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Thread: Springer vs Lab training?

  1. #21

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    Nimrod

    You are wrong. We have specific Hunt Tests for Upland hunting in the HRC.

    Also, dogs that run hunt tests are trained to use their noses on marking birds, and also trained to be directed to blinds where the dog had no idea where there was even a bird. The dogs use the wind extensively to their advantage.



    Quote Originally Posted by Nimrod View Post
    Most retriever groups train to the standards of Retriever hunt tests. These tests are great for evaluating duck hunting dogs but don’t have anything to do with upland hunting. Dogs trained in this manner tend to rely on their eyes to mark birds and soon learn that their nose will get them in trouble in that game. The typical upland retrieve seldom allows the dog to watch the bird hit the ground so the experienced flushing dog must learn to “take a line” and use his nose intelligently by fading w/ the wind.

    Since the AKC opened up their Spaniel Hunt tests to retrievers, I’ve seen quite a few Labs come train w/ our spaniel club. Those that have been trained for retriever tests often rely too much on their handlers for direction. They don’t know how to use the wind effectively and they run in a “stilted” manner. When they make scent, they often slow down or even stop, trying to locate the bird w/ their eyes before flushing. This isn’t a problem w/ planted training birds however, wild roosters will take advantage of this hesitation and skulk away leading to either a lost opportunity or at best, a very long trailing exercise.

    On the other hand, Labs that train w/ our spaniel club from the start make outstanding pheasant dogs, every bit as effective as a Springer except for the spaniels superior endurance.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    San Marcos, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog23 View Post
    Nimrod

    You are wrong. We have specific Hunt Tests for Upland hunting in the HRC.

    Also, dogs that run hunt tests are trained to use their noses on marking birds, and also trained to be directed to blinds where the dog had no idea where there was even a bird. The dogs use the wind extensively to their advantage.
    I’m quite familiar with the HRC Upland Tests, even gunned the upland series at a Grand once. They are a ludicrous farce w/ rules apparently written by duck hunters who read an article from Field & Stream once. They don’t judge the dog’s ability to find birds (a rather important skill in my view).

    Most of the time they put the bird in either a wicker basket or a mechanical launcher/release and the handler typically puts the dog right onto the bird. Baskets/launchers cause dogs to hesitate rather than flush boldly. (A bold flush causes birds to make mistakes while hesitation gives them a better chance to escape.)

    UKC Upland tests also don’t require the dog to retrieve shot birds so experienced handlers try to let the birds get out of range before firing the popper (this releases the gunner to shoot). These handlers know that the only thing that matters is that the dog shows steadiness. While a steady dog is a refinement, it’s hardly the most important measure of a good bird dog. I was very disillusioned that they left more than half the birds I shot in the field at a “retriever” event because the dogs didn’t watch the birds go down. Instead they sat at the whistle & looked back at their handler. They still passed.

    For the retrieving tests dogs are trained to use their eyes because that’s the most efficient tactic for waterfowl hunting where multiple birds fall in the water and the dog is stationary. As hunt tests have evolved to be a 2nd rate field trial rather than an evaluation of an all-around hunting dog as originally intended, they sometimes incorporate the concept of “poison birds” where the dog is required to run through a scent cone on the way to the mark or blind without switching. Training for this teaches the dog that using his nose while on the way to a retrieve will get him in trouble so he learns to ignore it.

    On blind retrieves, (or when necessary to handle on a mark), the handler is required to handle all the way to the bird. Simply directing the dog to the area & letting him use his nose is not considered acceptable. Some handlers even use a whistle at the end of the blind when the dog clearly has scented the bird before giving a “pick up” whistle just to demonstrate “control”. This works fine as long as the handler knows precisely where the bird is but rooster pheasants quite often run after being downed. (Hunt test) retrievers are trained to stay in the area of a fall, spaniels are trained to use their nose to follow runners.

    Retriever trainers emphasize “control” because in those games, the handler knows where all the birds are. If he can determine every step the dog takes, they’ll be successful. Spaniel training requires a balance between the control of a retriever & the independence of a pointing dog.

    Retriever clubs are where the knowledge for making a waterfowl dog resides. Spaniel clubs are where the knowledge for making a flushing dog is. They approach things differently for good reasons.

  3. #23

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    All of those things you explained are sort of true!

    So basically what your saying is your completely biased to Spaniel Clubs and their hunt tests!!!

    A dogs nose is used on marking portions of the hunt tests! A blind, which I've used many times while pheasant hunting, is about a well trained dog going where you would like him to go.

    Would you prefer to go pheasant hunting with a out of control dog? Upland Tests are tests that are ran with Finished level dogs. The bird is required to be delivered to hand. Now, sometimes the gunners will miss the birds, so a retrieve doesn't happen. But, it's about having a dog that will hunt, and be under control while doing it.

  4. #24

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    Our retriever club uses Higgins boxes that you hide in the cover, and when the handler/dog get within 20 yards or so, the bottom of the Higgins box is released and the bird falls to the ground without the dog knowing this. The dog eventually finds the bird and flushes it up for the gunners to then engage! This is as close to actual pheasant hunting as you can simulate!







    Quote Originally Posted by Nimrod View Post
    I’m quite familiar with the HRC Upland Tests, even gunned the upland series at a Grand once. They are a ludicrous farce w/ rules apparently written by duck hunters who read an article from Field & Stream once. They don’t judge the dog’s ability to find birds (a rather important skill in my view).

    Most of the time they put the bird in either a wicker basket or a mechanical launcher/release and the handler typically puts the dog right onto the bird. Baskets/launchers cause dogs to hesitate rather than flush boldly. (A bold flush causes birds to make mistakes while hesitation gives them a better chance to escape.)

    UKC Upland tests also don’t require the dog to retrieve shot birds so experienced handlers try to let the birds get out of range before firing the popper (this releases the gunner to shoot). These handlers know that the only thing that matters is that the dog shows steadiness. While a steady dog is a refinement, it’s hardly the most important measure of a good bird dog. I was very disillusioned that they left more than half the birds I shot in the field at a “retriever” event because the dogs didn’t watch the birds go down. Instead they sat at the whistle & looked back at their handler. They still passed.

    For the retrieving tests dogs are trained to use their eyes because that’s the most efficient tactic for waterfowl hunting where multiple birds fall in the water and the dog is stationary. As hunt tests have evolved to be a 2nd rate field trial rather than an evaluation of an all-around hunting dog as originally intended, they sometimes incorporate the concept of “poison birds” where the dog is required to run through a scent cone on the way to the mark or blind without switching. Training for this teaches the dog that using his nose while on the way to a retrieve will get him in trouble so he learns to ignore it.

    On blind retrieves, (or when necessary to handle on a mark), the handler is required to handle all the way to the bird. Simply directing the dog to the area & letting him use his nose is not considered acceptable. Some handlers even use a whistle at the end of the blind when the dog clearly has scented the bird before giving a “pick up” whistle just to demonstrate “control”. This works fine as long as the handler knows precisely where the bird is but rooster pheasants quite often run after being downed. (Hunt test) retrievers are trained to stay in the area of a fall, spaniels are trained to use their nose to follow runners.

    Retriever trainers emphasize “control” because in those games, the handler knows where all the birds are. If he can determine every step the dog takes, they’ll be successful. Spaniel training requires a balance between the control of a retriever & the independence of a pointing dog.

    Retriever clubs are where the knowledge for making a waterfowl dog resides. Spaniel clubs are where the knowledge for making a flushing dog is. They approach things differently for good reasons.

  5. #25
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    Nov 2009
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    San Marcos, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog23 View Post
    All of those things you explained are sort of true!

    So basically what your saying is your completely biased to Spaniel Clubs and their hunt tests!!!

    A dogs nose is used on marking portions of the hunt tests! A blind, which I've used many times while pheasant hunting, is about a well trained dog going where you would like him to go.

    Would you prefer to go pheasant hunting with a out of control dog? Upland Tests are tests that are ran with Finished level dogs. The bird is required to be delivered to hand. Now, sometimes the gunners will miss the birds, so a retrieve doesn't happen. But, it's about having a dog that will hunt, and be under control while doing it.

    I can offer plenty of criticism of the AKC Spaniel tests as well if you’d like.

    Frankly, they are judged very inconsistently allowing many dogs to acquire titles that according to the rule book should not. Nevertheless, I stand by my opinion that the Spaniel community is where the institutional knowledge of how to train a flushing dog lies.

    I started running retrievers in the UKC tests in the mid 90’s and titled Labs, Goldens & Springers in that venue. I got involved in Spaniel hunt tests & field trials about 12 yrs ago & found a totally different “culture” of dog training. It took me awhile to understand the reasons why.
    As far as “control”, a spaniel in a field trial is required to “honor” a bracemate while out in front hunting. When the other dog flushes a bird, my dog must stop hunting & sit while the bird is shot & the retrieve is made. I’ll contend this is a much higher degree of difficulty than any retriever game “honor” as he may be 30+ yds from me at the time.

    When I train a pup for upland hunting, I’ll encourage his desire to use his nose by dropping kibble in the yard. I’ll throw balls that will roll after they hit the ground & I’ll throw dummies into cover rather than on open ground the way I would for retriever tests. I won’t teach him to heel until he’s hunting out in front confidently. These are a few of the differences & they do make a difference in the end result.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog23 View Post
    Our retriever club uses Higgins boxes that you hide in the cover, and when the handler/dog get within 20 yards or so, the bottom of the Higgins box is released and the bird falls to the ground without the dog knowing this. The dog eventually finds the bird and flushes it up for the gunners to then engage! This is as close to actual pheasant hunting as you can simulate!
    One aspect of the "institutional knowledge" I mentioned is in planting birds. While a Higgins box is better than a launcher basket, the handler still knows where the bird is. In a spaniel event, the bird is planted on a course somewhere within about 30 yds of a flag line & the dog is expected to find it on his own. A bumped bird (gets up w/out the dog "making" it) is a mark down. A passed bird isn't necessarily a cause for dismissal like it is in a trial but it's still taken into consideration in the score.

  7. #27

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    I think it is important to know the differences in how these two groups train. I was playing the spaniel game for a few years and still thinking I could transfer over to the retriever game without realizing how different those two venues were. It was not until some experienced spaniel people got a hold of me and explained clearly to me how different the training is in the retriever game as opposed to the spaniel game. I am thankful that people took the time to explain this to me as I am sure it kept me from making a big mistake with my spaniel.

    I am still thinking one day I would like to train a retriever for hunt tests but I won't be doing it with a spaniel.

  8. #28
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    Oct 2016
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog23 View Post
    Hey A5 Sweet 16

    There's a reason the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America and out in the fields for the past 26 years!

    I would put my Black Lab up against your Springer any day of the week pheasant hunting, and then we can go duck hunting, goose hunting, run some hunt tests. Oh that's right, your springer may not want to get in the water.
    Somebody's panties are in a bunch. But OK. If you're ever around Sioux Falls this fall, shoot me a PM & we'll get together. One guy & one dog against another guy & one dog. Roosters per hour in the bag. Loser buys. While I'm drinking your beer, I'll show you pics of my dog flying into the water & you can tell me whether he seems to like it or not.

  9. #29
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    Oct 2016
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    Greensburg, Pa
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    Thanks for all the replies! I have decided to have him train with Springers and after no luck locally i will be sending him 4 hours away to Jeff Brooks.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jones County, SD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birddog23 View Post
    Hey A5 Sweet 16

    There's a reason the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in America and out in the fields for the past 26 years!

    I would put my Black Lab up against your Springer any day of the week pheasant hunting, and then we can go duck hunting, goose hunting, run some hunt tests. Oh that's right, your springer may not want to get in the water.
    Most of those Labs are laying on someone's couch getting fat. I'll take you up on your challenge, in western SD, in the roughest pheasant country you are likely to see. I see em come and see em go. They usually end up walking right in front of their handler, while the spaniels do the work, then they steal the spaniels retrieve, then the Lab owner invariably brags about the superiority of his dog. Most serious outfitters in SD have gone to, or are in progress of going to Spaniels for their clients to hunt over. they live longer, stay healthier longer, eat far less food, have lower vet bills, oh ya, and much more energy. There are 19 ads in the pet classifieds in my local paper, six of them are for labs. they all say something like "Parents excellent hunters". Labs are like Harley-Davidsons, everybody has one, most of them are black.
    There's lots of things along the road, I'd surely like to see
    I'd like to lean into the wind and tell myself I'm free......Townes Van Zant

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