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    1. #1
      Real Retriever
      Alix B's Avatar
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      What are field trials exactly?

      I just adopted a 6 year old dog from Washington state. Her name is Hope. I know nothing about hunting, field trails or anything like that. I know she has a Junior Hunting title. I got her as a pet when my 15 year old Maxxie died. Is there some kind of training or fun stuff I can do with her so she can keep up on her previous training. I hate to see her lose all she learn. I am not a hunter, so is there something else we can do.

      -rocking-ms-hope-jpg

    2. #2
      Chief Pooper Scooper
      JenC's Avatar
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      In my layman terms, hunt tests are like jogging. Field trials are like marathons.

      Maybe you can finding a hunting group to train her for her Senior Hunter title.
      Jen & Tickle!
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    3. #3
      Best Friend Retriever
      LucyTudeOn4Feet's Avatar
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      You should check it out! I can't imagine anything more rewarding to do with a dog that already has a JH title. Go to youtube and search for retriever Junior Hunt Test, and Senior HT.
      You might find a training group in your locale to visit and observe, and possibly join.
      I think it is so awesome to watch a dog be sent on a line and watch the handler interact and cast the dog, and the excitement the dog has searching for the bird and bringing it back.
      You could also go watch a field trial and/or a hunt test and see for yourself. I wouldn't bring Hope, though, if you're going to observe.
      Go for it!

    4. #4
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      Talking

      Quote Originally Posted by Alix B View Post
      I just adopted a 6 year old dog from Washington state. Her name is Hope. I know nothing about hunting, field trails or anything like that. I know she has a Junior Hunting title. I got her as a pet when my 15 year old Maxxie died. Is there some kind of training or fun stuff I can do with her so she can keep up on her previous training. I hate to see her lose all she learn. I am not a hunter, so is there something else we can do.
      There are field sports for retrievers called Field Trials, and another called Hunt Tests. Other sports are also available, but do not directly relate to hunting skills. Your dog's JH came from the Hunt Test venue, and the requirements are the simplest of all. Many entry-level trainers & dogs begin there.

      It could be said that Field Trials are Hunt Tests on steroids...kind of. There are similarities, but the tests in trials are much harder, even at the beginner level (called "Derby", which is for dogs under 2 years old). They aren't the best productions, but there are video clips on You Tube showing both sports. They offer a glimpse, but not an accurate idea of the whole story.

      The primary difference between them, but surely not the only one, is that FT's are competitive and HT's are not. Dogs compete against each other in trials, and at HT's they only compete against a standard. There are no winners in HT's. In each of the four classes (called "Stakes") in trials there are awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place at each trial. For those places a dog is awarded championship points. If you're interested I can break that down for you. At HT's there are no placements or points. If your dog meets a minimum standard he gets a qualifying ribbon for the class he ran. Once he gets enough ribbons (scores) he is awarded a title. FT titles truly are exponentially more significant that HT titles, not only because the standards of work are so much higher, but because they have to be the best of the best to receive the title.

      This is poor video, and frankly, a poor job on a difficult triple. But it will give you a look at a typical FT test. There are usually 4 tests per trial.
      PARC AKC Field Trial Qualifying 5-10-14 - YouTube

      EvanG

    5. #5
      Puppy
      Buddy's Parents's Avatar
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      Alex I see you are from the sunny wet coast The trial season starts up very soon out west. Most people are blown away by what these dogs are capable of and what is required to finish let alone place in a field trial. The relationship and work required to be competitive in the f/t venue can only be understood by those that play the game.

      Without watching a trial it is tough to describe but even at the junior level your dog has to be pretty advanced to even think of finishing a trial. The dogs truly love the game and watching them strut off line when they know they smacked a tough test is something to behold.
      The dog / handler relationship is impossible to describe without seeing in person. The sheer amount of hours spent working together builds a very special bond. We are truly blessed out west with weather that allows pretty much year round training.
      If you get a chance to watch a trial or two you will get a chance to see some amazing dog work and lil secret most trialers are friendly folk
      There is no reason your new girl can't enjoy retriever games or even just the training. Bumpers and a field = happy retriever
      Last edited by Buddy's Parents; 02-27-2015 at 03:53 PM.

    6. #6
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      So Alex, is your question answered?

      EvanG

    7. #7
      Senior Dog
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      Evan... can you describe what was in the YouTube video you linked? Did the guns go off right to left, and did the dog pick them up outside-outside-in? Can you give us some idea of the distances? On the last bird because the camera zoomed back in, it looked almost like the dog had a big long hunt or began coming in with/out the bird. Maybe it was just a really long mark and the camera work made it look that way.

      It should be pointed out to readers that a shot flyer is like mainlining cocaine for a field-bred retriever. The dog was steady. It had a bit of a hunt (lots of scent from previously shot fliers no doubt) and yet the dog came back indicating to the handler that he remembered where the other birds were and was ready to go get them. And as an aside... the dog had to take a pause to relieve himself (excitement can do that to doggy bowels) and he held onto the bird.

      So anyway... I'd like to know a little more about the clip.

      Thanks.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by TuMicks View Post
      Evan... can you describe what was in the YouTube video you linked? Did the guns go off right to left, and did the dog pick them up outside-outside-in? Can you give us some idea of the distances? On the last bird because the camera zoomed back in, it looked almost like the dog had a big long hunt or began coming in with/out the bird. Maybe it was just a really long mark and the camera work made it look that way.
      This is what I view as a characteristic Qualifying triple; not tight at all, the distances are moderate, roughly 150 yards on the middle mark, looks like only 60-75 yards on the right, and about the same on the flyer (left). I would accept the hunt on the flyer, but how low the score would depend on the trend of the rest of the field. I'm sure you know that no trial is won on how any dog did on a flyer. Many are lost on flyers though. Poor mark on the middle bird. In fact I'm not sure the wind didn't save him. He secondary selected, which on this set up was outside/outside, middle. In most cases I think this job would keep him playing, and he could even end up in the silver. He'd have to get well on the remainder of the tests.

      EvanG
      Last edited by EvanG; 03-04-2015 at 08:30 AM.

    9. #9
      Puppy
      michael m's Avatar
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      As you are not a hunter, I would simply suggest that you continue to train the dog on retrieves with Dummies/Bumpers. This can be done during normal exercise sessions and can keep the dog mentally stimulated. You can "build upon" the dog's training by introducing
      new situations that include "blind Retrieves", "Hand Castings", and by tossing multiple bumpers...which you can then send the dog to the location you want the dog to retrieve from first.

      Field trials, hunt testing, etc, can be expensive and time consuming- with entry fees, travel and multi-day sessions involved. Training the dog for increased levels of performance during your exercise sessions can keep the dog stimulated and the dog doesn't recognize one type of training session goal from another, which is meant to be competitive in nature. In the dog's mind, it is being asked to perform a task or series of tasks by the trainer/Owner and will work just as hard for you whether you are doing so for competition or for fun.

      I hope that helps.
      Michael
      Michael M.Hidden Content

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by michael m View Post
      Field trials, hunt testing, etc, can be expensive and time consuming- with entry fees, travel and multi-day sessions involved....

      Michael
      And by the way, they're also fun as all get out! That's why people do it! They're challenging and rewarding, and you'll meet some of the nicest dog people ever when you go. Interestingly, some regular contestants are just there for the sport, and do not hunt. That part is also up to you. Have fun!

      EvanG

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