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Laura,

 

In our region the classes are:

 

Novice-Novice: gather, wear, pen

Pro-Novice: gather, drive, pen

Ranch (or Open-Ranch): gather, drive, cross-drive, pen

 

Gathers increase in length with each increase in level (as the field permits).

Sometimes PN will have a short cross-drive.

 

 

 

Mark

 

 

Mark ,

 

Thanks for posting the differences in your area. I had not thought about Pro/Novice having a different course in different parts of the country. I am in CA and in the area I trial in , as well as the trials in Oregon my dog has gone to, the Pro/Novice is a gather, drive, cross-drive, pen. It is the same course as the Nursery. Some the of times they will run the P/N and Nursery as the same class and you sign up for which section you want to be judged in , or you can add a bit of money and be judged for both divisions at the same time, assuming your dog is also eligible for the Nursery.

 

We have Novice/Novice (not very often) , Nursery, Pro/Novice and Open only.

 

Carolyn

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I just wanted to point out that I don't think that going to the post on-leash, at any level, is either good or bad, and I apologize if it seemed like a judgmental question. Honestly, I was just curious if it was a regional thing, if handlers were more laid back in some parts than others, and what the thinking for either camp might be.

 

I dont think that you were being judgmental or anything of the sort. You brough up a good subject, that brought a lot of good information to the table, and I for one enjoyed particapating in it. I not only learned a few new things about training, but about fellow handlers and thier training methods that have helped them to become successful handlers/ trainers as well. It was educational, and enriching to have such an informative and stockdog based subject. Keep em coming! Darci

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Robin put up a good question on "Ask the Expert" about going to the post on lead, and Mrs. Lambert answered, with what I thought was an interesting answer, given the tone of the thread that initiated the question. Not necessarily coming from a top open handlers point of view, but more over from her perspective as a judge, has it given anyone cause to think about dropping the lead when walking to the post. How I read it, translated to me, that by going to the post off lead, in a relaxed, positive, and confident manner with your dog at your side, ( or close by) what ever the class, was about presentation as well. ( given the comment of waiting for the other shoe to drop) Do you think how we present ourselves and our dogs as we come on the field has any bearing on the judging? Or the judges perspective of the handler or thier handling/ training abilities? Or do you think the judging starts after you send you dog, and its all about the run?

 

( Mrs. Lambert's comments )

"I know when I'm judging I always look askance at this and am waiting for the other shoe to fall. Having your dog walk around with you and behave properly is elementary for a stock dog. They need to be under control around stock and anything else in life so they are available to work"

 

"I don't like to see a dog go to the post on a leash. I feel that the handler should at least be able to walk to the post with their dog under control no matter what bad things may happen next"

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As a foot note, I'd like to ask, for those that judge, or have judged, does a handler bringing a dog on the trial field on lead, tend to sway the way you look more closely ( I dont want to say, to pick it apart, ) at the abilities of the handler and dogs work during thier run? Does it make you look at other parts of a run to see if a handler has more, or less control of the situation? Ive always heard, that first impressions are lasting imperssions. I ask, because I am fairly rigid in my training, ( especially in how we go to the post) and am trying to justify wether it is necessary to have such a regimine to be competitive, (or at least give the impression that we "look" :rolleyes: competitive ) Id like to understand, if how we come on the field, and present ourselves from the very begining of a run, has any bearing on how you look at and judge the run as a whole.

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You probably already know what I'm going to say, but I'll say it anyway. The judging is supposed to be about how the dog gets the sheep around the course, not how the dog gets to the post. A judge who would let the actions of the handler up to the point of sending the dog (i.e., to have the dog on a leash) affect the judging of that dog's run is not judging properly IMO. That said, I can see where a judge might wonder if the dog is really capable of the work if it can't even go to the post off lead, but I don't think that going to the post on lead can actually be used as a "predictor" of bad things to come, since I've seen some very nice open dogs go to the post on lead and have some very nice runs.

 

I've judged just once, and it was a lower class (P/N), so I don't have tons of judging experience to draw from. I have, however, gone to judging clinics with some of the best of the best, and I have to say that all jdging concentrated on what happened once the dog left the handler's feet, and no mention was ever made of walking the dog to the post on a leash or even how the handler set the dog up at the post (we've seen and perhaps done the "grab the collar to put the dog in position" thing--should that also be faulted? It gets to be a slippery slope.).

 

This part of the question:

tend to sway the way you look more closely ( I dont want to say, to pick it apart, ) at the abilities of the handler and dogs work during thier run?

sort of disturbs me. The handler's handling skill/ability or whatever you want to call it isn't really on the plate either (other than how that ability or lack thereof affects the correctness of the way the sheep move around the course). So I don't see how a judge can see a dog on a leash and then decide to "pick apart" or examine more closely the handling. Handling is individualistic, and there would be no way to fairly judge one handler's style against another's. That's why the judge is supposed to be judging the sheep/dog (and even how much the dog can be judged is open to debate). There have been some long discussions on other lists about the most obvious aspect of handling--whistle commands, with the most heated discussions centering around how much whistling is appropriate on the fetch. I don't want to rehash that here, but it is a prime example of handling style, and can a judge really fault a person who whistles nonstop but has a good/near perfect line, say, on the drive away, over the person who sets their dog on a line and gives just a *few* whistles to correct that line? In the end, it's the line that's judged, not the handler.

 

So in general, I think any judge's perceptions of a handler may be somewhat colored by any number of things (what about the handler who doesn't whistle, but yells over the entire course?), but ultimately the correct judge will judge only what happens on the course.

 

Just my non-judging opinion of course.

 

J.

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Oh no...I'm sunk!

 

Im not so sure about that Laurae, as Julie said,

 

The judging is supposed to be about how the dog gets the sheep around the course, not how the dog gets to the post

 

I feel, that, with all due respect to the judges, that this much should hold true. Judges are , like the rest of us, individuals, and I feel that they have thier own criteria about some things. ( perhaps those things that they can control themselves, that are not in the rule book) Though still being relitivly new to the sport of trialing, in my mind, the judge is the one that you ultimatly have to impress and please, during the run, and perhaps I take alot much to seriously, and expect to be judged from the time my dog and I start to walk to the post, till we walk off. Kinda like a job interview, you are looked at and critiqued from the time you open the door and enter the office, till the interview is over, and you walk out.

 

Julie, as always, you have given a very well thought out, well worded, and informational post, as well as a lot for me to digest, and sort out and see where this line of thinking could help me better my handling/training, and overall attitude about trialing. I will have to think about it all a little longer, and probably read it a few more times, before I can give any type of response that would do your advise any justice. As my point here, is not to instagate, or argue, but to learn.

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Just to reinforce the point that Bev Lambert made re leashes going to the post,(not that she needs support),I too get apprehensive when I see the dog on a leash .I make a point of mentioning it to my scribe when I see it.It gives a somewhat negative impression of control.It does not influence how I judge the run however.But human nature being what it is ,if you have a negative initial feeling ,then unconscientiously more points may be deducted than on another run.

 

Another point was made above about her dog not wanting to be too close to her at the post.Be warned that there is a limit on distance from the handler/post.Points may be deducted if the distance is greater than 4 yds.Ten yds is also mentioned with greater deductions.This distance is quite often disregarded by even the best open handlers ,again it is difficult to determine if the judge pointed it or not, but maybe that is why some complain about points off on the outrun when they see their dog arrive at the top in what appears to be the correct spot.Sending the dog before the handler arrives at the post is also a common open handler fault.

 

As for excessive commands,this has been debated many times on Sheepdog-L.If you review the USBCHA judging guidelines ,the subject is mentioned under the Lift,Fetch and Drive.Points are most often deducted on the lift for excessive commands and as stated in the guidelines 1/2 -1 point per command after the first two.Usually though this is not applied unless the dog is definitely slow to lift.The fetch and drive point deductions for excessive commands is 1-4.Of course "excessive commands" is in the judgement of the judge and the circumstances.A handler would probably not be able to determine if he/she was penalized for this except on the lift when it is most obvious.

 

The above are just some of the things that I have noticed when judging and when just observing runs.Since many on this Board are novice handlers I thought it might be advantageous to point these matters out,as they do apply to points made on this thread.

 

Jim Murphy

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The above are just some of the things that I have noticed when judging and when just observing runs.Since many on this Board are novice handlers I thought it might be advantageous to point these matters out,as they do apply to points made on this thread.

 

 

 

Oh, I think they absolutly do apply, as a majority of us handling in the lower classes, do aspire to one day particapate in open.

 

 

I too get apprehensive when I see the dog on a leash .I make a point of mentioning it to my scribe when I see it.It gives a somewhat negative impression of control.It does not influence how I judge the run however.But human nature being what it is ,if you have a negative initial feeling ,then unconscientiously more points may be deducted than on another run.

 

 

This was what I was wondering, though it doesnt influence how you judge, it could be cause for points off, because of an intitial impression. I tend to be competitive by nature, and hence, my ideas are formed due to my nature. When I go at some thing, I can be rather anal about it, and lean towards perfection (wether I get there is a whole nuther story :rolleyes: ) but being competitive by nature, makes me try to complete each phase of the work so that the whole picture flows along from begining to end, ( from one phase to another )hopefully giving it an effortless and perfect ( to the best of my ability )picture. I tend to look at what I expect in the end product from the very begining. I understand that in stockdog training, alot of the "polish" comes later in the training, but I also, for the same token, think that, that is how we leave holes in our training, because we expect things to come later, that we could be working on sooner, instead of finding those holes on the trial field, and getting points off. Again, it is my competitiveness, having the idea of doing well, and getting a decent score, and even perhaps placing, that drives me to these notions. Wether they're right or wrong, I cannot exbound upon, because I havent enough experience to base it on. But I like to know what is expected, more than simply what my dog and I can get by with. Please dont hold that last sentence aginst me, it is not aimed at anyone, just my way of thinking. ( I did say I was rather anal)

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Hey Jim, thanks for the input! As a matter of practicality I have to say that I don't think I've ever seen someone set their dog up four yards away, much less 10 yards away, but I obviously haven't been to every trial there is to see. And I still contend that what's unacceptable in open may be less of an "issue" in the lower classes.

 

The point with the excessive commands wasn't to actually discuss excessive commands themselves, but rather to point out that handling style isn't something that can be judged (in the sense that if you don't like me bringing my dog to the post on a leash, you still can't penalize me for that in your judging of my run by scrutinizing my "style.") Despite all the hashing out on that subject *and* the fact that the judging guidelines allow points off for excessive commands, I don't think too many top handlers, especially those who whistle *a lot*, have ever wondered if they've had points deducted off the fetch for too much whistling. I'd be willing to bet it's the rare judge who would hit any of the Big Hats for that "fault." So like many things with judging guidelines, what's allowed and what's actually done in practice can be quite different.

 

I think this is a good point:

It gives a somewhat negative impression of control.It does not influence how I judge the run however.But human nature being what it is ,if you have a negative initial feeling ,then unconscientiously more points may be deducted than on another run.

 

I guess a handler just needs to realize that if s/he makes a negative impression going to the post, or knows the judge just plain doesn't like him/her, or any of the other little things that *could* influence the judging, then that handler better be prepared to lay down a faultless run, or nearly so, so that the judge can't let those little influences affect (consciously or not) the scoring.

 

Jim,

Are y'all heading south this winter?

 

J.

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I understand that in stockdog training, alot of the "polish" comes later in the training, but I also, for the same token, think that, that is how we leave holes in our training, because we expect things to come later, that we could be working on sooner, instead of finding those holes on the trial field, and getting points off.

 

Darci,

I think a truly competitive person would never just not go back and fix the holes (lack of polish) that appear on the trial field. If you don't fix them, you'll never be competitive in open anyway. Expecting perfection before ever stepping out there is a nice sentiment, but the fact is that no trial field is *exactly* like home, so no matter how well prepared you are, sh** may happen. And you will have to be prepared to deal with it as it happens. I think where we're all getting caught up is in the idea of perfection. It's a nice sentiment, but I just don't think you can achieve it on the trial field any other way than by putting miles on--on the trial field. Some top hands can achieve that much more quickly than the rest of us, but I can assure you not even the best always go out and have a perfect run, and perhaps not even a majority of the time. They just have a better run than everyone else.

 

When I used to show dressage, we always schooled at a level higher than what we competed at (i.e., if I was showing 3rd level, I was training 4th at home), BUT I still never entered that ring thinking that any amount of perfection we achieved in the home arena was going to guarantee perfection in front of that judge.

 

And that brings another point to mind. Say you know a judge firmly believes a dog needs to go to 12 o'clock to turn in for the lift. If 12 isn't the right place given the pressure, this judge believes that the dog should still turn in at 12, but *then* adjust its position to cover the draw. So if the dog turns in at a point that covers the draw instead of going to 12 first, the dog will be hit X amount of points by that judge. Normally your dog covers the top without your help and generally you get scores of 20-10. Would you change your method *for that particular judge* or would you do what you think is right and take the hit? Which way of working is "perfection"?

 

J.

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I've judged a few times and i don't deduct points for a dog being on leash. That said, I think it's just ugly to go out all the way to the post with a dog on leash. Same as I think it's ugly to be running at the Open or Open Ranch level and screaming your guts out because you don't use a whistle or haven'tput whistles on the dog. Neither looks very good to other handlers, the judge, or the spectators.

 

I wonder though - it's *possible* a judge could consider a leash (once you've entered the field) a "training aid".....

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Same as I think it's ugly to be running at the Open or Open Ranch level and screaming your guts out because you don't use a whistle or haven'tput whistles on the dog.

I have to agree that yelling because you can't or haven't put whistles on your dog is pretty ugly (this is not to be confused with the handler who uses whistles but occasionally has to yell because that perfect dog is ignoring the whistles! :rolleyes: ). I really cringe whenever I hear a handler yelling the dog around a course (in open ranch or open, not so much the two lower classes, largely probably because you don't have to yell so loud when the course is small). Another thing I find odd/ugly at the post is the handler who waves his/her stick to try and get the dog to take a particular flank. While this may make a bit of sense on the fetch when the dog can actually see the waving stick or your moving body, it's completely off the wall to be doing that on the drive when the dog can't possibly see (or be influenced by) that waving stick (unless your dog is constantly looking back at you, which is a whole 'nother problem).

 

Maybe we should start a discussion of ugly things one should avoid doing when trialing....

 

J.

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And I still contend that what's unacceptable in open may be less of an "issue" in the lower classes.

 

 

Bear with me here Julie, as my first thought to this is,: Old habits die hard. If we think of the little things, as less of an issue, are we not setting ourselves up for a fall later when we progress to more stringent classes only to find that some things are less acceptable by a loss of points for a run? Or do we hope that some where along the way some kind soul will walk up and tell us we'd better not do that on the open course hopefully before we get there, and not as we're walking off.

 

Expecting perfection before ever stepping out there is a nice sentiment, but the fact is that no trial field is *exactly* like home, so no matter how well prepared you are, sh** may happen. And you will have to be prepared to deal with it as it happens. I think where we're all getting caught up is in the idea of perfection. It's a nice sentiment, but I just don't think you can achieve it on the trial field any other way than by putting miles on--on the trial field. Some top hands can achieve that much more quickly than the rest of us, but I can assure you not even the best always go out and have a perfect run, and perhaps not even a majority of the time. They just have a better run than everyone else.

 

 

This makes sence, and really makes me feel a need to try to change some of my points of view, as it is logical, I like and can relate to logical. (some where there must be a vulcan in my family tree) Although perfection really is a nice sentiment, it really isnt as reality based as one would like for it to be. Thank you for reminding me.

 

 

And that brings another point to mind. Say you know a judge firmly believes a dog needs to go to 12 o'clock to turn in for the lift. If 12 isn't the right place given the pressure, this judge believes that the dog should still turn in at 12, but *then* adjust its position to cover the draw. So if the dog turns in at a point that covers the draw instead of going to 12 first, the dog will be hit X amount of points by that judge. Normally your dog covers the top without your help and generally you get scores of 20-10. Would you change your method *for that particular judge* or would you do what you think is right and take the hit? Which way of working is "perfection

 

 

I guess this would be the point where you would want to know who was judging, before you entered a trial?

 

 

I wonder though - it's *possible* a judge could consider a leash (once you've entered the field) a "training aid".....

 

Robin had this little tid bit of mighty input. I wonder too? I had hoped to hear from more folks that had judged, to hear thier philosophies and ideas. Though those that have up to this point have been appreciated.

 

I cant find the other statement made that I wanted to comment on, but Ihope this discussion will continue, and I'll find it in here some where along the way. For those that have been reading along, please particapate, as everyones ideas and opinions are of value. Im sure Julie and I seem as if were playing a game of ping pong, but I'll bet we'd both enjoy a game moe like volley ball, where theres more players.

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Well, I must admit I'm a little surprised at the negative sentiment expressed here about going to the post with the dog on a leash. For one thing, my mentor, who was one of this country's very top handlers, used to do this regularly in open with certain dogs. Top dogs.

 

I've done it for years, in open, and interestingly, I don't think I even started doing it until I'd been running in open for a few years. I do it because I want to be able to focus on the sheep being set and know where my dog is so I can observe its reactions to them. I don't want having to keep track of my dog to interfere with my concentration as I enter the field. I normally stop and remove the leash before I get to the post.

 

I would like to add that the only two times I've ever had a dog leave my feet on an outrun before they were sent at a trial, it was a pretty big deal both times. The first time was at the National Finals in OK in 2000. Joy (my now open dog Zeke's mom) for whatever reason, took off as we walked to the post. I called her back to my feet and sent her again but she was a fast outrunner and had gotten an unacceptable ways away from me by then. I thought we might even be DQed but instead they took about half her outrun points, even though she ran out perfectly the second time. The second time was Mick on his first run at International Invitational trial Soldier Hollow in UT in 2005. This caused him to not spot his sheep well enough in a difficult setting. Mick, who is if nothing else a really good natural outrunner, had trouble on the outrun because of this. I reiterate these dogs had never ever done this before. Now, the first time I had driven 1,200 miles and the second time over 2,000 miles and these were both major trials. It only takes once or twice of something like this happening completely unexpectedly for you to think it's not such a bad thing to take them to the post on a leash.

 

It never occurred to me that judges might take off points, or that it was casting a poor light on my run from the start. Huh. I really don't notice who does and doesn't bring their dog to the post on a leash.

 

As for the 12 o'clock judge no matter where balance at the top really is -- there's no way I'm going to make or train my dog to go to 12 o'clock no matter where the pressure is. I like to run in trials with really fresh tough sheep and I figure it'd only take a time or two of doing this and losing control of the sheep for that dog to not trust me as well. I've seen quite of few of these 12 o'clock judges from overseas. Many judges have their quirks or ideas I disagree with. I just take my licks and go on. That's dog trialin'.

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I've seen Alasdair go to the post with his dog on a leash. A flexi, at that. I doubt the judges on those occasions took anything off for it. Nor should they for anyone else.

 

Since the "training device" rule specifies that training devices include "a leash or rope that is not detached before the dog is sent," I think the inescapable inference would be that a leash or rope that IS detached before the dog is sent is not considered a training device.

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Would you change your method *for that particular judge* or would you do what you think is right and take the hit?

 

I don't try to change the way I run my dogs to suit what is perceived to be the judge's scoring. I try to run my dogs in a way that will bring the best out of us (me and my dog) and let the judge take care of the score.

 

Mark

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Thanks, Denise, for your positive comments. I was starting to feel those familiar prickles of embarassment developing.

 

I never took Breezy to the post on a leash until she surprised me by taking off early at the 2005 Grass Creek trial (big trial, hefty entry fee). By doing so, it set up a horrendous fetch, since the sheep were not even set yet. Since that incident, I do not take chances and I keep her on leash. I guess I will just have to suffer the board member's bad judgement of my actions. However, Breezy and I came in 5th out of 133 at the same trial this year. A bit of a brag, yes, but an example of how it did not interfere with the judging.

 

Julie, you mentioned how ugly it is to use your crook to reinforce a flank. I've done this too, with success (same dog, btw), and prevented a cross-over at Edgeworth this year. I won't say that I wish to do so, but if it it neccessary and it works, then there is worse harm in not getting the flank at all.

 

Leashes and crooks and excessive whistling and all other uglies on the trial field are all a matter of handling a particular dog on a particular trial field at a particular time. Perfection is what we are after, but it rarely happens and one must be flexible to accomodate to the situation at hand.

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I've seen Alasdair go to the post with his dog on a leash. A flexi, at that. I doubt the judges on those occasions took anything off for it. Nor should they for anyone else.

 

I agree, i don't think it should be points off.

 

Since the "training device" rule specifies that training devices include "a leash or rope that is not detached before the dog is sent," I think the inescapable inference would be that a leash or rope that IS detached before the dog is sent is not considered a training device.

 

Good point! I didn't think to check. I personally wouldn't think of it as a training device but could see using one as leaving the door open for someone to take a point or two if they did. We all know judging is awfully subjective sometimes.

 

Would you change your method *for that particular judge* or would you do what you think is right and take the hit?

If I'm running a competitive Open dog, I'll handle in whatever way keeps me the most points. A young dog or a less seasoned Open dog, I might leave alone at the top. But as competitive as it is around here, where a couple of points can separate the 10th place dog from the first place one, I'm going to do whatever i can to keep as many points as possible. Would i *train* for that artificial turn in at 12:00 to be automatic? No. But i would train for the flexibility to be able to put the dog there if it'll save me some points on the trial field. The dog's default should still be to go to proper balance.

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Leashes and crooks and excessive whistling and all other uglies on the trial field are all a matter of handling a particular dog on a particular trial field at a particular time. Perfection is what we are after, but it rarely happens and one must be flexible to accomodate to the situation at hand.

 

Exactly. It's about making choices that are right for your particular dog/trial/whatever. If i had a dog that would occasionally take off on me before we got to the post, then yes, you'd certainly see me out there with the dog on leash! The choice between "ugly" and DQ isn't real hard. :rolleyes:

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Bear with me here Julie, as my first thought to this is,: Old habits die hard. If we think of the little things, as less of an issue, are we not setting ourselves up for a fall later when we progress to more stringent classes only to find that some things are less acceptable by a loss of points for a run? Or do we hope that some where along the way some kind soul will walk up and tell us we'd better not do that on the open course hopefully before we get there, and not as we're walking off.

 

Darci,

Now that others have started participating, I hope you're getting a better sense of how folks feel about youngsters in the novice classes too (or really just what the purpose is of the novice classes). You quoted Bev's comments on the leash thing, but not on the novice classes, so I am going to quote those comments below, because I think they are quite pertinent to this part of the discussion:

I try not to take the novice classes to seriously but I'm pretty competitive so I don't always succeed. When I first start trialing a young dog I'm just out there to give the dog some experience. [empahsis added--this makes me feel better about my own approach!] As the dog advances in his training I become more serious about the class and I begin to ask the dog to perform to a higher standard.

 

Part of the training use of the novice classes is for the dog to learn to take the pressure of competiting and winning which needs to be learned just like the outrun and the fetch. So as my dog gains experience trialing I begin to ask for the perfect obedience he will need later at the higher levels.

 

I also experiment with the other skills he will need to be really competitive and see where he is strong and weak. Can he lift the sheep to me with no direction? Can he take a re-direct on the outrun in the new field? Can he take 10 commands on the fetch and not lose his concentration?

 

So I don't wait for the dog to be perfectly trained to run him in the novice classes. But I do realize and handle the young dog as what he is a half trained project in the works. [emphasis added]

 

So you see, even Bev Lambert doesn't expect perfection when she steps out in the lower classes with her dogs

 

 

For those that have been reading along, please particapate, as everyones ideas and opinions are of value. Im sure Julie and I seem as if were playing a game of ping pong, but I'll bet we'd both enjoy a game moe like volley ball, where theres more players.

 

Fortunately, now others have chimed in, for which I am grateful. I think the working part of the BC Boards can only benefit if more people choose to participate, so thanks everyone for doing so!

 

Exactly. It's about making choices that are right for your particular dog/trial/whatever. If i had a dog that would occasionally take off on me before we got to the post, then yes, you'd certainly see me out there with the dog on leash! The choice between "ugly" and DQ isn't real hard. :D

 

Darci,

I'm not picking on you--honest--but I think Robin and Wendy (and others) have hit the crux of the matter here and perhaps have said it better or more succinctly than I did. You can tell by the comments from others here that things don't always go perfectly at trials, and when they go wrong, you do what you have to do to make it right. If nothing else, I hope these comments help you to see that there's nothing wrong with going to the post and having things go wrong (that is, you go expecting they'll go right, but they don't always). It's how you respond to fix the things that go wrong that will tell on you as a handler more than the picture you present walking out to the post, IMO.

 

Wendy,

I've walked dogs to the post on a leash, I've waved my crook, I've yelled. Like you said, we do what's necessary to fix a problem at the time. I try not to do those things because I do think they're "ugly" (well, not the leash thing, that fankly has never bothered me--for example, if Denise hadn't said she walks dogs out on a leash I never would have thought she did--I just don't pay attention to that stuff), but I think we all recognize that you do what you need to do to save a run, as long as it's not a complete wreck.

 

If I'm running a competitive Open dog, I'll handle in whatever way keeps me the most points. A young dog or a less seasoned Open dog, I might leave alone at the top. But as competitive as it is around here, where a couple of points can separate the 10th place dog from the first place one, I'm going to do whatever i can to keep as many points as possible. Would i *train* for that artificial turn in at 12:00 to be automatic? No. But i would train for the flexibility to be able to put the dog there if it'll save me some points on the trial field. The dog's default should still be to go to proper balance.

 

I agree with Robin that the dog's default should be to go to proper balance. What I don't do is remember what every judge's little idiosyncracies are so that I can work my dog to them at a particular trial (I'm not saying Robin does this--just using her comments as a jumping off point for my own comments on the subject). I work my dogs to what I think is a proper standard and let the judge sort it out. That said, if I recognize on a particular day that the judge is looking for a particular thing (or the judge says he's looking for a particular thing), if I think it's good work (i.e., that it doesn't go against what I've been training for), then I'll try to do it. BUT I won't messs with my dogs at the top. I try very hard to teach them to be right and do all that work on their own, and I just am not inclined to mess with that. But then my handling style is sort of "less is more" (probably developed because one of my dogs absolutely hates micromanagement, and she was the first dog I trained to open myself), so I'm willing to be hit a point or two there if the judge deems otherwise. Another example, the judge who hit me a couple of points because my dog *backed* the sheep into the pen, her reasoning being that the perfect pen would have the sheep walking straight in. All other things being equal, I can accept that reasoning, but on that particular day with the sheep being run, pens were extremely difficult to get, so I got the pen the best way I could.... (and even if I recognize that the sheep should walk in head first, would I really flank my dog around and try to turn them in the proper direction while risking losing them altogether by doing so? These are the kinds of decisions you end up making on the trial field--again no perfection here! :rolleyes: ).

 

J.

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Just a random question: how many of you go to the post with your dog on leash? I ask because I noticed at the last trial that few people had their dog on leash when they entered the field, but at other trials, at least half did (these are Open dogs running at USBCHA trials).

 

Hi Kristi,

In our area, it seems to be individual preference. Some people don't have their dogs on leash while in the handler's tent prior to their run either. I usually have my dog(s) on leash before their run because I want to keep their excitement under control and not have them fence running or visiting other dogs etc. Once I enter the field, when/where I take the leash off depends on the view of the exhaust. So sometimes it is at the gate, sometimes at the blind or judge's stand. My Open dog is reliable about staying with me and just dances in front of me as we approach the post. My younger dog would gallop off half way up the field if he wasn't on leash. :-)

Having said that, a UK judge last summer told us that he takes two points off for a dog on leash all the way to the post and perhaps more if the handler reached down to release dog and it took off immediately. He wanted to see a dog under handler control at the post prior to being sent. This was a judge who also took 8-10 points or more for missing a panel.

In British Columbia, Nov/Nov usually has gather, fetch, short drive - sometimes walking drive, sometimes a short cross-drive and pen. Outrun about 75 yds.

Pro/Nov and Nursery are usually the same course. Same as Open but smaller and no shed. Outrun usually 200 yds. when possible. Cross-over entries between classes allowed with certain restrictions and move-up rules. Non-compete runs rare because of cross-over but occasional when time permits.

Western Washington is pretty similiar but no cross-over allowed so you will see more Non-compete runs, especially in the Benefit Winter series trials. N/N is often just gather,settle & pen but some trials offer a Ranch class which has a drive & small cross-drive. Eastern Washington, like Alberta and Saskatchewan have the big open spaces to hold really big outruns where their Pro/Nov would be the same size as our local Open courses.

regards Lani

Langley, BC

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If I were to walk to the post today with my young dog he'd be on a leash. We're still working out that whole part, and the last thing I want to do is stand there and have to have an argument with him walking to the post our first time. I choose to pick my battles, and I don't want to have to worry about what he's doing prior to sending him, at least our first few times. After that I'll probably see what happens and deal with it though.

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My understanding of the rules and guidelines is a run doesn't start until the handler sets the dog up for the outrun. If that's the case, then judges shouldn't deduct points, directly or indirectly, for walking to the post with the dog on a leash, training aid or not.

 

This begs the question whether the run should start as the handler and dog approach the post. If trialing is supposed to approximate work, isn't the dog attempting to gather the stock before being asked a fault that should be judged?

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