The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Tests

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The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby gwp4me2 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:45 pm

Back at work after our trip to Ohio. Here are some of my observations, impressions and excuses for not passing.
Reasons/excuses:
The road trip - 3000 miles and 5 days that the dog spent mostly in a kennel in the car before even arriving at the site.
The mid-west heat and humidity - There is just no way to duplicate that within 500 miles of where we live. Max was totally off his food, etc for the 5 days prior to the test.
The field - mowed strips through good cover. I handled the dog to keep him off the strips and hunting the fields not realizing that all the birds were planted right next to the strips so while I was trying to duplicate hunting the planters weren't.
The bracemate - While we worked on having the other dog not have proper manners we weren't prepared for the level of yelling, calling, whistle blowing and judges making us wait on point (on a bird sitting in the mowed strip right in front of the dog) trying to get a back opportunity.
Lack of birds - We were the last brace of the day and they ran out of birds. Only 8 were planted. I saw 3 wild flushes and I believe we had 2 finds each. That isn't much for an hour in the field. That also means that each bird accounts for 50% of the score so any hiccup on any bird drops you to a 2. Maybe the other fields were better.
Scoring - I really can't complain about the scoring. I can see where each number came from even if I could debate the 3 in search I could also see where the 3 on the blind could have been worse.

Bottom line is that when only 31 of 92 pass there were probably issues with the test and not just the dogs. The sour grapes come from where I believe one circumstance in the field trying to get a back cost us a pass. I know, a VC level dog should be able to perform under any pressure applied. We didn't.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GPBLITZ » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:18 pm

gwp4me2 wrote:Bottom line is that when only 31 of 92 pass there were probably issues with the test and not just the dogs.


I wasn't there, but see no sour grapes . I'm sure the mechcanics of the test were the same as in the past and the fields were the same as water double and blind the same or very similar. For some reason the dogs weren't handling what was put in front of them. Dogs that got a 2 or lower: Water :Steady at double, 1 double water mark, 12 blind, 7 Field : search, 1 backing , 21 steady , 12.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GWPtyler » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:12 am

Man, I really feel for you. The Invitational is tough, and that can't be overemphasized. Everything you listed are instances that can and do happen, and it's almost impossible to prepare for everything.

Hopefully you get the chance to try again! And maybe a bit closer to home?? Ohio is a haul for me, too. I'd much rather qualify and run in Iowa.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby gwp4me2 » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:47 pm

GWPtyler wrote:Man, I really feel for you. The Invitational is tough, and that can't be overemphasized. Everything you listed are instances that can and do happen, and it's almost impossible to prepare for everything.

Hopefully you get the chance to try again! And maybe a bit closer to home?? Ohio is a haul for me, too. I'd much rather qualify and run in Iowa.

There won't be a 'try again' for this dog even though he is still only 3. I was amazed at how many people I spoke to that said 'we are already qualified for next year'. I'm not a guy who is going to chase a title or score i.e. my 5mon pup got a 102 pz3 and that is where she will stay even though we have a ton of time to test again. Especially when the test is so far away and expensive. Duplicating the test is tough for us. I don't think anyone within 500 miles of us tested. I spoke to one trainer there and they had 25 handlers come to a mock invitational test. I really wish we would have had more/better bird contacts. We never got to work a single bird that wasn't sitting/standing in a mowed path or planted right before we walked in to try and get backing opportunities. Too bad that with 100's of acres of nice fields to plant in that they didn't use them more.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby Duckdon » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:20 pm

Curious Question?
In past Invitational tests what is the average expected pass / fail rate? Looks like about a 1/3ed got their VC. Is that about normal, asking those who have attended and followed a few over the years.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby Constructeur » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:02 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences. It's a shame to hear about folks yelling and being brash when braced up. It's not a simple AKC JH test after all. The poor/mediocre bird planting is something that most have seen since their first NA test though I recon.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GPBLITZ » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:39 am

I'm surprised your handling judge didn't get you away from the noisy handler.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GWPtyler » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:43 am

GPBLITZ wrote:I'm surprised your handling judge didn't get you away from the noisy handler.


My sentiments exactly. When I ran my brace in 2013, we soon discovered that the other handler and I had trained our dogs with the exact opposite whistle commands (why anyone would whistle stop a dog with multiple tweets is beyond me, but whatever). After the first brace-find-back opportunity, they separated us for the majority of the test before having us join up at the end for one more back opportunity.

But I'd heard NAVHDA, in an effort to increase the difficulty of the test, was forcing handlers to run together for the full 60 minutes. Can anyone verify that this is the case?
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GPBLITZ » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:12 am

yes they are trying to keep the dogs together the full 60 minutes. This is good IMO if one of the 2 dogs isn't a knot head.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby orhunter » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:27 am

Which brings up the question. How does a knot head make it to the invite?
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GPBLITZ » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:40 am

orhunter wrote:Which brings up the question. How does a knot head make it to the invite?


Well i'm thinking the day the hound ran the UT he was a good dog. The day Knot Head ran at the invite, well he's running on 3 legs with the 4th leg up in the air at you.... :D :lol:
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby Duckdon » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:40 pm

GPBLITZ wrote:
orhunter wrote:Which brings up the question. How does a knot head make it to the invite?


Well i'm thinking the day the hound ran the UT he was a good dog. The day Knot Head ran at the invite, well he's running on 3 legs with the 4th leg up in the air at you.... :D :lol:


Ha, Ha Ha. Yep, I try to remember they are just Dawgs..............
Sometimes I just have to scratch my head.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby gwp4me2 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:04 pm

The handler wasnt the dogs owner or trainer but stepped in for a friend who had personal reasons. He was trying to handle a very hard running dog that wasnt used to him. We ended up separate for the first 1/2 and my judge spent the second half trying to get us back together. The other dog didnt want to get where he could see mine for a back
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby Fun Dog » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:50 pm

I was fortunate to have an excellent bracemate. We found birds off the beaten path, we were in field A, but I was surprised that we stuck to the path while walking. Like you, I headed off into the field at one point before I realized everyone was sticking to the mowed portion. Have to admit it was easier walking there. We did split up on occasion, but not for long. I think each dog had about 7 finds and 5 backs. We also had some wild flushes and walking birds. We had the misfortune to do the blind in the fog which was beyond what we trained for and as you stated impossible to train for. It was heart rending to fail on something we would have excelled at had we tested but a half hour later. The heat was tough, but we handled it better than I thought we would by dunking Lily at every pool and pouring water down her throat at every opportunity. I thought the mortality rate was high for the test, but I also saw a lot of dogs that I didn't think we're invitation quality. Made me wonder if the ut should be a bit tougher rather than the invitational. Also a lot of handlers that could use some help in handling. We volunteered on Thursday and Saturday and that was an eye opener on dos and don'ts of handling. I learned a lot. I will probably make one more attempt. Lily gave me lots to be proud of. I enjoyed meeting lots of people and their dogs. And when it was all said and done I realized that Lily was a champion even if she didn't earn a VC before her name.
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Re: The good, bad, ugly, whines, sour grapes, excuses, etc

Postby GPBLITZ » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:47 am

Fun Dog wrote: I thought the mortality rate was high for the test, but I also saw a lot of dogs that I didn't think we're invitation quality. Made me wonder if the ut should be a bit tougher rather than the invitational. Also a lot of handlers that could use some help in handling.


IMO it's not the UT that needs to be made tougher. It's how folks train for the invit. One of my pet pevs is many will not brace a dog, work on backing until the dog is qualified for the invit. 20 plus dogs got a 2 or less on backing. Backing IMO is something you need start early. Bring out the inheraint ability early.
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