brooks did a good job. He watched the marks, and was steady to shot. He was quiet while watching the other dogs work, which really made me happy. The biggest take away is I learned a lot of what is needed for a dog to be able to do at the JR level.

      Brooks turn 6 months old today, and real training begins!!!!
      JH tests really vary depending on the site and judges. The ones I attended this summer with my own dog ranged from a very high success rate to very low success rate (like 30% or so). The one that TuMicks and I both attended was not the easiest with the line going through thick lily pads during the water test. On the other hand, some felt too easy. In the JH, the dogs just need to get the bird to the handler's hand. The reason I waited so long to run my dog in the JH is because I wanted him to do it right, not just get a pass. A personal preference. But yeah, I really figured out what I needed and what I wanted from my dog by volunteering at a JH test and watching all the dogs. Usually dogs don't start vocalizing and bolting at the line until they know what the gunshot means and have retrieved a real bird/live flyer.

    5. #4
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      Sometimes the JH tests are set up much harder than I think the dogs deserve to get.
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    6. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by JenC View Post
      Sometimes the JH tests are set up much harder than I think the dogs deserve to get.
      Since this is the only one I've been to I can't say if these were easy or hard.

      The first mark was to the left, maybe 40 yards, a short water entry swim about 10 yards, across a small flat island, back into water maybe 15 yards, back onto land less than 5 yards to the mark. Nothing blocked the dogs view of where the mark landed from the line. Most of the dogs ran up the island parallel to the mark until they were well past it, then entered the water and swam at a angle back to the mark. 2 of the dogs, a GSP and a Lab ran the bank to the mark and back. 2 dogs NQ'd on this one.

      The second mark was at most 30 yards to the right, requiring water entry, across the same island but far less distance on land, back into water for about a 10 yard swim. The bird was right on the edge of the opposite bank. Again the mark was fully visible from the line. About half the dogs marked this one pretty well, the ones who had issues came out of the water on the far side of the mark, and hunted on the land before they found the bird. A GSP ran around the bank to the mark and back.

      Many of the dogs dropped the bird at some point on the retrieve and sniffed around, several dropped them after exiting the water a shook off or just mucked about.

      Last summer when I was training with Bruce, he was doing retrieves similar to these without to much trouble. Due to my inexperience I can't say if the retrieves at this test were hard or easy, but they seemed like pretty straight forward marks to me.

    7. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      Since this is the only one I've been to I can't say if these were easy or hard.

      The first mark was to the left, maybe 40 yards, a short water entry swim about 10 yards, across a small flat island, back into water maybe 15 yards, back onto land less than 5 yards to the mark. Nothing blocked the dogs view of where the mark landed from the line. Most of the dogs ran up the island parallel to the mark until they were well past it, then entered the water and swam at a angle back to the mark. 2 of the dogs, a GSP and a Lab ran the bank to the mark and back. 2 dogs NQ'd on this one.

      The second mark was at most 30 yards to the right, requiring water entry, across the same island but far less distance on land, back into water for about a 10 yard swim. The bird was right on the edge of the opposite bank. Again the mark was fully visible from the line. About half the dogs marked this one pretty well, the ones who had issues came out of the water on the far side of the mark, and hunted on the land before they found the bird. A GSP ran around the bank to the mark and back.

      Many of the dogs dropped the bird at some point on the retrieve and sniffed around, several dropped them after exiting the water a shook off or just mucked about.

      Last summer when I was training with Bruce, he was doing retrieves similar to these without to much trouble. Due to my inexperience I can't say if the retrieves at this test were hard or easy, but they seemed like pretty straight forward marks to me.
      I think that an in and out is on the more difficult side for a junior dog. A lot of young dogs don't get to experience a variety of marks and they'll get to a JH and find a technical mark that they just don't know how to handle. I like hanging out with someone really experienced at these things so they can tell me what makes a particular mark difficult because it's often not easy to tell. And, finding a trainer who focuses on technical marks is key -- especially if he can explain to you what makes the mark you're about to do difficult (terrain, wind, cover, pressure, etc.). Half of the fun of going to these events is talking about the marks with a bunch of different people.

      A Junior can bank run, dump a bird (as long as it ends up in your hand eventually), all that stuff, and still pass. I call that a "dirty Q", and is not what I want or my goal, but sometimes it happens! But the next person is there for and thrilled about the Q no matter how they get it. Different strokes! The dropping to shake thing is very common and some dogs have a tough time figuring out that they *can* shake with something in their mouths (like mine) but when the dog brings the bird back, dumps it and starts to sniff, it's often a stress/pressure/avoidance issues.

    8. #7
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      I agree with Labradork a re-entry is something that a young dog needs to be taught. It is a taught along with decheating. The dog must learn get into the water, cross the island and get back into the water. The tendency is to either stay on land (bank run), miss the island hence the mark or get on the island and get lost. One observation I have made over the years is that the junior dogs see to get the crappy water. Small cheaty ponds. They should have the best so that inexperienced dogs and trainers don't build in bad habits at tests. A lot of handlers want to run before their dogs are really ready.

    9. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry581 View Post
      ...maybe 40 yards, a short water entry swim about 10 yards, across a small flat island, back into water maybe 15 yards, back onto land less than 5 yards to the mark. Nothing blocked the dogs view of where the mark landed from the line...
      This is exactly the scenario I had at a WC test with one of my youngsters a few years ago. Except there was heavy cover on both islands, and no one could see the fall in the grass/reeds. It was supposed to be an open water retrieve of under 50 yards, but the live shot flyer went rogue lol. No one said anything so I sent her, and as she took off the judge said no bird and was sorry he let me send her, and we could go again at the end of the roster.

      She went, water, land, water, land, and disappeared into the cover. Then she popped out of the brush of the second island with the bird in her mouth and made a straight line back, land, water, land, water, land back to me! Shocked the heck out of all of us. It was a tough mark with lots of opportunity to cheat the bank, or give up, and she took a while, but she hunted and found it.

      This is a difficult marking concept for a good Junior dog, and way out of line for a young dog and a WC. LOL

      Anyways, I can wait to see what you accomplish with Brooks, the birds are so much fun! Thank you for sharing, I wish I had more time. :-)

    10. #9
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      Barry,
      WARNING MATE - T'is an addicting journey ye and BROOKS are embarking on. Enjoy it all Lads! :-)

      Regards,
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    12. #10
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      We watched about 10 Junior dogs run water marks, and realistically, I thought it was pretty ugly. Not one of these dogs went straight to either mark. Several ran around the bank to the mark and back, never entering the water. 2 dogs NQ'd as they never found the first mark.I honestly thought that even Junior dogs would be capable of the basic retrieves they were faced with.

      I wasn't there but it seems these judges were very easy. A JR dog should go pretty straight to the mark. If it cheated water coming and going it would not pass my test. Vic

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