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Spaniel trail site conditions question


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4 hours ago, Pat Berry said:

I hunt the bejeezus out of my dogs and I feel pretty confident it help them develop into better trial dogs.

Thanks for the comment. And I would hope that hunting helps develop better trial dogs and vice versa.

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21 hours ago, stephen brown said:

Glad you piped in. What you said is what I've seen at the few ESS trials I've walked. Would you put dog and handler is position for blind for difficult retrieves or all? I'm guessing a dog missing a routine mark the handler would get a 'thank you' and pick up the dog.  I'm thinking of a retrieve where dog does from relatively low cover to high cover and the dog hangs up and won't go into high, or dog refuses to cross some natural barrier like a creek.

First off I am talking Cockers, I do not judge Springers. The trials are mostly the same but there are some cultural/traditional differences between the two groups in regards to cover types, pattern, and handling during a retrieve.

I do not like to leave unrecovered game in the field, it is a pet peeve of mine so if a dog misses a mark I will move the handler up and pick the bird. I do not spend a ton of time on this as it isn’t fair to the other dogs waiting to run or on an honor so there are times we go right to the bird. I expect a finished dog to be able to handle so cover breaks and the like should not be an issue. A good mark and quick retrieve is always best but a dog and handler that can get out of a tricky situation quickly with good handling is also something I appreciate.   In your example as soon as it was clear that the dog was not going to make the fall I would ask for  the dog to be handled to the bird and put the handler in whatever position necessary to get that done quickly. There are people that know their dogs don’t handle and will let them tour the field in hopes they come up with the bird. I generally do not allow this, as it takes too much time and quite often results in a dog clearing birds off the course.  This is different than a dog dealing with a difficult mark by taking bigger bites down wind and intelligently working it out.

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42 minutes ago, 123 said:

There are people that know their dogs don’t handle and will let them tour the field in hopes they come up with the bird. I generally do not allow this, as it takes too much time and quite often results in a dog clearing birds off the course.

 

I'm really curious how you would manage this as a judge. Would you make the observation to the handler that the dog clearly doesn't handle well? Or just take a path with less resistance by not saying anything but pulling the plug more quickly on time and effort? Coincidentally, just this morning I was talking to a good friend (experienced fellow trialer) about the fact that most trial springers aren't trained to handle very well at all. Sometimes it's really hard to watch. (By saying this I'm sure I just jinxed myself.....)

 

Regarding the difference in cover types between cockers and springers, I personally MUCH prefer some of the cocker courses I've seen. To be blunt, I think springer trialers can be pretty wimpy about bushes, trees, and, well, actual cover.

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stephen brown
18 minutes ago, Pat Berry said:

Regarding the difference in cover types between cockers and springers, I personally MUCH prefer some of the cocker courses I've seen. To be blunt, I think springer trialers can be pretty wimpy about bushes, trees, and, well, actual cover.

I walked a trial that was hosted at the Austerlitz Club, NY. They ran series in the woods and grass fields. Remember seeing the bird planters put birds in wood piles, what brush there was and hollows in base of trees

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2 hours ago, Pat Berry said:

 

I'm really curious how you would manage this as a judge. Would you make the observation to the handler that the dog clearly doesn't handle well? Or just take a path with less resistance by not saying anything but pulling the plug more quickly on time and effort? Coincidentally, just this morning I was talking to a good friend (experienced fellow trialer) about the fact that most trial springers aren't trained to handle very well at all. Sometimes it's really hard to watch. (By saying this I'm sure I just jinxed myself.....)

 

Regarding the difference in cover types between cockers and springers, I personally MUCH prefer some of the cocker courses I've seen. To be blunt, I think springer trialers can be pretty wimpy about bushes, trees, and, well, actual cover.

 

I just tell them that I don't want the dog down there and to please get them back to the fall, then I pull the plug pretty quickly if it doesn't happen. It seems like some trial people both cocker and springer just figure that if they have to handle they are out so why bother........ but yes I think it is more common with springers. 

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2 hours ago, Pat Berry said:

 

I'm really curious how you would manage this as a judge. Would you make the observation to the handler that the dog clearly doesn't handle well? Or just take a path with less resistance by not saying anything but pulling the plug more quickly on time and effort? Coincidentally, just this morning I was talking to a good friend (experienced fellow trialer) about the fact that most trial springers aren't trained to handle very well at all. Sometimes it's really hard to watch. (By saying this I'm sure I just jinxed myself.....)

 

Regarding the difference in cover types between cockers and springers, I personally MUCH prefer some of the cocker courses I've seen. To be blunt, I think springer trialers can be pretty wimpy about bushes, trees, and, well, actual cover.

Reminds me of a Cocker trial held on my property 6 yrs ago. I was the down wind gun, the dog on the upwind side of the course produced a bird that flew down wind. The upwind gun had no shot he passed the bird to the center gun who missed. I stoned the hen directly out in front of me 40 yrds directly in front of me along a tree line. The bird lay dead on the ground on the cart path. In plain view. For that dog probable about an 80 yard retrieve The handler sent the dog the came up short about 30 yards. The handler decided to handle, what transpire look more like a scene from Disney's movie Fantasia. The first two "Back" commands prove to be unproductive. Then some real chaotic behavior ensued. hand waving and jumping around much like the Candle Stick and Mop from Disney classic So on the third attempt the Handler let it all hang out and gave the dog a 3rd command "I said Back I mean way back". At the top of his lungs. It prove to just as useless as his 1st two Back commands after what seemed like an eternity the handler picked his dog up. We were changing dogs so I went out and picked the bird up and gave it to a member of the gallery. The whole sequence of events was very hard watch.

Spanielers would do themselves some good and go and spend a day at an AA Retriever trial and watch creditable handlers on how to properly communicate with their dogs on Blinds.

 

Hal

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On 12/3/2020 at 3:31 PM, Hal Standish said:

Reminds me of a Cocker trial held on my property 6 yrs ago. I was the down wind gun, the dog on the upwind side of the course produced a bird that flew down wind. The upwind gun had no shot he passed the bird to the center gun who missed. I stoned the hen directly out in front of me 40 yrds directly in front of me along a tree line. The bird lay dead on the ground on the cart path. In plain view. For that dog probable about an 80 yard retrieve The handler sent the dog the came up short about 30 yards. The handler decided to handle, what transpire look more like a scene from Disney's movie Fantasia. The first two "Back" commands prove to be unproductive. Then some real chaotic behavior ensued. hand waving and jumping around much like the Candle Stick and Mop from Disney classic So on the third attempt the Handler let it all hang out and gave the dog a 3rd command "I said Back I mean way back". At the top of his lungs. It prove to just as useless as his 1st two Back commands after what seemed like an eternity the handler picked his dog up. We were changing dogs so I went out and picked the bird up and gave it to a member of the gallery. The whole sequence of events was very hard watch.

Spanielers would do themselves some good and go and spend a day at an AA Retriever trial and watch creditable handlers on how to properly communicate with their dogs on Blinds.

 

Hal

 

This past weekend, we really had the wheels come off in training, so might as well tell a story on myself. Dog puts up a bird close in front of my wife, it gives me about a 40yd. quartering away shot, which I poorly hit with my second at 50 or so. The bird sets its wings and sails into the far corner of the field, where it hits a tree and drops into the briars, giving a 125-130yd retrieve across pretty good cover and a ditch. I look back to send the dog, and she's staring right at my wife for some reason. (!?) I imagine the dog is asking with her eyes, "Why didn't you shoot?" "You need longer falls," I picture my wife thinking as she avoids eye contact with the dog.

"Oh well, this is going to be an utter disaster," I say to myself, but send the dog when she ultimately looks in the right direction. She only makes it 80-odd yds. and starts hunting. I send her over on the run, but we're still well away from the fall. I try to stop her for another cast, but she either ignores the whistle or can't hear due to wind direction. I start hollering and she decides to come in and sit about halfway out. I reposition her to where she should have hupped and try again. She is convinced the bird is in the field, but eventually handles to area of fall, in part because I advance. No scent apparently, or the bird has run off, or something. Advance even more, ultimately stop her and cast her right into it, but she gets caught in the briars and struggles mightily getting out to deliver the bird, which still has some spirit.

We have work to do. 

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On 12/2/2020 at 11:02 AM, fishvik said:

Thanks for all the good responses. Here's the basis for the questions. I have hunted with a spaniel trialer on a WMA with thick cover (willows, Russian olive, cattails and bullrush) along with medium length rush. The area is stocked with pheasants and he runs some very nice looking Springers though not any big males. They seem hesitant to hit the thick stuff where a lot of the birds go when they are released. In addition, one morning we had a real thick hoar frost cover the ground and the dogs had a real hard time locating birds. Thus my questions about spaniel trials and thick cover and foot scent versus air scent. This guys spaniels are great looking Springers and well trained so it kind of surprised me they had such a hard time finding birds in those conditions. And please all you spaniel and particularly Springer folks, this is not a slam on your dogs, I've hunted with some great Springers. I was just curious if the training for trials had anything to do with it. Thanks again.

 

Having not been there with you guys and only receiving anecdotal description of the conditions. "real thick hoar frost cover", _

Frost is a real scent killer, Dogs may have struggled  with frosty conditions. Proper training whether for trials or hunting would not effect they way dogs of any breed would use their noses. If it were so then folks might be able to teach a dog to hold their breath, not gonna happen!

 

Hal

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On 12/2/2020 at 10:02 AM, fishvik said:

Thanks for all the good responses. Here's the basis for the questions. I have hunted with a spaniel trialer on a WMA with thick cover (willows, Russian olive, cattails and bullrush) along with medium length rush. The area is stocked with pheasants and he runs some very nice looking Springers though not any big males. They seem hesitant to hit the thick stuff where a lot of the birds go when they are released. In addition, one morning we had a real thick hoar frost cover the ground and the dogs had a real hard time locating birds. Thus my questions about spaniel trials and thick cover and foot scent versus air scent. This guys spaniels are great looking Springers and well trained so it kind of surprised me they had such a hard time finding birds in those conditions. And please all you spaniel and particularly Springer folks, this is not a slam on your dogs, I've hunted with some great Springers. I was just curious if the training for trials had anything to do with it. Thanks again.

 

1)   Were there any other dogs hunting and how was their bird finding? 

 

2)  If the dogs have never been introduced to this cover, then they have no idea why they should enter that nastiness. 

 

3) In my experience, Whatever way the scent is presented to them, they will use it to find that bird .... with a sense of urgency!!  

 

4) In the developing of a nice dog, there needs to be practical "in the field" hunting experience.  A dog that has never found birds where wild birds ( or any bird trying to survive ) will go to hide, then it doesn't know where to look.   Any dog with its dog food bill will go into cover if it smells a bird or rabbit or any animal (ie skunk, porcupine, etc) 

 

5)  so it isn't a field trial vs hunting dog thing, its a handler / trainer thing.    Most people don't want to or spend the extra time to train a dog in hunting situations and cover.   After hunting season is a great time to take young dogs for walks in hunting cover.   Take some pigeons along for retrieves, etc, but the dog needs to learn how to search cover where game is.      However, most folks stop going when season closes because they can't shoot.     

 

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On 12/10/2020 at 9:00 AM, SpringerDude said:

 

1)   Were there any other dogs hunting and how was their bird finding? 

 

2)  If the dogs have never been introduced to this cover, then they have no idea why they should enter that nastiness. 

 

3) In my experience, Whatever way the scent is presented to them, they will use it to find that bird .... with a sense of urgency!!  

 

4) In the developing of a nice dog, there needs to be practical "in the field" hunting experience.  A dog that has never found birds where wild birds ( or any bird trying to survive ) will go to hide, then it doesn't know where to look.   Any dog with its dog food bill will go into cover if it smells a bird or rabbit or any animal (ie skunk, porcupine, etc) 

 

5)  so it isn't a field trial vs hunting dog thing, its a handler / trainer thing.    Most people don't want to or spend the extra time to train a dog in hunting situations and cover.   After hunting season is a great time to take young dogs for walks in hunting cover.   Take some pigeons along for retrieves, etc, but the dog needs to learn how to search cover where game is.      However, most folks stop going when season closes because they can't shoot.     

 

Actually a GWP and GWP/Lab were worked through the same area of thick bullrush and cattails about an hour and a half later. 4 roosters were found and shot. One rooster was crippled and it took about 20 min. for the crossbreed to find it in the thick bullrushes.The hoarfrost was still heavy at the time. I think the apprehension of the spaniels to work the thick nasty stuff had more to do with it than the scenting.

 

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stephen brown

I've been on both sides of that story and believe Sh** happens. I don't trail my dogs and they are all steady.  They've made some amazing marks and retrieves hunting bulrush and cattails, but then again they've on have had a hell of a time finding the fall.  This year I hunted Massachusetts with a young dog, the state stocks liberally and is good place to introduce a dog to pheasants and cover.  Hunting one site I don't think we flushed a bird in a grass field. All birds were found in the woods/brush and the dog was mostly working out of sight working between a shooter on the edge and another  in the thick.  Dog didn't have many clear views of the shot and the hardest part was getting the dog out of thick cover and into the area of the fall.  Discovered the dog has a pretty good nose. Also discovered the dog thought all falls where in the heavy cover it was working and was hesitant to hunt dead in the easy stuff.  On of the problems we experienced was getting me and dog out of the thick stuff to find the fall my partner shot in the field. So if the ESS handlers were keeping their dogs out of the thick stuff where the birds where, I can understand your question.

 

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