Journey to becoming a hunt test judge - Page 2 - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 06:50 PM
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Great thread Stacey! I enjoyed your description of your first judging assignment, it sounds like you got eased in.
I'm in a similar position, I've taken the seminar twice and apprenticed twice, but haven't gotten my first judging assignment under my belt yet.
I was asked to judge junior this year, but the test was 5 hours away and I wasn't into a 5 hour road trip for volunteer work in my old car.

In my seminars I don't remember being told how to set up a test in regards to making it easy then judging it hard or anything like that.
There was no cookie cutter advice, it was more encouragement to consider many factors - the grounds and land/water you have to work with, the terrain, cover, weather, wind, logistics (# of dogs, time limitations on grounds, where to put the line, where to put the gunners) I'm probably forgetting many.

Then there's some subjectivity of different judges, some are obedience stickers, some are very lenient, just such a range. If it were me I would study the rule book and try to make a "textbook" test (considering the "textbook" gives you some leeway - like the distance of the marks - if mowed lawn field then make it longer - ) then judge it fairly as possible by the criteria.

When I was apprenticing I fell in love with one dog I thought was very cute. It was one of those tubby slow labs <3 love <3 love <3 love
When we compared sheets at the end of the day, the 2 judges sheets were very similar and mine was very different.
They asked me "what dog were you looking at?!?"
I explained that I thought the dog was cute and like the dog's style. They said cute wasn't one of the criteria we were supposed to be judging on.
I said I was asking myself do I want to go hunting with this dog and the answer was YES! LOL


Dawn, Dee Dee (L), and Gladys (R)
and Boomer (avatar pic) with us in spirit always
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Dawn, That's funny! We have a lot of show labs up here. Some of them are so tubby! I even train with several of them.


I had a friend judge junior for the first time last year. He was peeved that the woman he judged with wanted to drop every dog that had to pee in the field. He had to argue with her that it wasn't in the rules to drop a dog for peeing. So it's funny I'm finding that judges don't like to judge with certain other judges. So judges seem to have personal lists of "I will never judge with Joey Bobby again". I've been helping the hunt test secretary for one of our hunt test weekends coming up. Boy we had a hard time finding 2 people that would judge together. It was like high school all over again.


I hope you get a judging assignment soon so that you can use your apprenticeship! I've got 3 assignments this summer. With only 6 junior tests, people will either be really sick of me or like me a lot. We'll see which it is!


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Last weekend I put on a mock hunt test - junior and senior. I invited a friend to help me. She's judged FT/HTs many times over the last 20+ years. I had put on a mock hunt test last year at the same location. So I was hoping that having some help would be fun. My friend was super familiar with the grounds. We had 5 senior dogs and 12 junior dogs were there. So we were able to run the marks twice, some of the junior dogs ran first as singles, then a second time as doubles. The blind we set up was difficult for all of the senior dogs. I learned a lot more about setting up tests and what to consider. When we went to the water, we found we had a lot of problems with the junior dogs. We had one mark in water, one mark was land-water-land. The water mark was about 70 yards. The land-water-land mark was 45 yards. We had quite a few junior dogs that wouldn't go in the water. I was pretty surprised how little people had trained for water. We were able to move the dogs to another point on land to do the water retrieve to make it shorter. So at least they were still successful. We had 4 chessies, 4 goldens, 1 toller, and 8 labs. If had to do it over again, I would spend more time explaining the rules better to everyone, I feel like there were too many questions as the test progressed. I would also ask people to be quiet. Since it was a mock test, we may not have taken it as seriously as we should have.


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2016, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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I judged junior again last weekend. It is a place about an hour south of Anchorage. I have run dogs there before. I have also judged 2 mock hunt tests and I've trained there. So I was pretty familiar with the location. It was Turnagain Pass.


My co-judge had not judged junior in a long time. She mainly judges master tests and runs only field trials. So she left it up to me to set up the tests. We ran water then land. Unfortunately the show labs and the show chessie had to be dropped on water. Getting into the water for show labs has become a real problem, and the show chessie was just about as bad. There was one show golden I did have to fail, but it was not the dog's fault. The owner did not know how to encourage her to get into the water, she is a very young dog. Anyway, when he walked to the water edge next to her, I told him to encourage her, and he did finally, so she went and got her bird. We ran the water marks from the same point into 2 different ponds. People didn't like that they weren't able to walk to the water's edge to run their dogs. I thought it was to their advantage to run farther back up on the higher bank so the dogs could more easily see the birds land. So we had some complaints. We asked the test committee to allow the dogs not in contention, to run on the land, to be able to run after the dogs in contention. Which they let us do.


So off to land we went. The dogs that passed water, all passed land. The dogs that didn't pass water, didn't pass land either. So it doesn't sound like my water test was the problem. It was really a training issue. So each dog not in contention, my co-judge and I took the time to work with each handler to run their dogs and understand how to communicate better with their dog. How to line up the dog, how to whistle, when to whistle, how to encourage the dog, and when to ask the gunner for help. It was really nice to make it a training opportunity for everyone.


The moral of the story is, get your dog in the water a lot. Make it fun. Throw a bumper. Get the dog out on different size water, don't use just a puddle. Make sure your dog can enter water down a bank and exit up a bank. Make it fun for the dog. Then when you go to a test, your dog will be able to run their water marks. Most of the dogs that didn't pass, should have passed had they been exposed to water more.


Oh and make sure your dog has picked up a duck before going to a hunt test. We did have one dog pick up her first duck. She did fine, but the owner did not tell us she had never picked up a duck before. Funny thing was, it was someone I had trained with several times. The dog was fine picking up her first duck.


Next time I judge junior, which is next month, most of the people I judged on Sunday will be running under me again (or not). Many are people I've trained with. Most of them I know well. So I'm crossing my fingers that I can pass everyone. I really wanted to pass everyone last weekend also.


I do have to say for anyone setting up a hunt test, make sure you have good gunners. I hated having so many "no birds". The gunners couldn't hit the dang ducks. Telling a new handler/dog that they have to get back in line is really tough.


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-20-2016, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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This summer I judged 3 junior hunt tests. All 3 were different locations. All 3 I judged with outside judges, not local judges. 2 of my co-judges had a lot of junior experience, 1 did not. The last judge has judged Master National 2015. So the judges had a wide variety of experience.


Junior is pretty easy to judge in a lot of ways and harder in others. Many people running junior are new and don't know what to expect. Many people running junior have no interest in going beyond junior and are only running it to get a JH title on their dog and are then off to something else. Training levels for dogs running junior are all over the board. There are dogs that are dragging their owners to the line and have minimal or no obedience or training. And other dogs that are using junior as a stepping stone to the next level. There are pros that run junior for their clients to have a starting title. But mostly it's owner handlers running junior. I myself ran my puppy in 2 junior tests this summer also. So it was nice to be both a handler and a judge at the junior level this summer.


I want to give everyone the encouragement to get out there and try running junior. Whether your dog has a lot of training or not. The only thing you have to lose is your entry fee. You'll gain a day spent outdoors with your dog and learning about what training you need to do with your dog. I would familiarize myself with the rules and watch some YouTube videos of junior hunt tests to see what they are all about.


I also want to put a plug out there for more people to sign up to take the AKC judging/handler seminar and take the test. We need more judges. It has gotten very hard for clubs to find judges for hunt tests with all the requirements necessary to judge. But giving back to your club is important.


Also if you are thinking about running junior, try to helping out at a tests. Throw birds, marshal or something else helpful. You will learn a lot just being around the whole thing without having to run a dog.


~ Stacey with Lucy and Riot, missing Hunter, Reilly, Tiger and Pennie
Wiseman Wildfire Grayling Fish On CD RA JH SHU WC "Lucy"
Thistle Rock Kicking Up a Fuss CD RA WCX ** "Riot"
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