Nick’s first field trial

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Nick’s first field trial

Post by bamanicksbd » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:33 am

I couldn’t find my earlier post about Nicks first field trial so I’m just starting a new one. Nick now 6 mo old English Setter out of Tricky "bleep" and Shadow Oak bloodlines, ran in his first puppy stakes trial yesterday. The NBHA folks at Walnut Grove, AL were wonderful and very patient with us as first timers. They had 10 puppies and Nick was by far the baby of the group. He was braced with a little black and white female pointer called “Ree” owned by A super nice gentleman from Outer Banks NC. She took 2nd overall and was a delight to watch cover the ground.

Nick started a bit slow wanting to chat with the beautiful young female he just met but quickly found out he couldn’t stay close enough to even flirt with her lol. Once she got out of sight which only took a minute he got out and hunted well. He did his little loop back a couple of times but it didn’t seem to be a problem the way the field was laid out. He handled pretty well making his way around the course basically in the directions that the judges were moving. I very purposely didn’t ask how he scored because he is 6 mo old and in the first field trial he ever saw and I know myself and wasn’t going to allow the competitive demon inside me look for a way to put pressure on him. This was his first but certainly not mine. I have seen lots of dogs pushed too hard too fast but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one ruined by being brought along at their own learning pace and just given guidance and a boost here and there.

Overall we had a great and very positive experience. I like the way they conducted the trial. The judges seemed very knowledgeable and I heard several more experienced folks mention the quality of the judges. They were very patient with us and understanding of our inexperience. We are looking very forward to getting more involved with NBHA and learning as we go.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by bamanicksbd » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:36 am

I just noticed the auto “bleep” in Nicks bloodline. Funny. Well, considered short for Richard and like Nick but with a D. Most English Setter people will know.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by averageguy » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:33 pm

With that positive attitude, you and your Pup are Winners already. Nice Post and Thanks for taking us along.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by WielandGSP » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:14 pm

Sounds like Nick is lucky to have you as an owner and you're in the right mindset and attitude. Nice post.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by Featherfinder » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:21 pm

Bam, sounds you both had a great time. Going forward, you might like to ask the judges what they saw in your dog and what they saw in the winner for personal development. This is for you to have a milestone or goal to work towards. It's better to work toward something than flounder about helter-skelter only to find yourself WAY down the road asking, "Why didn't someone tell me that?"
Keep having fun and you will ALWAYS win.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by shags » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:05 am

It sounds like you and your pup did well regardless of placements. Good on you for the great attitude.

My advice would be, if you intend to trial, is to go and watch as many braces as you can, and rank the dogs yourself. Then you can compare with what the judges put up. You'll learn what's needed to get into the ribbons these days. Things have changed over the years in the format I trial in, and maybe they have in NBHA also. When you watch dogs and handlers critically, you learn a lot about what to do to help your dog, and what might hurt him.

At dinner or up in the parking lot after the day is done, talk to the judges if you can. Some will offer sort of generic reasons for using a dog or not, but some will be quite frank and detailed. Some will be helpful and some will be jerks. Be ready to have your ego bruised, but keep an open mind.

Running puppies is fun. No pressure, just let them roll and do whatever they they. Remember that some top puppies never pan out as adults, and some slow developers become stars later. Have fun and enjoy your dog and the company.

Best of luck with your pup.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by V-John » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:20 am

Agree with Shags - Talk to the judges - and if you approach it in a way that you ask "how can I improve or help my dog improve" as opposed to a "why didn't you use my dog" point of view, the judges will be more likely to help you. At least that's been my experience anyways.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by RyanDoolittle » Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:15 pm

I wouldnt bother talking to the judges at this point. A 6 month old dog all they will tell you is let her mature.

Stake your dog out and walk the braces. Watch the dogs but watch the handlers more, especially in the adult stakes. You will soon start to see what winning handlers are doing and what they arent doing. With your dog this young, now is the time to work on your part of the team.

One of the best things to help myself is watching handlers. I run HB wild bird trials in R14 and the format almost makes you do it. I quickly realized who was winning and who wasnt. I found myself watching the handlers, who often won, what to do and watching the handlers that often didnt win what not to do. You will quickly learn tricks to help your dog and things not to do because they will hinder the dog.

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Re: Nick’s first field trial

Post by birddogger2 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 4:49 pm


Hi and welcome to the wonderful world of field trialing.

First let me say this for perspective. You have a six month old pup. Most of the dogs in the puppy stake are probably close to twice your youngster's age.

Second let me say that you need to keep focus on what you are doing, why you are doing it and for whose benefit.

If you are field trialing in puppy stakes so that you can expose your youngster to new and challenging situations and help it to learn what it is supposed to do 9n these circumstances...then you are doing the puppy stakes for the right reason. If you are running in them so that YOU can learn what you need to do...leave the dog home and concentrate on learning how to become a better handler.

Every dog only has so many puppy stakes in them before things go sideways. They will learn that they can do bad things because you can't correct them at a trial and that will make correcting them at home just that much more difficult. Eventually a dog will learn that it CAN get away with bad stuff at a trial that it cannot get away with at home and then you don't have a trial dog anymore.

I would watch the derby stakes and broke dog stakes and see what the handlers in those stakes do and what their dogs do. THAT is what you need to see and what you need to work towards with your dog.

My first dog was a whiz at puppy stakes. She placed first or second in seven of them. She never placed in a derby despite being entered in at least ten derby stakes and was four years old before she placed in a broke dog stake.

She learned some bad things and if I wasn't as stubborn and pigheaded as I am, she would have been a washout. She turned out OK and I had a lot of fun with her over the following four years, but there was a lot of work that had to be done to erase the bad habits I allowed her to develop as a puppy. Don't make that same mistake.

Remember what you are doing and why. Trials are to gauge your dog's potential and its progress. They are not for showing least not until you have something that is worth showing off.

If you do the work, the rewards will come. When you know what to ask the dog to do and when to ask it, that is the first step. And THEN...when the dog does what you want, the way you want...THAT is your reward...not some hunk of ribbon.

YOU are the trainer...YOU are the handler. When the dog does what you want the way you want, when you want it to... YOU have succeeded as trainer and handler. You and the dog are a successful TEAM. The ribbon only means that someone else saw the same thing you did and liked it also.


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