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So imagine my eyes glazing over when I see dogs that just are not focused on their owners at all. Or if they are, it's the barest fraction of what I have and value in my dogs. I acknowledge that a huge chunk of that is foundation and conditioning. But I see that in goldens of all kinds. I do not often see it in other sporting breeds - even very well trained and high level competing ones. It's just very different.
Wait...haven't you ever seen a field dog when they're being handled/cast? You're talking about a dog that might be a hundred plus yards away fixated on their owner, working together and taking directions to locate a fallen bird.
 

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Jamie
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I may very well be wrong here, so please correct me- but it seems as though different sports require different levels of handler focus? If a dog running agility had 100% of its focus on its handler, it would crash into obstacles. If a dog running obedience was focused more on the things around it than the handler, it would not be as strong of an obedience competitor. It seems weird to judge dogs running in one sport, against the expectations for a dog running a different sport.
Am I missing something?
You are absolutely correct. Just a side note because I've noticed you are incredibly perceptive and tactful in these conversations, I hope you continue in goldens because with your attitude you could be very successful. The breed needs more individuals that can appreciate all aspects of the golden retriever.
 

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Finn
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You are absolutely correct. Just a side note because I've noticed you are incredibly perceptive and tactful in these conversations, I hope you continue in goldens because with your attitude you could be very successful. The breed needs more individuals that can appreciate all aspects of the golden retriever.
Thank you!
 

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Kate
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[QUOTE="SRW, post: 7906349, member: 200648"

Consider the fact that your eyes are glazing because you have no understanding of what you are watching.
[/QUOTE]

In obedience?

every time I ask a simple question or say something as thoughtfully as I can you go charging in with yet more insults that do nothing but remind people why they don’t like dog training people. Which is crappy because I know there are wonderful people who play in field.
 

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You said:"I've always thought that the difference between a sport like field and a sport like obedience is that when you do field work with a dog, you use the traits and instincts that the dog already has and typically when the dogs are out there and they know there's birds out there, all the lights are on and gears ready to go."

In a sport like obedience, have literally had instructors tell me that it doesn't matter if I have a retriever, that I have to teach retrieves the same as if my dog was a pomeranian or a collie, because there will always be a time and situation where the dog will not "want" to go fetch a dumbbell. And basically there's no instincts for going over a jump or whatnot - everything is taught from scratch.

Ideally with a golden - they are everything and have those instincts and gears and all that. But there will always be those goldens who if you point a direction, they will come up and sniff your finger. There's goldens who KNOW there is a tennis ball in the house and they will find it immediately if you ever ask them to get it even if it's deeply buried way out of the way behind a couch and under all kinds of stuff. And there's goldens who will run past a tennis ball that's practically in plain sight repeatedly while searching for the same tennis ball. 🤣 And that's where training and trainability and methods you use makes up the difference.

With obedience, I am guessing the traits I really REALLY love - most of these are built up from the time the dogs were baby puppies that I brought home and also what the dogs had naturally.... it's that dog who is eagerly trying to guess the next thing I want him to do and is vibrating ready to work. I have that and LOVE IT. It's that Hermionne flinging herself out of her desk to guess the right answer attitude. <B

So imagine my eyes glazing over when I see dogs that just are not focused on their owners at all. Or if they are, it's the barest fraction of what I have and value in my dogs. I acknowledge that a huge chunk of that is foundation and conditioning. But I see that in goldens of all kinds. I do not often see it in other sporting breeds - even very well trained and high level competing ones. It's just very different.
when you do field work with a dog, you use the traits and instincts that the dog already has and typically when the dogs are out there and they know there's birds out there, all the lights are on and gears ready to go.


Do you think a dog "natural instinct is to diagonal a road, ditch, mound or piece water.....NO it is a trained response. Do you think a dog's natural instinct is to swim 200-300 years to the end of a body of water to pick up a bird that they saw fall....NO, they would rather run around it if they are not trained. Do you think it is a natural instinct to run down wind of a previously retrieved shot flyer to get a bird that is another 200 yards out...NO they need to be trained to carry the line. These trained responses are even more significant in a blind as opposed to a mark where the dog has to carry the obstacles and scents to a bird that they never even saw thrown.
 

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OK, comment for you very sensitive tempered field people going WHEEEE over there. :)

I commented lightly earlier this morning because I could not resist pecking at somebody who has claimed many times that it's FC titles or field trial accomplishments or nothing. I find that perspective to be bothersome when you consider the fact that other breeds do not have the same chips on their shoulder towards people who are trying... where they themselves never try. Do I personally care? Nope. It is not my sport or dogs that he's dismissing while propping up his own dog or whatever it is he does. :)

All dogs that I've seen in obedience are coming from breeders like Tanbark and Wynwood with some random Topbrass here or there. The dogs come from high level obedience and agility pedigrees. These are the types of dogs I see.

I have never ever seen a FC golden show up at local trials. EVER. I've been training in obedience and putting obedience titles on my dogs since the 90's. Which was a very long time ago. ;)
Partly true because there are only a handful of Fc or AFC OR FC/AFC living Goldens out there!
 

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Kate
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when you do field work with a dog, you use the traits and instincts that the dog already has and typically when the dogs are out there and they know there's birds out there, all the lights are on and gears ready to go.


Do you think a dog "natural instinct is to diagonal a road, ditch, mound or piece water.....NO it is a trained response. Do you think a dog's natural instinct is to swim 200-300 years to the end of a body of water to pick up a bird that they saw fall....NO, they would rather run around it if they are not trained. Do you think it is a natural instinct to run down wind of a previously retrieved shot flyer to get a bird that is another 200 yards out...NO they need to be trained to carry the line. These trained responses are even more significant in a blind as opposed to a mark where the dog has to carry the obstacles and scents to a bird that they never even saw thrown.
I'm sorry - I didn't mean to imply that these are not trained dogs and the training doesn't happen. Oh gosh. >.< Just that what you may be looking for in a dog to start with might be different than what somebody might want in a different sport. I was commenting on what Anney said - and please know, I was smiling as I commented. Just saying when picking a dog you want to do X sport with, you have reason to expect something to be there before you get going. It's different depending on the sport....

I'm friends with a lot of people who do field and it's horribly hot days like this (87 degrees - yuck) or rainy cold days and they are out there working with the dogs or waiting their turn. It's people like that who really made me want to give it a try even knowing how much they train their dogs and how well trained their dogs are.



Threads like this one, I see people so eager to jump into a fight that they don't stop to see if the other person is even fighting. I'm not. 🥴
 

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I dabbled in field with mine 3+ years ago. That was before my younger guy was born, but my 3 year old was a pup at the time. He was FUN to work with for field, but he wanted to eat the birds. Which might be corrected with ecollars, but I was and still am unwilling to go that route. I was going to revisit this year esp with the national being in town and the field stuff being only 30 minutes away, but thanks to a lot of the yacking on this forum, I just feel dread about getting back into it. And I just don't want to anymore. It's not about my dogs. It's never been about the dogs. I had been thinking about going out to watch at least, but that dready depressiveness that surrounds the people in the sport makes me not want to. It stinks because it's not everyone. I have very good friends who play in field or even live breathe etc field - so it's not them. It's just other people.
every time I ask a simple question or say something as thoughtfully as I can you go charging in with yet more insults that do nothing but remind people why they don’t like dog training people. Which is crappy because I know there are wonderful people who play in field.
I agree, there are many wonderful people at field events.

I have not seen the "dready depressiveness" that deters you from the sport.
 

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I'm sorry - I didn't mean to imply that these are not trained dogs and the training doesn't happen. Oh gosh. >.< Just that what you may be looking for in a dog to start with might be different than what somebody might want in a different sport. I was commenting on what Anney said - and please know, I was smiling as I commented.

I'm friends with a lot of people who do field and it's horribly hot days like this (87 degrees - yuck) or rainy cold days and they are out there working with the dogs or waiting their turn. It's people like that who really made me want to give it a try even know how much they train their dogs and how well trained their dogs are.

Threads like this one, I see people so eager to jump into a fight that they don't stop to see if the other person is even fighting. I'm not. 🥴
I have no beefs with people who do many or single venues with their dogs. I just have issue with people who, out of ignorance or lack of exposure, state how field dogs are wild, not very smart or all the other negative characteristics that have been assigned over time. Personally I don't have tome to do other venues and admire those that can. I would rather try my best to master one event well than to try to be a jack of all trades. I spend countless hours in rotten as well as beautiful weather and locations getting my dogs to learn to maintain high quality work. I virtually never breed my own litters but I'm thrilled to see some of our offspring from our boys go to pet, hunting, obedience and SAR homes. They adapt well!
 

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I may very well be wrong here, so please correct me- but it seems as though different sports require different levels of handler focus? If a dog running agility had 100% of its focus on its handler, it would crash into obstacles. If a dog running obedience was focused more on the things around it than the handler, it would not be as strong of an obedience competitor. It seems weird to judge dogs running in one sport, against the expectations for a dog running a different sport.
Am I missing something?
Sort of wrong, sort of right. Agility, OB, and hunt all require that the dog is paying close attention to its handler.

In OB heeling, ideally, you want the heel to look like a dance in which the handler is the leading partner and the dog the follower, but the cues are so subtle, it looks like the team is moving in unison without a follower or leader, just like in a good human pair of dancers. It requires the dog is completely focused on the handler and ignoring everything around him to avoid missing the subtle cues.

In a good agility team, the dog is extremely focused on its handler, much more so than you might think as an observer. The dog has to know which obstacle to take next. He can't read the numbers on the course, so he has to rely on the person to "tell" (more often give a body cue) where to go. Dogs have a wider field of peripheral vision than humans do, because their eyes are more angled to the side of their head. They also hear the handler's footfalls. Dogs, as a rule, process body cues faster than verbal cues. They not only need to know where to go next; they usually need that information a jump ahead so they can switch leads in time. (When dogs spin before or after a jump in agility, it is usually because they are leading with the wrong foot and are trying to adjust.) In a good agility team, the human handler has to be aware of what her (the handler's) body cues are telling the dog to do and whether she is giving the information in time. The reason good agility trainers are EXTREMELY reluctant to ever correct a dog for taking the wrong obstacle is that, more often than not, the handler has given the wrong cue or given the cue too late for the dog to adjust. A dog given bad cues and eager to please will learn to slow down to make sure that he is reading his person correctly and he may even angle his head towards the handler to get a better view, which will slow him down even more. Once a dog gets in the habit to slowing down to adjust to the handler's slow/bad cues, it is very, very hard to get that speed back. My first agility dog, a speed-demon of a standard poodle, successfully learned to slow down to adjust to my slowness, and that was back in the day (mid-1990s) when agility trainers would actually advise a handler to get their dog to go slower. (No good agility trainer would ever give that advice today.)

In hunt/field, a dog obviously has to pay attention to the whistles and casts on a blind. The dog should also be able to heel nicely to the mat. The criteria for the heeling to the mat are much less stringent than in competitive OB, but, in some ways, are harder for the dog to adhere to. The dog is normally very excited and eager to get to the mat. The ground is often uneven, or rocky, or sloping. The handler may be well past his/her glory days of youth and be worried about slipping or stumbling. A dog that heels well to the mat is, like the agility dog, very aware of where the handler is using peripheral vision and hearing but is also looking forward scanning the layout for the mat and the guns. Some hunt/field trainers will say that OB dogs are trained to pay too close attention to the handler. If only! Believe me, a competitive OB dog is NOT going to be looking at its handler on the way to mat.
 

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Kate
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I have no beefs with people who do many or single venues with their dogs. I just have issue with people who, out of ignorance or lack of exposure, state how field dogs are wild, not very smart or all the other negative characteristics that have been assigned over time. Personally I don't have tome to do other venues and admire those that can. I would rather try my best to master one event well than to try to be a jack of all trades. I spend countless hours in rotten as well as beautiful weather and locations getting my dogs to learn to maintain high quality work. I virtually never breed my own litters but I'm thrilled to see some of our offspring from our boys go to pet, hunting, obedience and SAR homes. They adapt well!
Quite honestly - the only goldens that I've seen who are bred for performance.... they come from obedience breeders. Yes, those same breeders are using field lines, but greater purpose of these dogs is future OTCH's. Meaning, there isn't a maybe about these dogs becoming OTCH's - they WILL become OTCH's. A lot of it is the dogs who have all the traits you want - very eager to work, willing to repeat over and over and over, learns quickly and you can keep building foundations without getting stuck on very early problems. A lot of it is the knowledge and experience of the handlers - who are not out there dabbling or giving it a go with their first dog and bound to be satisfied if the dog gets that person's first CDX or first UD or first UDX. These are serious trainers who literally know the road map to OTCH so well they don't need even need to look at the map anymore. <B

I have not seen field goldens (like real ones) in training classes - maybe I saw only one ever? And this was a dog that died young from cancer and had other serious problems. Fast forward to today, I wonder if it was NCL which really is terrible. This dog made the performance bred dogs I mention above look slow when she was retrieving. Working on obedience was not the same, but her owner was not an experienced obedience person so may have been handling.

I should mention that I have also seen dogs who are not very flashy or high scoring when it comes to obedience, who I've heard were all lights on and serious business when it came to field. Goldens and labs...

Heck, I've also met goldens who got titles in all sports, but who only had fun in agility according to their owners. :)

I have seen some wild goldens who are also OTCH dogs. According to somebody on this forum who enjoys insulting people and their dogs, these are just badly trained dogs. :(


ETA - please disregard. I was going to just delete, but I didn't want people to just assume I said something mean. :(
 

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Sort of wrong, sort of right. Agility, OB, and hunt all require that the dog is paying close attention to its handler.

In OB heeling, ideally, you want the heel to look like a dance in which the handler is the leading partner and the dog the follower, but the cues are so subtle, it looks like the team is moving in unison without a follower or leader, just like in a good human pair of dancers. It requires the dog is completely focused on the handler and ignoring everything around him to avoid missing the subtle cues.

In a good agility team, the dog is extremely focused on its handler, much more so than you might think as an observer. The dog has to know which obstacle to take next. He can't read the numbers on the course, so he has to rely on the person to "tell" (more often give a body cue) where to go. Dogs have a wider field of peripheral vision than humans do, because their eyes are more angled to the side of their head. They also hear the handler's footfalls. Dogs, as a rule, process body cues faster than verbal cues. They not only need to know where to go next; they usually need that information a jump ahead so they can switch leads in time. (When dogs spin before or after a jump in agility, it is usually because they are leading with the wrong foot and are trying to adjust.) In a good agility team, the human handler has to be aware of what her (the handler's) body cues are telling the dog to do and whether she is giving the information in time. The reason good agility trainers are EXTREMELY reluctant to ever correct a dog for taking the wrong obstacle is that, more often than not, the handler has given the wrong cue or given the cue too late for the dog to adjust. A dog given bad cues and eager to please will learn to slow down to make sure that he is reading his person correctly and he may even angle his head towards the handler to get a better view, which will slow him down even more. Once a dog gets in the habit to slowing down to adjust to the handler's slow/bad cues, it is very, very hard to get that speed back. My first agility dog, a speed-demon of a standard poodle, successfully learned to slow down to adjust to my slowness, and that was back in the day (mid-1990s) when agility trainers would actually advise a handler to get their dog to go slower. (No good agility trainer would ever give that advice today.)

In hunt/field, a dog obviously has to pay attention to the whistles and casts on a blind. The dog should also be able to heel nicely to the mat. The criteria for the heeling to the mat are much less stringent than in competitive OB, but, in some ways, are harder for the dog to adhere to. The dog is normally very excited and eager to get to the mat. The ground is often uneven, or rocky, or sloping. The handler may be well past his/her glory days of youth and be worried about slipping or stumbling. A dog that heels well to the mat is, like the agility dog, very aware of where the handler is using peripheral vision and hearing but is also looking forward scanning the layout for the mat and the guns. Some hunt/field trainers will say that OB dogs are trained to pay too close attention to the handler. If only! Believe me, a competitive OB dog is NOT going to be looking at its handler on the way to mat.
Thank you!
Sorry, did not intend to knock agility at all, but I don’t feel that I know enough about field work to make a statement about it so agility seemed like a safer bet.
 

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The dog should also be able to heel nicely to the mat.
I suppose they should and some dogs do. If your dog hammers the marks the judges never remember how he heeled to the line.
This is part of knowing your dog. Some very headstrong dogs need discipline all the way to the line. Others are able to focus on the marks better if they are more relaxed. There are many of both and all sorts in between. Both my current dogs will be in front of me walking to the line, but they are looking for the gun stations. I have no problem with that, if they were simply charging to the line I would not allow it.
 

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I've always thought that the difference between a sport like field and a sport like obedience is that when you do field work with a dog, you use the traits and instincts that the dog already has and typically when the dogs are out there and they know there's birds out there, all the lights are on and gears ready to go.
NOPE

It's not all instincts.
YES we actively choose dogs who love birds, have good eyes and can mark, and want to swim, and all that jazz. The retriever breeds are uniquely designed to have good eyesight and the seek-and-find and bring-back-to-the-pack parts of the carnivore hunter behavior chain is intensified. They are physically suited to their jobs, long legs and boat-like bodies to breathe easily while running and be buoyant. They are also incredibly biddable and pliable because their job is working alone with their owner to hunt and taking directions from the hunter, not independently finding game away from the hunter like a spaniel, setter, pointer or hound. That's that "non-slip retriever" we hear about.

In the basic level field events (Junior Hunter & WC) the dog IS basically running off instinct. It's very little training involved, and all the handler does is let them go and grab the bird when the dog gets back with it. The dog is on it's own to find the bird.

In advanced field work (Senior on up) it's a whole nuther ballgame. YES we expect the dog to mark and find the birds with their own faculties. They also have to learn marking concepts, see pictures formed by the terrain, and understand how to properly navigate these factors to successfully retrieve the mark. That is ANYTHING BUT instinct. The only instinct there is to be biddable to the handler. In fact, most of what we ask them to do is completely UNnatural and totally against their instincts. Sit quietly until sent? No way, they want to take off immediately. Stop and take direction from the handler? No, they want to run around like an idiot and scare up birds. Take a straight line through water 2 feet off shore? Well that's dumb, it's way faster to run around. Those are just the easy examples. And remember, in competition, they are asked to remember these things on new ponds and fields they've never seen, that are completely different than any other place they have been. They have ten seconds to evaluate their surroundings and understand what is expected, to generalize the concept and apply it. FAR from instinctual. But they get so good at this, experienced dogs can "know" a test without seeing a single bird be thrown. Ask me how many times Bally has headswung off the long gun before it was in the air, only to absolutely step on this retired bird when sent for it. He recognized the setup and knew which way the bird was going to be thrown, because he's seen it over and over and over in training, albeit at a different field, but one look at the guns and he knows the setup.

When I say you can "see gears turning" with a good advanced field dog, I don't mean they have a big motor and they crash through the field headlong after birds.
I mean you can tell the dog is thinking, evaluating, adjusting and being very careful about their choices in how they retrieve. They will correct their lines if they realize they aren't making the right choice, en route to a bird. It's quite amazing actually.

So imagine my eyes glazing over when I see dogs that just are not focused on their owners at all. Or if they are, it's the barest fraction of what I have and value in my dogs. I acknowledge that a huge chunk of that is foundation and conditioning.
I see what you're saying, and understand. Field dogs (both labs & goldens, field trial pedigrees) CAN be very environmental and reactive. It CAN help them in the field. It can hurt them in obedience. What makes them see every inch of a bird 400 yards away also means they notice a shadow on the ground in the obedience ring that distracted them when other dogs didn't pay any attention to it. They may be more fight-or-flight reactive, to a startling sound, which is not great when you want a bombproof obedience ring dog. A friend of mine bought a field labrador for obedience and can tell you all about this....and she won the NOC with him. BUT --- a lot of that is training. If you buy an animal like that you have to mold him into the picture of what you want. Maybe these people just didn't want that picture. They wanted to do field work and dabbled in obedience. Who knows.

My BF's older Golden is field trial pedigree. She is the LEAST trainable and biddable dog I've trained. You train her an hour to get a minute's improvement. She's impulsive, reactive, spastic, lightening fast and literally cannot think straight when she is amped up. She is VERY DIFFICULT to train in the field. She has a very mediocre field record to go along with that. She didn't have the best foundation of training (basics glanced over), and she literally loses her MIND at field events and marks like garbage. It's REALLY difficult to get anywhere with this dog. My show goldens are a thousand times easier to train in the field. She had her CDX with all first places and high scores before she was two. Obedience was so boring, and so non-rewarding, that she could think straight and was happy to do tricks for treats. Very deceiving!
 

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Take a straight line through water 2 feet off shore? Well that's dumb, it's way faster to run around.
I have always wondered why that’s a rule. I can’t get my engineer’s brain to wrap around making them do something that is less efficient.
 

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I have always wondered why that’s a rule. I can’t get my engineer’s brain to wrap around making them doing something that is less efficient.
That's what everyone says! (Me too) I was told that if you're just hunting with a dog and will never do trials/tests, you want them to do the efficient thing (run around the water if possible etc) but if you're doing trials or tests, you want them to play by the "rules of the game" so to speak.
 

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I have always wondered why that’s a rule. I can’t get my engineer’s brain to wrap around making them doing something that is less efficient.
It isn't actually a "Rule". I think most understand that retriever field trials consist of marking tests and blind retrieves. In a marking test, there is no line to a mark. We teach dogs to run a straight path to a mark because that is their best chance of finding it without having to hunt. Judges place the marks carefully according to the terrain, wind, cover, water, etc. With well placed birds, dogs that cheat cover of fail to fight the factors will put themselves in a poor position and are less likely to find the mark.
Blind retrieves are a test of control. There is a "corridor" to a blind and you need to keep your dog in it, "Challenge" the blind. Part of that corridor may involve swimming down a shore. Staying within 2 feet of shore is not a requirement but it looks impressive and you are being judged relative to the field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #140 ·
In a sport like obedience, have literally had instructors tell me that it doesn't matter if I have a retriever, that I have to teach retrieves the same as if my dog was a pomeranian or a collie, because there will always be a time and situation where the dog will not "want" to go fetch a dumbbell. And basically there's no instincts for going over a jump or whatnot - everything is taught from scratch.
There has never been a time where either of mine didn't "want" to retrieve! With Pilot it does not matter what it is. We had a judge drop her pen in the ring. It was ALL he could do not to pick it up for her! Doesn't matter what's in the way. They will go get it and bring it back? Was it due to my training? Maybe.....I started when they were babies. By the time they were 7 or 8 months old, they were learning to wait to be sent. I think a lot of it is instinct though. The very worst thing for them is not allowing them to retrieve! Throwing it right the first time is imperative with them!
 
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