AKC Hunt Test

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John S
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AKC Hunt Test

Post by John S » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:41 am

I've been considering entering Scout in an upcoming AKC hunt test for a Junior title. Unfortunately there is no one in my are that I have found to help prepare for the test. I've read the AKC rules, and I've read the Tips thread on this forum but I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Can anyone offer additional insight as to how these tests work and any other tips? One thing that concerns me is that I am a DV with somewhat limited mobility. How much of a hindrance would this be during a test?

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by cjhills » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:20 am

all a junior dogs needs to do is hunt a little and point a bird for a reasonable amount of time. If you are close enough to flush the bird or if the dog flushes or the bird flushes on it's own you fire your blank gun. Dog can chase catch, retrieve, eat or do whatever to the bird. Any reasonably talent dog should pass a junior. Tests are generally 20 minutes.
Be aware of the fact that if you are intending to go on to higher levels, a dog can learn many bad habits in junior tests. Some can resurface when he gets n the same test scenario at a higher level. For this reason we skip Junior
If you can walk reasonably well and can get to the dog on point you shouldn't have a problem. Don't have to be fast.................................Cj

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John S
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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by John S » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:33 am

Thanks CJ,
Sounds like Scout should do fine on the test since he scored very well on the NAVHDA NA test in the field work. I was a little concerned about how long he needs to hold point but it sounds as if we will be ok. I assume no verbal or whistle commands are recommended during the test.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by Neil » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:12 am

People take hunting tests and field trials very seriously, spending lots of time and money preparing. Most are very welcoming and will help new people. But you owe it to the sport to go to a couple to observe, learn, and then go back to train to that level.

Would you enter a golf tournament if all you had done was play putt putt and read the rules?

Many clubs have training days that are very helpful.

We were all new once, so don't let that hold you back, often the judges, the marshall, and even your bracemate's handler will help you. But you need to see at least one HT to get a basic idea.

Good luck, sounds like you have a really nice dog.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by DonF » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:04 am

Keep one thing in mind. You could be able to tell the rules blindfolded word for word. The first time will still overwhelm you a bit. Doesn't last that long for most. About half way around it goes away. Go watch a couple. If they still allow a gallery, walk a few braces.
I pity the man that has never been loved by a dog!

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by cjhills » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:39 pm

John S wrote:Thanks CJ,
Sounds like Scout should do fine on the test since he scored very well on the NAVHDA NA test in the field work. I was a little concerned about how long he needs to hold point but it sounds as if we will be ok. I assume no verbal or whistle commands are recommended during the test.
Junior is comparable without water. If your dog did well in the pointing and hunting part of NA he will do fine.
You should also be allowed to set your own pace, some judges on horses will try to push you but that is against AKC policies and if there is a rep they won't allow it. I'm old and crippled and I still do it. Passed every junior I ever entered. You can use any means you like to handle the dog in junior. Most handlers don't use whistles in senior or master out of respect for their brass mate, plus very little handling is required at that level. Go for it Cj

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by Jagerdawg » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:11 am

Go have fun. Sounds like your dog is ready for the junior level for sure. Just be aware unlike the NA test you will run with a brace mate and the judges will be riding horses likely. It would be a good thing exposing your dog beforehand. Really just go have a good time and don't be afraid to ask questions.

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Tooling
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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by Tooling » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:49 am

You have received some outstanding advice. I have owned a few GSP's but our new boy is the first one we got involved in the hunt games with. Your dog will LOVE them. My dog does and so do I to an extent. My dog is JH and on the other side of his title...it was a mistake in the grand scheme of things as cjhills eluded to and I actually had this same opinion from day one however I "listened" to some dog people but more importantly made the mistake of trying to give the judges what they wanted...that was MY mistake. In my case my pup had enough natural to build on to take him straight into Senior. Don't misunderstand me...he wasn't really "ready" for Senior as he was running on naturals which is just not reliable when it counts however running him through Junior took him backwards and that sucks for him and for me. There are many there ready to help but there are more folks there to virtually shove their advice down your throat because they have their own idea of what a bird dog looks like and as harsh as it sounds it is as if their salt as a dog trainer hinges on their being right. My advice to you and reiterated upon in previous posts...attend a few without running your dog and quietly observe the many dogs and different clubs to see what your pup knows and what your pup does not know according to the club you are at and their idea of what a bird dog is. Folks will deny this and it may start a war of sorts but regardless of what people say different breed owners have different ideas of what a bird dog is and although people will proclaim objectivity..that is just BS. Of course I am painting with BROAD strokes here. You are a guest there and for example..a Spinone owner/club believes a dog should basically be at your feet...if you have a hard charging fast paced GSP that likes to stretch his legs feeling right at home w/other GSP's and EP's alike, lets just say the judges can be rather funny with many different personalities. This sounds funny but train your ear to listen to who/what you should listen to. I have had some REALLY quirky judges. Understand this..tests have NOTHING to do with real world hunting which is simply perplexing to me. Once he understands the gig and you learn to tune out the BS and hunt WITH YOUR DOG and ONLY your dog your pup will LOVE playing these games and his/her test scores will be high. Me (liking the games)...not so much but to try and say that once he earns that title and although it is not a very significant one it is likely you will have to wipe a tear away from pride having watched your pup learn in the field and then take it to the test. KNOW your dog and do NOT let anybody hack on you to the point that you pull your dog off of the things he knows...so you fail a test, "F" it...it means nothing and there's always another day. It is also very good in the sense that if you stick with it, it will inspire you to train your dog to a higher level so in the end...it's a good thing. Good Luck and have fun!!

Just want to add...understand that you will be with a partner and your dogs bracemate..show them the utmost of courtesy and do not interfere with their test. If your dog has gotten what he needs try to lay back and let the other dog get it done too without your dogs influence which can be a distraction. Courtesy goes a long way...

Take it from me..don't talk back to the judges, just ignore them if they are hacking on you. Make no mistake they WILL take their displeasure with you out on your dog through his/her score...again, rather broad strokes but it does exist in the game.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by RoostersMom » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:26 am

John,

To add to this, I wouldn't worry one bit about your "scores." This is a pass/fail test. You just want to pass. Scoring is the most arbitrary thing I've ever seen and I've done JH with several foster dogs (and two of my own) and then skipped SH totally and got a MH on my Vizsla. I would pay absolutely zero attention to the scores - they mean nothing. I've seen judges put them on the cards later, at a table, after your run (and a few others) once the dogs have passed. I've also seen our family dog get perfect 10's at a JH test (and he didn't do anything different than his buddy did that day - buddy got an average of an 8 ).

Just go out there - tell your judge you're new (hope you don't draw first so you can go walk another brace so you can really see what the course looks like) - and take your dog "hunting." It's your time to show off your dog - do what you can to make him look good, but in JH, he can even flash point, bust a bird or trap (catch) a bird and not be penalized.

For the same reason some folks here don't do JH, I don't do SH - it is a bad way for a good dog to learn poor habits. If I want a broke dog, then I just skip SH (because too many dogs aren't truly broke and will mess with your dog's performance) and go straight to MH. JH is for babies and newbies....they can do no wrong and it's a good experience for them to get out and see new things. If you see a bad habit starting - then just take a step back and train more.

Just go out and have fun with your dog.
Last edited by RoostersMom on Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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John S
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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by John S » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:29 am

Thanks for all the advice, I do truly appreciate it and you all have given me sufficient food for thought. Two things in particular that concern me now, one is horses. Scout has never been around them, not even sure where I can bring him to acclimate him to them. but I do have a couple of ideas. The other is running with a bracemate, not too sure how he is going to handle that since he has not hunted with other dogs. So far all interaction with other dogs has been play time. Maybe it is something I can get to work on this weekend at our NAVHDA chapter clinic.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by shags » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:00 am

John,
You mentioned in your original post that you're a DV and I didn't see that issue addressed here.

First, thank you for your service to our country.

AKC has policies in effect for the disabled at field trials, so I would think they would extend to hunt tests as well. You might try calling the Performance Events department to inquire. If you're able to get around on your own and don't require motorized equipment, you might mention that when you submit your entries so the secretary can make note of it and inform the judges. Ad when you bring your dog to the line, it would help if you informed your bracemate and the judges if you feel it's necessary (condition of the grounds, weather, etc). If they're aware, then they can figure out how to handle the situation so everyone gets a fair shake.

Good luck and have fun!

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by RoostersMom » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:12 am

Shags,

Good points.

John - ditto what Shags said on Thanks for your service, my dad is retired Navy and we've a bunch of vets in our family.

I have run braces with folks just out of hip surgery, sprained ankle, etc. Just let the judges know you're not going to be running through the field - and if you have a good bracemate - he'll slow down and walk with you. If he/or she doesn't do that, don't feel bad - they are likely just trying to run their dog to the best of it's ability. It's good when the dogs go to different parts of the field anyway. You don't need to be keeping up with your bracemate - a little separation is good for the dogs, especially in JH.

Just work on your dog's recall - that's about the only thing I'd worry much about - because it can get you out of trouble by pulling him away from the other dog and also calling him back to work different areas. Don't overhandle your dog - the more commands you give, the more chance for him to blow you off.

Most of all - just have fun - most people I've met at HT's are friendly and welcoming - I hope your experience is the same as mine.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by SpringerDude » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:16 am

Just a thought... if you are going to an AKC Hunt Test that is close enough for you to want to attend, contact the event chair or secretary and see if they know anyone close to you that is in their club or a club close by. Then see if you can go train with them and get their input. It would be worth the drive to go train with folks that have run in an AKC Hunt Test.

I know, sometimes it isn't feasible to do that. I was in that situation a few years back. But if you can, it would greatly help you understand the test and how it is administered and judged.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by High Voltage » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:07 am

All I can add is you should check with your NAVHDA chapter and see if anyone has a horse(s) that will help you intro your pup to them. If they don't check with the HT secretary and see if they know of anyone close to you that might be able to help with horse intro.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by shags » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:18 pm

Or just get to the tests early and ask someone about a horse intro there. It usually isn't a big deal for the dog after the first few minutes. In the field, the dog might check them out again because he's curious about you in relation to the horse ( since you'll be walking in front of the horse). Once he sees it's no big deal to you, he'll be done with it.

Most judges won't knock the dog for a little bit of checking out the horses, but might if it is excessive.

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Re: AKC Hunt Test

Post by deseeker » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:24 pm

Some of the hunt tests are starting to use ATVs to judge off of. It might not hurt to follow your dog around with the lawn mower to get it used to being followed around by a motor :roll: Good luck in your test.

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