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Anyone here do field trial competitions?

November 24th, 2007, 07:05 AM
Anyone here do field trial competitions?

I'm talking about the hunting dog competitions. Things like hiding targets and directing the dog to retrieve, reacting to a gun shot and then getting a bird, etc.

I've never, ever done this before. Not been able to locate trainers in the immediate area. I've put a few emails out there hoping through the trainer grapevine that we might be able to find one nearby.

Anyway... I'm really interested in training our Golden to do these things. Not for competition purposes, but just general training for her mental/physical activity, and to prepare her for "just in case" scenarios of locating stuff. Never know when that kind of training will come in handy!! Especially out where we live, where there is a lot of eco-tourism of cross country skiing, snow mobiling, ice fishing, hiking, etc.

Right now Belle doesn't even play, doesn't know what to do with toys and ignores them. I can't get her to hold stuff in her mouth. Been creating fun times with treats, tossing them across the floor and see if she will chase. Maybe it's because she was in bad shape and with pups. I'm hoping this will turn around when her pups begin to play and that maybe it will remind her of what it is to be a normal dog.

So if anyone has any techniques to share, books/videos to recommend, I'd be grateful.

November 25th, 2007, 08:18 AM
I assume you are just talking retrievers? Not pointing, flushing and retrieving?? (some breeds actually do it all LOL)!!!!!

I do not compete but retrieving is something I focused on with Dodger. We do alot of decoy and directed retrieve training (mainly with bumpers and dumbells but I'll use toys and everyday items too). It easy to train a directed retrieve (once you have the retrieve of course LOL) - all you do is train the dog to "mark" whatever object you want (I have Dodger in heel, then use an open hand [never point with one finger] to direct him). Dodger was trained to nose and paw target ceramic tiles so at first there was NO retrieving involved, it was just directing him to certain targets... Which is actually part of the test for SAR certification - imagine a baseball diamond - you have to be able to send your dog to each "base" in any order (here you also need directionals - left, right, back)
You may also want to look into air-scenting courses - some are focused on SAR others are for everyday pet owner who'd like their dog to find their keys etc... It may help you lay foundations without a retrieve, since locating and alerting the owner to the found object is the idea (not the retrieve!).

Article on shaping the retrieve:
Shirley Chong's retrieve is very good as well:

This might help you find a club or contact who can put you in the right direction:

Some in-depth retriever articles here:

Good luck!

November 25th, 2007, 08:32 AM
I assume you are just talking retrievers? Not pointing, flushing and retrieving?? (some breeds actually do it all LOL)!!!!!

Well sure! Any and all of that! We like to keep an eye on the wildlife on the property and we don't want her killing stuff, but to help us locate. I like to shoot via a camera! lol Can't wait to see her reaction to a mother partridge when it runs in front of her with the "I'm injured, chase me instead of my babies" move.

I am having her do some exercises now that actually I found by accident to get her started to receiving instruction. When she eats her food or treats, little bits go everywhere. I like to think she should clean up her own food mess and I say "look" and point to stuff on the floor so she will locate and eat it. Could that translate to some sort of "mark" command in the field in the future?

I toss biscuits along the floor also and try to get her to run and get something I've tossed.

Right now I'm just trying to make up stuff to start training her. Not sure what else to do until I can locate a potential trainer. I hear there's a plain 'ol obedience trainer locally and will try to get to meet with her at some point.

Thanks for the links!

November 28th, 2007, 09:18 AM

Someone on the hunting forums at Ontario Out of Doors might be able to help you as well as the other links you have been given. People there don't just hunt or trial in Ontario. If you plan to actually trial of course you will need the firearms training and certification that goes along with and may need a special dog training license as well. Here, you would contact the Ministry of Natural Resources; in Quebec I'm not sure.

If you want this just for fun, no gun or actual trialling, then the training methods would still help you. My DH no longer hunts but after hunting the first dog, an ESS, we realized having a dog trained on birds was a nice idea. We are out in the bush a lot and dog is off leash and a dog caught running deer can be shot on sight. So we trained the second dog, a lab, on birds as well. She loved it and it gave her a "job" to do when we were out. I did always wonder if she was disappointed when we never brought any of the birds home though. :)

November 28th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Yeah I'm not too keen on having this dog off leash out in the woods during hunting season (Can't trust her off leash now, she's testing my limits on how far she can get away from me and what she is/is not allowed to do.). But I'd like to use a 20 ft lead next spring and try some obedience exercises outdoors.

Too many hunters around here and they cross properties since there is no fencing and an overzealous hunter could mistake my dog for something else and shoot.

We just want to have the dog able to do something constructive, or at least feel like it's a "job." Plus it's fun for people! lol She seems more keen on using her nose more than anything else right now. I'm not interested in competing at all, just using that as a source for training ideas.

Bought her some balls, a stuffie mallard duck, and she doesn't want anything to do with those.