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Discussion Starter #1
Another question...
I realize you have to pass the JH 4 times, and the WC only once.
But other than that, is the JH "test" easier than the WC test? It seems almost like it is if one just reads the descriptions.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Ummmm, generally, no!

Yes, a JH is singles only, but those singles can be much more complicated marks, with more factors and obstacles, as well as hidden gunners as opposed to someone wearing a white shirt and standing in the open. the only part of the WC that is harder is the double--but once you have the mechanics down and your dog can reliably count to two, it isn't that tough.

In JH marks both land and water can be up to 100 yards long. (In Canada it is 75 yards for the water marks on JH.) I have been to tests where the water marks were only 50 yards long, but the dogs had to run through all sorts of mud or lily pads and past decoys to get to the birds.

We regularly train marks in excess of 100 yards so that the dogs have the confidence to go further if they hit a max length mark in a test.

Remember that at their inception there was a fundamental difference between the two tests--WC is to test instinct, basic marking and memory, while even a JH is supposed to test to see if the dog has at least the fundamental ability to mark and pick up a single you might encounter in hunting. While not steady, a JH is still a dog that should be able to pick up as singles most of the birds one might shoot. I have birds drop into some pretty gnarly holes every year when hunting, and the dog had better be willing to go in there and get them--that's what the dog is for!

Here you can see how obvious the gunner is in a WC.



In a hunt test they will be behind a blind, in a hedgerow or long grass and/or wearing camo.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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The WC includes a double however the JH is tougher. The marks in a Junior can be much longer and the terrain far more difficult. Trainabilty is also tested at Junior so OB skills matter and the dog must deliver gently to hand.


Here's the land marks from a 2008 Junior test in Minnesota.



The first bird was a dead bird launched from a winger (angled in) located in a blind about 95 yards from the line. The dogs would hear a call, then a shot, then see the bird in a high arc before it dropped into the decoys. There were ample snow goose decoys of varying size and design to provide another factor for the dogs to contend with enroute to the bird.
Once sent, the dogs had to contend with a long curving side hill and tough undulating terrain if they chose to run through the dry creek bottom. The wind was a factor on this mark, blowing from left to right as indicated by the decoys.









The second bird was a flyer thrown from a hidden gun station located at the base of the hill, concealed by tall cattails. The dog would hear a loud duck call then see the bird emerge in a high arc. Once shot the bird would drop onto the side hill in thin sparce cover (the bird could be clearly seen lying on the ground from the running line.) Once sent, the dog had to angle down the hillside enter the cover, angle across the dry creek bed, push its' way through about 50 yards of deep grass and cattails, then break out and push up the hillside to recover the bird.
 

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I shoot, they fetch.
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Great pictures Swampcollie. Sure helps to illustrate the difference well.

At one test last year, my co-judge and I used a re-entry mark on water due to the water we had (a flooded creek in timber--so we did a "wood duck hunt"). It was only 25 yards to the spit and then they just had to show enough perserverance to cross the spit and pick up the bird from the cove in behind--maybe 50 yards. Their other mark involved running water and scrambling over some logs in it. Not long either, but one Lab just would not go over the big log. So with all those factors, like in the test you showed us above, perserverance is an important element in hunt as well. Generally, not a lot of factors to perservere through in a WC!
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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Let's see, may as well add the water marks from the same test too.




The first water mark was a dead bird originating from a hidden winger located behind the cattails on the opposite shore. The dog had to angle down the mound, scoot across some sparse dry sage brush, dive into the water navigate through the decoys, exit the water on the opposite shore and push up the hill to recover the bird laying in open in light cover.










The second water mark was a flyer originating from a hidden gun station located on the opposite shore behind the cattails. The dogs had to angle down the mound, confront some rather large decoys (taller than a retriever) to enter the water, swim to the opposite shore, slog through some gut sucking mud, push through some moderate cover, then push up the hill, hunt up and recover their flyer.

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Great pictures Swampcollie. Sure helps to illustrate the difference well.

At one test last year, my co-judge and I used a re-entry mark on water due to the water we had (a flooded creek in timber--so we did a "wood duck hunt"). It was only 25 yards to the spit and then they just had to show enough perserverance to cross the spit and pick up the bird from the cove in behind--maybe 50 yards. Their other mark involved running water and scrambling over some logs in it. Not long either, but one Lab just would not go over the big log. So with all those factors, like in the test you showed us above, perserverance is an important element in hunt as well. Generally, not a lot of factors to perservere through in a WC!
Agreed -- at a HT this fall, Junior dogs were required to go over a sunken log, the mark was only maybe 35-40 yards but MANY dogs refused to climb over the log.
Junior test judges have a lot of leeway in what they can set up -- more allowance for distance, cover, visibility of gunners, they can use flyers, decoys/silhouettes, etc. WC, not so much.
 

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Very cool! That would have been a fun test to run. Love that the dogs got to have a flyer in both the land and water series. The flyers are the reason I go for the AKC titles! The dogs would have had to have a shown a commitment to those marks to leave the pond and drive up the hill. Takes some of the wind out of people who try to say the JH is too much of a gimme.
 

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On the flip side I have seen some very easy Junior tests. It's all in the grounds and what the judges decide to do.
Handlers at Junior are also the biggest bunch of complainers you will ever encounter! ha ha ha Every test their dog doesn't pass is somehow illegal or unfair :)
 

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On the flip side I have seen some very easy Junior tests. It's all in the grounds and what the judges decide to do.
Handlers at Junior are also the biggest bunch of complainers you will ever encounter! ha ha ha Every test their dog doesn't pass is somehow illegal or unfair :)
Absolutely!!! That said, judges are human, and sometimes they do stupid things too.... I know there are a couple of people with whom I just won't waste my money.
 

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On the flip side I have seen some very easy Junior tests. It's all in the grounds and what the judges decide to do.
Handlers at Junior are also the biggest bunch of complainers you will ever encounter! ha ha ha Every test their dog doesn't pass is somehow illegal or unfair :)

We see very few gimmie tests here up north. We are very fortunate to have many well established clubs with outstanding grounds. Other than Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, there is a hunt test EVERY weekend from April 1 through September 18th, and the furthest is 160 miles away.

The handlers at Junior can be somewhat trying at times, though most will understand when you gently explain why hearing things like "Crunching" when the dog is on the way back with a bird is not a good thing.
 

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We see very few gimmie tests here up north. We are very fortunate to have many well established clubs with outstanding grounds. Other than Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, there is a hunt test EVERY weekend from April 1 through September 18th, and the furthest is 160 miles away.
It's good to know that somewhere, someone still thinks titles are something earned, rather than merely bought with entry fees. By far, most Junior's I've witnessed have been slighly glorified puppy tests. Still more meaningful than any of the WC tests, however.

EvanG
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks so much for the replies! The photos were AWESOME! This is exactly what I need to see what the tests involve.
Really, I can't thank you guys enough. Fantastic!
 

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It's good to know that somewhere, someone still thinks titles are something earned, rather than merely bought with entry fees. By far, most Junior's I've witnessed have been slighly glorified puppy tests. Still more meaningful than any of the WC tests, however.

EvanG
There are always a few handlers who are looking for a Junior test run on something similar to a golf course fairway. They're shocked when there is actually cover to contend with.

Over all I've found that handlers would much rather run a test with some meat to it rather than a gimmie. That ribbon means a whole lot more to them when they succeed against a challenge. You remember the tough tests much longer than the easy ones particularly if you did well.

This particular Junior test included elements that many gimmie tests don't. Long angle entries, multiple cover and terrain changes through thick cover, totally hidden guns, and decoys of sufficient quantity to be a factor in themselves. Whenever possible we give Junior dogs one flyer on land and one on water. Shooting a flyer in front of a dog will bring out a demeanor in the dog that will not be seen though any other means of testing.

If you're going to enter a WC/WCX or a hunt test, make certain your dog has seen and retrieved fresh shot birds beforehand.
 

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There are always a few handlers who are looking for a Junior test run on something similar to a golf course fairway. They're shocked when there is actually cover to contend with.

Over all I've found that handlers would much rather run a test with some meat to it rather than a gimmie. That ribbon means a whole lot more to them when they succeed against a challenge. You remember the tough tests much longer than the easy ones particularly if you did well.

This particular Junior test included elements that many gimmie tests don't. Long angle entries, multiple cover and terrain changes through thick cover, totally hidden guns, and decoys of sufficient quantity to be a factor in themselves. Whenever possible we give Junior dogs one flyer on land and one on water. Shooting a flyer in front of a dog will bring out a demeanor in the dog that will not be seen though any other means of testing.

If you're going to enter a WC/WCX or a hunt test, make certain your dog has seen and retrieved fresh shot birds beforehand.
I'm with you on all points, except "angle entries", regardless of distance. As an entry level test the Junior is where a great many people get their (and their dog's) feet wet in hunt tests. I know you realize this, but I think water work with diagonals is too much to ask of entry level dogs. On nearly any grounds you can adequately water test entry level dogs without setting them up to cheat.

Just my opinion. I love the cover and decoys, and I sure don't mind a bit more distance on marks. Even a Junior Hunter is supposed to be a "hunter".:)

EvanG
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmm, I'm going to assume you didn't mean the WC was meaningless, which is how it sounded.
I have a "conformation" dog, who *might* at some point be bred. I think the fact that he retains the hunting instincts to the point that he can pass at the very least a WC is not meaningless from a breeding point of view. I think it's one more thing that, in addition to his obedience titles, indicates that he is a specimen of what the breed ought to be.
Which I do believe was, historically, the point of the WC/WCX.


It's good to know that somewhere, someone still thinks titles are something earned, rather than merely bought with entry fees. By far, most Junior's I've witnessed have been slighly glorified puppy tests. Still more meaningful than any of the WC tests, however.

EvanG
 

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Hmm, I'm going to assume you didn't mean the WC was meaningless, which is how it sounded.
Before I reply, let me say that I appreciate any and all efforts to keep the word "Retriever" in the name of our Golden Retriever breed an adverb, rather than a noun. I'm not a WC participant, although I've volunteered as a gunner at them.

I require of myself and my dogs the highest standards of field performance to which we can aspire, so I train to levels competitive in the highest stakes of both the hunt test and field trial venues. You have stated something I believe is an honest apraisal of WC competition. I believe WC defines itself as a minimum. But a minimum is far better than surrendering what makes a dog a retriever.
I have a "conformation" dog, who *might* at some point be bred.
May I ask why? I'm not passing judgment here. I'm asking an honest question. I get tons of inquiries from people desiring my opinion on whether thier dogs should be bred to 'this or that line'. Often my reply is designed to discourage most of them from breeding - especially once we determine that the dog in question has little to add to the gene pool that is exceptional. The dog pounds are perpetually full, and I haven't noticed any shortage of puppies for sale.
I think the fact that he retains the hunting instincts to the point that he can pass at the very least a WC is not meaningless from a breeding point of view. I think it's one more thing that, in addition to his obedience titles, indicates that he is a specimen of what the breed ought to be.
Which I do believe was, historically, the point of the WC/WCX.
I agree with your assessment of a WC. But do you not agree that we should aspire not to the lowest common denominator, but rather the highest if we're to uphold or improve upon the higher traits in our breed? Might it not, then, be better to regard WC in an accurate perspective, and make plans to follow the WC title with subsequent titles that reflect a degree of talent that is ever higher? Build his record; one title leading the next - revealing the ways this future stud may improve the breed, rather than uphold its minimums?

Now, in direct response to your question about my saying "By far, most Junior's I've witnessed have been slighly glorified puppy tests. Still more meaningful than any of the WC tests, however." It isn't the JH or WC stakes themselves that I refer to as being more or less meaningful. It's the tests in so many of them that reveal little as to superior retrieving qualities in the animals. The content of the tests themselves is so minimal that it often appears that the judges are more concerned with promoting the number of entries than in upholding the higher traits of the breed - at least at these types of events.

I hope to see JH & WC tests that actually test the dogs, and therefore reveal what kind of animal we're perpetuating by way of what, in my opinion, is currently an excess of breeding for the sake of breeding.

I am fully aware that when I'm this brutally honest that someone will be offended. To them, I'm sorry if you're offended. But I do no service, either to you, or to our breed by hiding from important issues like this. And, after all, I was asked and honestly replied.

Judgmentally yours,
EvanG:)
 

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In furtherance to Evan's post, as a conformation person who is also a hunter (and a hunt test & WC judge in Canada), I would not take a WC dog hunting with me. If that is as far as the dog's training has gone or can go, it would not be sharing a blind with me. It is a test of instinct insofar as the dog at least likes birds and can count to two (and then with a visible gunner as a reminder). I have judged too many dogs at the WC level whom I have seen attempt the test multiple times before success.

To be an effective hunting companion there had better be much more inborn drive and perseverance than the WC can demonstrate. Not to say the the dog with a WC might not possess those traits, I just don't think that the length of marks and factors present in most WC marks really demonstrate that. The WC is just a starting point, and when dogs are then advertised as having working ability, with only a WC to show for it, I find it frustrating! That's why the gundog class at specialties requires at least a SH for eligibility--earning that title demonstrates functional gundog skills for a working retriever. My big JH/WCX boy is a great pheasant dog, but for waterfowling I'd rather have my little SH girl with me.
 

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In furtherance to Evan's post, as a conformation person who is also a hunter (and a hunt test & WC judge in Canada), I would not take a WC dog hunting with me. If that is as far as the dog's training has gone or can go, it would not be sharing a blind with me. It is a test of instinct insofar as the dog at least likes birds and can count to two (and then with a visible gunner as a reminder). I have judged too many dogs at the WC level whom I have seen attempt the test multiple times before success.

To be an effective hunting companion there had better be much more inborn drive and perseverance than the WC can demonstrate. Not to say the the dog with a WC might not possess those traits, I just don't think that the length of marks and factors present in most WC marks really demonstrate that. The WC is just a starting point, and when dogs are then advertised as having working ability, with only a WC to show for it, I find it frustrating! That's why the gundog class at specialties requires at least a SH for eligibility--earning that title demonstrates functional gundog skills for a working retriever. My big JH/WCX boy is a great pheasant dog, but for waterfowling I'd rather have my little SH girl with me.
Excellent post. Your reasoning shows clarity of thought and practical field experience.

EvanG
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Perhaps I have misled you into thinking the WC is my highest aspiration; it's not. But it's probably my highest aspiration for 2010. After 2010, we move on to the JH. After that, I'd love to keep going. Tito is a young dog, he'll be 3 in March. We have plenty of time.
The problem is, which is true for so many people, there are only so many hours in a day, and only so much money in the coffer. We can't compete aggressively in all sports at once.
I've opted to chase the CH aggressively for the next several months (to the tune of almost $1000 a weekend, between hotels/handlers/travel expenses/etc. which should explain in and of itself why we can't also pursue field work aggressively).
I'm also actively pursuing his UDX at this time. That adds more time and money. Don't know if you're familiar with the UDX, it's a very high level obedience title that very few dogs ever attain. To get a UDX leg, you have to qualify in both Open B and Utility B in the same show. It takes 10 legs to get a UDX. I'd like to have at least 5 UDX legs by the end of 2010. Only have 1 right now. Think...double entry fees...more hotels, more travel....
And, we are training actively in agility, just because it's a lot of fun, but I do hope to have him ready to trial in agility by the end of 2010. It's on my goal list.
And if you've seen any of my other threads, you know we also do dock diving. He's got a junior jumper title (UKC), we're hoping for a senior jumper title by the end of 2010. Again, just because it's so darned much fun. But then, goldens SHOULD willingly want to jump into the water over and over to retrieve something.

As far as breeding him, I haven't made any decisions, although most of the time I'm inclined against it.
But to answer your question, I firmly believe that Tito personifies the very best of the golden breed. But I don't just want my own, biased opinion, I want other, unbiased ones. So I show him in the breed ring, where the judges seem to agree he's among the good goldens out there in terms of breed standard.
I train/show him in obedience, to prove that he's trainable, smart, and willing. He got his UD at 30 months old, which is very, very rare, especially considering I've never trained a dog anywhere near that level before.
He will do anything you ask of him, willingly and happily.
He's got a temperament made of gold. Never met a person, child, or other dog, including intact males, that he doesn't get along with. He's calm and quiet. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times he's barked in his life.
He has passed all his health clearances. He is free of allergies, chronic ear infections, or other health issues.
Tito is the true multi-purpose dog, which IMHO is what the golden should be. That's why I would even consider breeding him. I'm still undecided as to whether or not I will, but if I do decide to, it will be with enough titles on BOTH ends of his name to say that others besides me think he's got a lot of what it takes to be an excellent golden retriever.
FWIW, I've turned down 6 requests to stud him so far. People do notice dogs who are "double ring dogs", because there are so few of them who seem able to compete and excel in multiple venues.
I'm sorry if this sounds like a huge brag on Tito, but I couldn't answer your question any other way.




Before I reply, let me say that I appreciate any and all efforts to keep the word "Retriever" in the name of our Golden Retriever breed an adverb, rather than a noun. I'm not a WC participant, although I've volunteered as a gunner at them.

I require of myself and my dogs the highest standards of field performance to which we can aspire, so I train to levels competitive in the highest stakes of both the hunt test and field trial venues. You have stated something I believe is an honest apraisal of WC competition. I believe WC defines itself as a minimum. But a minimum is far better than surrendering what makes a dog a retriever.May I ask why? I'm not passing judgment here. I'm asking an honest question. I get tons of inquiries from people desiring my opinion on whether thier dogs should be bred to 'this or that line'. Often my reply is designed to discourage most of them from breeding - especially once we determine that the dog in question has little to add to the gene pool that is exceptional. The dog pounds are perpetually full, and I haven't noticed any shortage of puppies for sale.I agree with your assessment of a WC. But do you not agree that we should aspire not to the lowest common denominator, but rather the highest if we're to uphold or improve upon the higher traits in our breed? Might it not, then, be better to regard WC in an accurate perspective, and make plans to follow the WC title with subsequent titles that reflect a degree of talent that is ever higher? Build his record; one title leading the next - revealing the ways this future stud may improve the breed, rather than uphold its minimums?

Now, in direct response to your question about my saying "By far, most Junior's I've witnessed have been slighly glorified puppy tests. Still more meaningful than any of the WC tests, however." It isn't the JH or WC stakes themselves that I refer to as being more or less meaningful. It's the tests in so many of them that reveal little as to superior retrieving qualities in the animals. The content of the tests themselves is so minimal that it often appears that the judges are more concerned with promoting the number of entries than in upholding the higher traits of the breed - at least at these types of events.

I hope to see JH & WC tests that actually test the dogs, and therefore reveal what kind of animal we're perpetuating by way of what, in my opinion, is currently an excess of breeding for the sake of breeding.

I am fully aware that when I'm this brutally honest that someone will be offended. To them, I'm sorry if you're offended. But I do no service, either to you, or to our breed by hiding from important issues like this. And, after all, I was asked and honestly replied.

Judgmentally yours,
EvanG:)
 

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Perhaps I have misled you into thinking the WC is my highest aspiration; it's not. But it's probably my highest aspiration for 2010. After 2010, we move on to the JH. After that, I'd love to keep going. Tito is a young dog, he'll be 3 in March. We have plenty of time.
It did sound that way, but I’m glad your goals are loftier. Upward and onward at your own pace…and his, of course.

The problem is, which is true for so many people, there are only so many hours in a day, and only so much money in the coffer. We can't compete aggressively in all sports at once.
Most people are fortunate to be competitive at one.
I've opted to chase the CH aggressively for the next several months (to the tune of almost $1000 a weekend, between hotels/handlers/travel expenses/etc. which should explain in and of itself why we can't also pursue field work aggressively).
That is one of several very good reasons why, even though I train my dogs to a winning level, I no longer run dogs in trials or tests, but for rare exceptions.
I'm also actively pursuing his UDX at this time. That adds more time and money. Don't know if you're familiar with the UDX, it's a very high-level obedience title that very few dogs ever attain. To get a UDX leg, you have to qualify in both Open B and Utility B in the same show. It takes 10 legs to get a UDX. I'd like to have at least 5 UDX legs by the end of 2010. Only have 1 right now. Think...double entry fees...more hotels, more travel....
I see a familiar pattern here.

And, we are training actively in agility, just because it's a lot of fun, but I do hope to have him ready to trial in agility by the end of 2010. It's on my goal list.
And if you've seen any of my other threads, you know we also do dock diving. He's got a junior jumper title (UKC), we're hoping for a senior jumper title by the end of 2010. Again, just because it's so darned much fun. But then, Goldens SHOULD willingly want to jump into the water over and over to retrieve something.
You keep you plate pretty full!
As far as breeding him, I haven't made any decisions, although most of the time I'm inclined against it.
As you’ve noted, he’s young. There’s plenty of time for that decision. I respect your caution.
But to answer your question, I firmly believe that Tito personifies the very best of the golden breed. But I don't just want my own, biased opinion, I want other, unbiased ones.
You have a biased opinion? Dog people don’t have those, do they?
He has passed all his health clearances. He is free of allergies, chronic ear infections, or other health issues.
Ahhhh! It feels good just to read that statement!

FWIW, I've turned down 6 requests to stud him so far. People do notice dogs who are "double ring dogs", because there are so few of them who seem able to compete and excel in multiple venues.
I'm sorry if this sounds like a huge brag on Tito, but I couldn't answer your question any other way.
Shameless! :--appalled:

And probably anyone else who had him would likely do the same. Your self control is exceptional, and will serve you, Tito, and the breed well. But if indeed you end up leaning toward breeding him, hold your field standards high.

EvanG
 
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