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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The golden retriever club of IL is having a WC event near me in early May, and I'd really like to get the Tito Monster ready for it.
I've gone to the GRCA website and printed/read/memorized the rules. I think I understand. I ordered 3 different books and read them all several times.
But I'd really like some help from people who have participated in a WC. If anyone has time, would you please post a brief description of the actual WC you participated in? What kinds of birds were used for the land double? How far away were they? What type of cover?
I assume ducks were used for the water singles? How far away were they?
Anything else relevant that might help me understand better?
As soon as the temps. get to something humane I do plan to get out and work with him on this, but I'm looking for some guidance.
Thanks!!
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Your weather isn't that much different from mine--and in early May that water can still be pretty cold, and you won't have had much time to do much preparatory water work. Yes the marks are relatively simple, but making inexperienced dogs go into coldish water can spoil their attitude and willingness. So off the bat, unless we get an early spring, you may want to look for a later test.

As for the test itself, the ones I have gone to have used either pigeons or pheasants on land. The water marks for the C were quite simple and non-cheaty, and used ducks. They were at max 50 yds. Nothing involved what I would call heavy cover.

The birds we had were live when they arrived at the test and were shot on site. So make sure your dog has picked up a freshly killed bird before, and that they have had experience with the birds that will be used at the test--many dogs dislike fluffy pigeon feathers, and pheasnts have a big round body that some dogs find hard to hold well.

Key is to work on the mechanics of that double. I saw dogs fail because they became fixated on the memory bird (shot first) and did not turn to see the go bird land in time. They went out and got the memory bird first, and then wandered around lost when sent for what should have been the go-bird.

You can cue the dog to the gun stations in a GRCA WC, so take the time to do it. Walk to the line, point the dog at the memory station and then heel him over to face more towards the go-bird. That way he can turn his head to see the memory bird land, but his body will be lined up to take a good line to the go bird. Once he has picked up the bird and is returning, shift so that your feet are pointing to the memory bird, receive him at heel, and cue him with whatever phrase you use (where's your bird/mark, whatever), cue with good/yes when he's looking in the right direction (their ears will often come up and they kind of breath in and hold their breath when they are locked in) and send.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Shelly, that's EXACTLY the kind of advice I'm looking for!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Shelly your post was indeed very helpful ....Thanks!
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Shelly's remarks are right on. A couple of things I will add is that with the test in early May while the water may still be on the cold side the cover will likely be minimal as it will not have time to grow much.
As for the birds it is normally posted in the premium as to what will be used and quite often you will have a flyer either on land or water and sometimes both. That is left to the judges discretion so you will not know till the time of the test.
You can keep the dog on a leash so be sure to take advantage of that. And hold on TIGHT to it, not like others who will remain nameless.
You can wear white so again take advantage of it. It may not sound like a big deal but if your dog picks up the bird and the wing covers it's eyes it will make it a little easier for him to pick you out from the rest of background.
And finally - TAKE YOUR TIME! Make sure you AND your dog are ready before signaling the judges you are ready. You will be amazed how many people get to the line and feel they don't want to hold anyone up so they quickly setup and signal.
 

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wow, seriously, it's still cold up there in May? We have a split season here, spring (april/may) and fall (sept. - nov). But nothing in the summer. When are your tests?
 

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I'll disagree a bit.

In the WC the angle between the marks isn't that great. When you're called to the line, bring the dog up to line and sit him facing the go bird, then re-heel him and face him toward the memory bird. (i.e. show them the marks). Remember that you may gently restrain the dog in the WC so get a finger under that collar. Once the dog is focused upon the memory bird station, signal the judges and they'll start the test. When the memory bird goes and the shot is fired, many dogs are tempted to break so be ready with that finger if need be. Most dogs will snap their heads around to the go bird station at the sound of the shot or in most cases, shots. (The sound of flapping wings and a shot will draw the attention of any retriever that has had any experience with real birds in training.)

Hang on to the dog until the judges release the dog (Calling your number or saying "dog"). Send the dog for the go bird. Position yourself so the dog is facing the memory bird when it returns to the heel position. You want the dogs spine lined up directly on a path to the memory bird. Send the dog to make the retrieve.

There were several handlers who failed their dogs at the last WC I judged due to lining their dogs up in the wrong direction when setting up for the memory bird. The dogs in question clearly showed that they knew where they wanted to go (the correct line to the memory bird) but the handlers blocked their path and lined them off in the wrong direction.

Go birds are easy, memory birds are usually a lot tougher.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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In Canada our first hunt tests are in late May and then run through the summer, ending in September and October. I don't mind putting a dog in the water when it is cooling off in the fall, because they have had the whole summer to get a good water attitude, and have started hunting season--gunfire and fresh birds tend to overcome any uncertainty about water temperatures!! There is one field trial early in May, but those are FT dogs, most of whom have spent the winter in the water in Georgia, Alabama etc with their pros. Even so it can be hard on those dogs. There have been years when that trial has run with daytime temps in the lows 40sF, and as you can imagine, that does not help the water to warm up! Sometimes the ponds still have ice on them at the end of April.

I'm going to Alabama in March this year, in part just for the chance to get my dogs some water so they have a bit of a leg up on the season once it warms up here.

As Hank said, taking your time, settling on the line, and coming to the test prepared for anything it can throw at you are key. It can be a great time, and you can meet some great people. As a matter of fact, it was at a WC at the Eastern regional in 2006 where I met him. We all had a blast!
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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PS in light of Swampcollie's post, and as an addendum to my earlier one, when I say to move your dog more towards the go bird, be careful not to pull them so far around that the memory bird is not easily seen. I just like to have the body positioned to encourage them to go in the direction I want them to went sent for the go bird, so that the dog does not make the decision to do them out of order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
these are excellent excellent replies, thanks so very much.
I will probably re-heel him around to the memory bird, because he has so much obedience training it's what he's used to. We heel toward the glove on the directed retrieve, give a mark, and send him out. Now I know it's not at all the same as sending for a bird, but at least the basic understanding is there.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Barb in "theory" it is similar, but in real life with live/fresh birds it is NOTHING even close. There is NOTHING you can do other than doing it (working with live birds) to simulate it. Trust me on this one! ;)
Also you can NOT say ANYTHING to the dog from the time you signal you are ready to the time the judge releases you with either your number or the word dog.
 

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Barb in "theory" it is similar, but in real life with live/fresh birds it is NOTHING even close. There is NOTHING you can do other than doing it (working with live birds) to simulate it. Trust me on this one! ;)
Also you can NOT say ANYTHING to the dog from the time you signal you are ready to the time the judge releases you with either your number or the word dog.
Really? In WC I thought you could send with a release word. My bad. Of course what do I know :p: I know you can't say a word until you have decided the dog is no longer working and want it to come back to you. Test over. However the WC I observed, usually let the dog come back out and get the bird with the handler to end on a positive note.

These have been informative posts for me too. I hope to play a bit this coming summer. However in May in MI my dogs have usually been SERIOUSLY swimming and not caring, I don't know the water is 'that' cold.

I think Teddi's first swim in a lake in her life was in late March or early April. Yes the water was cold but we could not keep her out. I think that depends on the dogs water drive. Teddi's is HIGH.

Ann
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Max's mom, you do know a lot.
Sorry if I confused anyone. In regard to talking to your dog I was referring to at the beginning prior to the birds going down. Once the judge releases you to "send your dog for the marks" you can use a release word to send your dog. After that you can talk to your dog but some judges will limit how much, when and what is said. But they will cover that in their pretest briefing. (I know I am confusing things even more now :doh:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, I kinda figured as much. Just like chasing a tennis ball in the yard bears little resemblance to doing the dumbell retrieve in Open obedience.

Questions...just making sure I interpret this correctly from the way I read the rules (sometimes I read them the way I WANT them to be)

It's like obedience, you can talk all you want until you say or signal "ready". Correct?
Then you can't say anything until the judge calls your number or says "dog" or similar.
You have the dog lined up facing the bird. The judge says your number or says "dog". Can you now give a hand signal and say "take it" or similar, like you would in the directed retrieve?
Then when the dog comes back to you, you can say/signal a return to heel without a front?
Then can you repeat the "mark" and "take it" commands before sending to the second bird?
Did this make ANY sense?



Barb in "theory" it is similar, but in real life with live/fresh birds it is NOTHING even close. There is NOTHING you can do other than doing it (working with live birds) to simulate it. Trust me on this one! ;)
Also you can NOT say ANYTHING to the dog from the time you signal you are ready to the time the judge releases you with either your number or the word dog.
 

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Max's mom, you do know a lot.
Sorry if I confused anyone. In regard to talking to your dog I was referring to at the beginning prior to the birds going down. Once the judge releases you to "send your dog for the marks" you can use a release word to send your dog. After that you can talk to your dog but some judges will limit how much, when and what is said. But they will cover that in their pretest briefing. (I know I am confusing things even more now :doh:)
Thanks for clarifying. I have taught Teddi a "get it" command so I was thinking I needed to figure out how to silently release her. Same with Belle but this is a golden forum so I use Teddi as my example. I actually think she will be better than Belle at this, but Belle is good. She just won't do well on a memory mark. Once she brings something back, she wants us to throw something new. Work to be done. Then there is our new little one Quinn who is very birdy at 10 weeks. We are going to have SERIOUS fun!

Ann
 

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That's going to be my biggest issue I have to figure out before I do a WC....Conner is trained in obedience not to pivot with me unless I give him a command. So I guess I'll have to fix him in one position for doubles.
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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That's going to be my biggest issue I have to figure out before I do a WC....Conner is trained in obedience not to pivot with me unless I give him a command. So I guess I'll have to fix him in one position for doubles.
I have seen many people do this. After showing both stations they set the dog lined up between the two marks.
 

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Yes, I kinda figured as much. Just like chasing a tennis ball in the yard bears little resemblance to doing the dumbell retrieve in Open obedience.

Questions...just making sure I interpret this correctly from the way I read the rules (sometimes I read them the way I WANT them to be)

It's like obedience, you can talk all you want until you say or signal "ready". Correct?
Then you can't say anything until the judge calls your number or says "dog" or similar.
You have the dog lined up facing the bird. The judge says your number or says "dog". Can you now give a hand signal and say "take it" or similar, like you would in the directed retrieve?
Then when the dog comes back to you, you can say/signal a return to heel without a front?
Then can you repeat the "mark" and "take it" commands before sending to the second bird?
Did this make ANY sense?
Yes to all of that.

In a WC since you can (and should) hold the collar, you can physically (not roughly) turn the dog to face the go-bird, if he doesn't turn with you. Many times they do NOT use a duck call as an attention getter, and half the time they shoot as the bird is in the air, so if the dog doesn't turn and immediately see the bird, he might miss the mark altogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
so I can gently guide his body and/or head to look at the go-bird? (not meaning whacking him upside the head of course :p: )

Yes to all of that.

In a WC since you can (and should) hold the collar, you can physically (not roughly) turn the dog to face the go-bird, if he doesn't turn with you. Many times they do NOT use a duck call as an attention getter, and half the time they shoot as the bird is in the air, so if the dog doesn't turn and immediately see the bird, he might miss the mark altogether.
 

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You can gently guide by the collar.
 
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