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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so here we all sit! With trials and tests cancelled all over the country, we're relegated to watching TV, spending time on GRF and other sites, and, if we are near training locales, heading out to run some blinds. GEESH, who'd have thought we'd ever be in this situation.
So I'm going to post some random thoughts about training, trialing, handling ... and hope that others will do the same.
This is a great time to post questions too.

First random thought: On trial morning, I'm always excited and a little anxious to get to the trial grounds, even if I won't be running for hours. I know that some trialers do tune up drills, simple marks, maybe a poison bird drill for the major stakes, etc. There's nothing wrong with that (except, if a test has been split and someone who hasn't run yet goes out and runs a similar set up before they run the test the next day ... is that unsportsmanlike conduct??? Looking for discussion on this). Although on trial day I'm hurrying to get to the grounds, I'll try to make myself at least run a wagon-wheel, maybe a two-tiered wagon wheel, with my dogs.

Does anyone else have pre-trial/pre-test routine?

FTGoldens
 

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Sure you've heard this saying, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade".

I think a lot of people will find some creative ways to spend their time that will be very constructive.
 

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the party's crashing us
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Well so far my dogs have gotten trained every day. Not only do I have the weekends to myself again, but the water at Lazy J has dried up enough we can train again. It's been over TWO YEARS since we've been able to use the ponds!!!! YIPEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think the day before or morning of a trial routine MAJORLY DEPENDS ON THE DOG.

I'm also a big believer that if you made it through and are called back for the next day, unless the dog is absolutely perfect in the first series, whatever you ran the first day, absolutely go train that afternoon or night and hammer home a point. I remember clearly a Master test where Slater was an absolute lunatic on a shoreline blind, where there had been a mark on the shore previously picked up, he was SO NAUGHTY but somehow got called back to the third series where we had to run two more blinds. Saturday night I took a friend and a bird to my local school field, which thankfully had lights, ran a blind with Slater, and en route my friend literally threw the bird AT HIM, I blew the whistle and he got in MAJOR TROUBLE as he decided to go for the bird instead. Well ------ guess who was Mr. Perfectly Mannered And Obedient the next day and earned a ribbon?

Bally I'm more likely to run a lining drill. Fisher I played tug with a bumper LOL
 

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I do not train during a trial weekend although many do. There are pros that love to disappear for a while after running a dog or two. Everyone knows they are off somewhere attempting to drill things into the next dogs to run. Not illegal unless they are holding up a stake.
When training after a trial I think it is important to set up concepts, simplify, teach and do everything possible to ensure success. Replicate a failed test from a trial and you may just teach the difference between training and trials, collar and no collar.
It's also easy to overdo a single concept, I've done it. We went out in the first series of an amateur on a long retired mark thrown sharply away along the edge of a timberline. Nailed the flier and short retired but caved in and hunted just a few yards short of the long bird. Half the entries did the same or not as good. We did a bunch of long retired marks against timberlines for a couple weeks. Next trial, got the flier then blew past the retired gun and didn't stop until he got to the timberline about 600 yards out, just like I trained him to do.:( Everything has to be done in balance with everything else.
 

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woohoo this past weekend I ran Shelly in her first amateur and we jammed! It was amazing, she's not three yet and so much easier on the blinds for me than with Proof, ha ha! I am the same way I like to be on the grounds for test dog. I don't know why, I just can't help myself. But this time I did something a bit different with Shelly and I think it helped out a lot for us. The trial was supposed to start around 8 and I purposely forced myself to not be there for at least an hour since I knew we were almost last and I didn't want her sitting in the car for super long. Anyway, I got her and went and just played with her. I threw her favorite frisbee for a long while burning her energy up. I ran and chased and played for a long while...I think she even played in my pond too. THEN....after all of us were happy and loving and relaxed I then did some ob with her. Did a lot of heeling and going in circles and working on here and heel. Did a couple mini blinds that were really just about taking a cast in the wind. Then I put her in her kennel in the mindset that she was in discipline mode and drove to the trial. Man, we still got there for test dog, ha ha ha. BUT she was way calmer than even at training.
I think this is the way to go with Shelly she really loves to play with me. Proof likes to run, she likes to interact.
As far as training, we are all still training every day. But, I am so bummed, I had three judging assignments in a row, was going to party down this weekend with Anney and a few other friends, and then drive to Alabama and train and judge and run another am. What a bummer!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
MOP, that's a bummer about the judging assignments! But that's awesome regarding Ms. Shelly! Good girl!!!

This afternoon I ran three sets of two marks each with my most dependable training buddies ... Bumper Boy 1 and Bumper Boy 2! It's a good thing that I did the set ups because the pups both pushed off the short gunner when I did them as hip pockets (and they also pushed off the short mark when I pinched the marks). It's been too long since I did the W drill or the diamond drill ... I'll probably do the diamond drill tomorrow since I only have 2 BBs and 2 GUs.

FTGoldens
 

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aka Shelby
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and as far as being unsportsmanlike if you go run a similar test set up before the next day.....well this game is all about luck and if you have a late number and can do that, don't think someone else wouldn't. I don't know if I would because honestly I've seen more dogs get messed up by overly aggressive training before a trial...like they are all scared and make more mistakes at the trial then they might have....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
and as far as being unsportsmanlike if you go run a similar test set up before the next day.....well this game is all about luck and if you have a late number and can do that, don't think someone else wouldn't. I don't know if I would because honestly I've seen more dogs get messed up by overly aggressive training before a trial...like they are all scared and make more mistakes at the trial then they might have....
I know that at Nationals [i.e., the National (Open) Retriever Championship and the National Amateur Retriever Championship ... I don't include the national Specialty as a "National"], it's frowned on but there are always folks who are rumored to do so.
 

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Jamie
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I've been training as much as possible. So our new routine is I take all three dogs out to our field trial grounds, train Rio (stand-alones, drills, blinds, etc), then I let all three out and they get to be wild animals for about 30 mins to an hour. Penny just loves to run and the boys follow her, so they end up running a solid amount while I sit and watch. And because Rio can be a bit of a jerk to Penny (just antagonizing her so she will play with him), I give him a dokken to hold and he carries it around in his mouth the entire time they are out playing. Figure that's some good endurance training for him lol!

For pretrial routine, this is the first dog where I don't have to worry about conserving his energy. So for our upland a month ago, I got up super early and took Rio out to run and do some drills. I think it worked well for us.

We are currently working on marking ability. Over the winter I wasn't able to do much and focused on drills and skills needed for blinds that when we started doing marks again, he would sprint straight out like he was doing a blind and just keep running. Luckily our snow has been gone for about a month now and we are able to do a lot of standalones (if I'm training myself), or gunner thrown marks if I'm training with a buddy. He has improved so much and is marking off a gunner very well! My goal now is to set a theme for each week so I can focus on one area at a time of concepts to do for marking (I've been reading a lot of Dennis Voight's material). This last week's was angle backs, as that need some improvement.

We ran into some issues with our blind work last week. Some wire got crossed and he was popping once we got to 150 yards. At my trainer's instruction, we started doing some long-distance pile work and its been helping. Now I just really want the water to warm up so we can do swim-by and de-cheating.

My question for everyone is about derbies. I've had a couple people from the club say I should run Rio in them, what skills do you think a dog should have mastered before entering?
 

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Well Buffy was so over the top driven I felt that some prep was needed. On hunt test day I would get up early and go to a field to get her to run off some energy by doing several retrieves. Energy was great for flushing a running pheasant or running down a lightly hit pheasant but I felt that it was not conducive to remaining calm at a hunt test. (You should only know...)
 

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My question for everyone is about derbies. I've had a couple people from the club say I should run Rio in them, what skills do you think a dog should have mastered before entering?
Water / cover cheating, shoot some fliers for him and use them to distract from the memory birds. Fliers are a huge draw for dogs that have not seen many and you can bet on the long mark being on a line past the flier station.
Should be steady, a controlled break will not eliminate you but it won't help and can lead to creeping problems.
The marks will get tighter in the later series, to entice switching.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My question for everyone is about derbies. I've had a couple people from the club say I should run Rio in them, what skills do you think a dog should have mastered before entering?
I strongly encourage you to go for it!!!

Doubles will be thrown ... though possibly a single in an early series. There are only 4 ways that doubles can be thrown (two to the left, two to the right, two thrown in, two thrown out), so train on them all. As SRW says, be sure that Rio can handle the influence of a flyer, which will most be likely seen in the first series and the last series ... note that the influence may be so great that he won't want to pull off of the flyer gunners when setting up for the marks to go down (one way to train for this is making the long mark the flyer even though there are flyer crates and multiple gunners at the short station). Also, occasionally you may see an inverted double, where the short mark is the memory mark, so train a little, just a little, on that concept (understanding this concept will help when you move into the higher stakes too). Also, gunners are sometimes "semi-retired" (i.e., not visible from the line when the gunner sits down, so expose him to those situations; again, not a log, but some.
One thing that you want to avoid is Rio seeing some concept or situation for the first time at a trial!
FTGoldens

ps: I reread this post ... there's a lot in it. Please ask questions if something isn't clear.
 

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I have run a lot derbies and Ive judged a lot of derbies lately. I can tell you that derby dogs around here are very hard to get answers from therefore the tests have gotten harder and harder. Water is generally the way to get answers. I don't care about running around water, as that is the judges mistake for setting up that test. What I do like to see is a dog that can hold their line in water despite losing sight of the gunner. So last derby's water series both long guns were out of sight once the dog entered the water. the other gunner was nearer to the water. If the dog "caves' he will go back to the old gunner. Shoot, a lot of the tests that my dogs have run did in fact have this component somewhere along the way in water. this lost gunner is effective in land with hills and heavy cover as well. I think with water they "cave" a lot easier since they have longer swims and more time to get bored of swimming, giving their little brains too many ideas like how much faster it would be to get out of this water, ha ha. Then they get out and find themselves looking at the old gunner and not realizing its the same mark they just picked up because they took a different path to it. I hope I conveyed that okay.
You need to really train your dog to not lose focus on his lines.

Another aspect to this that I personally use a lot when I judge derbies is an obstacle on the way to the mark. Meaning that maybe there is a tree or hay bale or junk pile that provides a scenario that forces the dog to deviate from his line and then make that decision to either readjust his line back or lose focus and run in the wrong direction. So keep that in mind when you are training.
And yeah those squawking fliers can really influence the dogs. I hate killing dogs in the first series and really just kind o of put out a wide open set up but I love to utilize that flier so often I will make the flier my second series and make it more difficult. I've also loved using my flier around the water if possible.

And I don't know if you train two sided but if you can that will come in extremely helpful in a derby. If you need to block a flier you can put the dog on the side away from the flier to help focus on the memory bird and then step back when the flier is shot. I personally didn't ever show my dogs the flier at a derby unless it was a very oddly placed flier. I notice a lot of handlers that I'm judging spend a lot of time on the flier and that just doesn't seem to be a good way to go with a young pup. The longer the handler showed the flier to the dog the harder it was for the dog to focus on anything else. My dogs always knew where that flier was despite not being shown. they knew. But I didn't want that to be the focus. I wanted the focus to be on that memory bird. So keep that in mind in training.

I love derbies. I could only run derbies for the rest of my life because they really are fun, not hard to understand the concept for handlers and its neat to see all the cute things these young dogs do. It never fails that at least one pup shows his age in the most comical way and it always makes me giggle. Their exuberance and wide open happiness that exhibit at the trials just make my heart smile! I'm excited for you and Rio!
 

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Jamie
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Haha, I'm already doing more than I planned. My goal with Rio was getting a Grand pass on him through HRC. Now I want to step into field trials lol, I never would have guessed that when I got him. This whole field training thing has quickly spiraled :LOL:
 

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My Spring trial season has vanished. I had on my calendar to run 6 trials, 4 have been cancelled so far. My wife and I still train 5 days a week with wingers, 4 wheeler etc. Our just turned 3 year old had a hiccup at a training day two weeks ago that screwed her up. They were using thunder launchers and I ran the land series first where they launched the thunder dummy but put a bird out to retrieve, she did very well on the AA double retired setup but when we went to the water series ( 2nd day for her back in the water) they just used the launcher dummy and no bird. This caused blinking and a popping issue as she wouldn’t pick up the thunder dummy. She had never had a popping issue before and she never has been exposed to the thunder launcher dummy. The next day she started popping on her blinds. She had never popped on a blind before as she runs blinds as hard as marks. We backed up and simplified things and hopefully it’s straight now. Our 6 month tomorrow alpha puppy is a mess but very talented, she seems to be a pinpoint marker so far. She has progressed to using wingers and multiple gun singles in the field, she has stretched out to about 200 yrds. Yesterday was the 2nd day of FF for her. As for pre trial prep, I always do OB in the am before leaving, no setups etc. I was always taught that it won’t make a difference and don’t get yourself in a bad situation. That’s about it from MD.
 

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They were using thunder launchers and I ran the land series first where they launched the thunder dummy but put a bird out to retrieve, she did very well on the AA double retired setup but when we went to the water series ( 2nd day for her back in the water) they just used the launcher dummy and no bird. This caused blinking and a popping issue as she wouldn’t pick up the thunder dummy.
A training friend was just talking about the same thing recently. Some people he trained with were using a thunder launcher but always planted a bunch of ducks in the fall area. It all worked fine for several weeks until they decided not to plant any birds. None or the dogs would pick up the bumpers, they just kept hunting the AOF for a bird. These were some very accomplished field trialers. We all need to keep learning and accept that we will also make mistakes occasionally.
All these trial cancellations really suck. Jake is running so good in training right now. Can't wait for a trial so he can make me very proud or, perhaps more likely, really humble and quiet.
 

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Yep it screwed her up for about a week. She is a thinker and hates to make mistakes. I should have ran the water series first with just the launcher the the land with the bird and launcher 2nd, but it was in the 40s and I wanted it to warm up some. Live and learn. I felt so sorry for her, she was so confused.
 
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