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Judges Reports


Working Tests at Rother Valley Country Park - 29th, 30th & 31st May 2010


Saturday 29 May 2010


NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 29 May 2010
Section: B - Group 1
Judges: Sue Dobson & Susan Marsh
Entries: 12
Passes: 3
Withdrawn: 1
Test Conditions: Wet both inside and out which made for difficult recording of tests in view of the fact the paper and pens didn’t like water - so apologies to entrants who had less than concise comments on their sheets.
Most of those that failed did so because of underwater retrieve, despite the fact that a choice was given as to whether they did it in muddy water or a paddling pool. One particular dog that showed no interest whatsoever in the article was even less interested once his handler had thrown herself into the paddling pool in an attempt to encourage the dog. Sadly this was not to be and the dog remained switched off. It gave the judges a laugh anyway.

Several dogs failed due to climbing on the swimmer; it is so important that you and your dog are safe when in the water and those entrants should really work at being in control of their dog at all times.

The general standard of all the tests was very good, and are definitely improving over previous years.

There seems to be an increasing tendency among entrants that when judges point out possible ways to improve or reasons why they failed a particular element to argue and make excuses for their performance. Please remember judges are trying to help and a judge wants nothing more than to see a dog they test, pass that test so we ask that entrants please take the judges’ comments in the spirit to which they are intended.

Thanks to all our stewards, who worked hard in the pouring rain and all those involved in organising a very successful event.

Sue Dobson & Susan Marsh

NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 29 May 2010
Section: B – Group 2
Judges: Paul Tedder & John Brown
Entries: 12
Passes: 7
Absent: 3
With so many entries for B at this set of tests it appears we had the better half so that only 2 of ours did not pass (7 passes and 3 absent). One of these was for the underwater retrieve and, surprisingly, one was for not swimming out to a young family member in the boat. Of the passes there were some really nice performances and it is good to see so much keenness with both puppies and older dogs.

All of the controlled swims were alright although we did have to let the swimmer carry on a bit further on a couple of occasions so that we could see 20 metres of dog and owner swimming together correctly.

Due to the inherent murkiness of the lake water the four judges decided, after due consultation, to offer for the underwater retrieve exercise to be taken at a paddling pool filled to the correct depth of water. A few owners opted for this and the majority were OK with the dog getting the sunken rope but none of them got into the pool to do it. It was done from outside the pool so the owner had to make sure that the object was within reach from the side.

Both John and I were surprised by the number of commands that were being used by each owner trying to get the dog to perform a certain action. Not like the Italians who repeat “Avanti; Avanti; Avanti;” to keep their dogs moving, but giving different ‘commands’ searching for that magic word that the dog will respond to and do what is required of it. It seems confusing to the judges so it must do to the dogs. You know what to say when you want your dog to sit; equally you should know the commands you have used in training for the dog to accomplish each exercise and so it is only a matter of repeating it/those during the test and a pass will be assured won’t it?
I will close by giving thanks to the NNC, NWN, the excellent Test Manager and our dutiful stewards.

Paul Tedder © 2010

NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 29 May 2010
Section: E
Judges: Chris Tedder & John Brown
Entries: 6
Passes: 0
Withdrawn: 0
Both judges would like to thank the NNC/NWN for the invitation to judge at these tests. It is always an honour and a privilege.

It was interesting to note that 3 of the judges over the weekend - Ken Rhodes, Paul and myself, each had 20 years of judging experience; 60 years between us yet we all agreed that the enthusiasm, expectation and the enjoyment were the same for us and apparently the entrants now as back at the very first tests. So, unfortunately were some of the errors by the owners, but perhaps this is something everyone has to go through to reach their goal. I am pleased to say we were equally agreed that we were still learning and took something useful away from every test from the very first up to those today and so, hopefully, it will continue to be for when we think we know it all, time to stop - so that said, we should be around for some years to come, if you will have us.

It was great to be judging with John Brown and with all the preliminaries sorted we got underway.
The 6 entrants were all in attendance, the weather fair and the venue very good. A positive, friendly atmosphere and enthusiastic people made for a great day.
Unfortunately we had no passes on this occasion. Experienced dogs and owners were making the same errors we had seen in previous tests by them. I have said it many times before and no doubt will have to say it many more times that commands MUST be consolidated before moving on. Again more than one experienced owner was using several commands to get the dog to do one particular action. Many use ‘forward’ as a command to send the dog away from them, even when the dog has turned and is then approaching them. They call out ‘forward’ and point ‘at’ the dog or in their minds they are pointing in the direction they want the dog to go - which is in fact ‘away’ from them. Land work training a sendaway would/could be helpful for some of these dogs. Rather than forward, round, get on, etc., the word ‘away’ means to the trained dog to ‘go away from me’ with the designated target being a swimmer, object or boat; if the dog is taught a sendaway it will always go away from the handler. Using a clearly visible marker to the dog is better than using a person. The reward is given at the marker. There are many books on how to train this exercise and would be money well spent.
5 of the dog and handler teams were experienced and it showed in each of them doing some good work. In some cases 2 perfect elements but messing up the remainder. One entrant worth a mention was a new team. Their first two exercises were virtually perfect and there was a hope of a first time pass for them. However, after a very good exit from the boat the dog was unwilling on this occasion to take the rope to the other boat, so with 2 elements passed and 2 failed, it was a shame not to have success for this pair today. It will not be long before success is theirs, I am sure.
Finally as general remark, remember to stay focussed and calm and not to lose your temper or raise your voice ineffectually when the dog appears to be ignoring you. Remaining calm will help the dog. If the dog is not doing what you want then look at your training. Is it consistent? Is the reward being given in the right place? At the right time? Is a reward being given at all? What is the motivation for the dog? You wouldn’t work for free so why expect your dog to. A dog does not work to please you, whatever anyone says. It repeats a behaviour because it is beneficial, ie., it gets something out of doing the specific action/behaviour.
If you are having a problem, think dog. Look at it from your dog’s point of view and see what you can do differently to get a repeat of the desired behaviour. And Reward!
Well-done everyone anyway as you all seemed to enjoy your day.

Chris Tedder © 2010

Sunday 30 May 2010


NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 30 May 2010
Section: D
Judges: Paul Tedder & Ken Rhodes
Entries:
Passes: 0
Withdrawn:
Ken and I were pleased to see that there were so many dogs working at D level and with such enthusiasm, returning to try again and again and I had high hopes that we would have at least one pass during the day. However, it was not to be. While there were no passes on this occasion, there were some exercises that were performed extremely well and the owners should be proud of those achievements. So rethinking and retraining will be needed in some instances but all the entrants should be able to pass a level D in the near future.

We were pleased to be asked to judge by the NNC and would like to be invited in future. Section D relies on good stewarding perhaps more than any other level and we were not disappointed. The exercises were set up and executed with the best possible chance of success and it was only the action or inaction of the entrants that did not produce a passing performance. Thank you all.

Paul Tedder © 2010


NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 30 May 2010
Section: 1 Draught
Judges: Chris Tedder & Lynn Whiting
Entries: 5
Passes: 3
Withdrawn: 1
Test Conditions: Cool and windy. Ideal for the dogs. But it did make it difficult for the call steward to be heard. Well organised and enjoyable test.
The dog that did not make it onto the manoeuvre section decided it was play time And just wanted to play tug. Three dogs went on to do the haul. Three totally different dogs in the way they worked. Two of the teams were fairly new to draught but worked well. The maoeuvre was good all the dogs listened and understood the commands.

Working at a quicker pace gives the dogs less time to look around and sniff and also keeps their attention on you. This was more obvious when the entrants walked faster and the dogs trotted along tails wagging.

The third handler was not new to draught and the experience showed though the dog had done very little in a cart it was team work all through.

I hope the advice that Chris and I gave was helpful and that the entrants enjoyed it once over their nerves.
Well done to all three I am sure we will be seeing them doing draught in the future. Thank you to Chris for sharing her experience with me on my first level 1 and to the test manager for a well run test.

Lynn Whiting


NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 30 May 2010
Section: Level 1
Judges: Chris Tedder & Lynn Whiting
Personally I still think there is a big leap between Beginners and Level 1, but then that’s me. The reason is that not everyone does control or obedience work with their dog outside of draughtwork so the level of control ‘oneness’ with dog and handler is not always there. Perhaps level 1 should finish after the manoeuvring section ie., no haul. So we then have Beginners = Control + Pull. Level 1 = Control + manoeuvring and Level 2 = Control + manoeuvring + haul. That would be more of a stepping stone progression.

Again it was noted that all handlers moved at a very slow pace so the dogs were either comatose or looking for other things of interest. All 4 entrants did enough to pass from control section to the next section but all could have given a much crisper/classier performance had they speeded up. Dare I say, the dogs would have enjoyed it more too? There appears to be a ‘fear’ of moving briskly. But the slower you move the more time the dog has to think about other things and the more chance there is of things going wrong.

The third handler was not new to draught and the experience showed though the dog had done very little in a cart it was team work all through.

The manoeuvring section was well executed by all despite one dog being larger and therefore having a larger vehicle yet still managed to get through the small section of woodland by very clever control of the dog.

Each handler had a different history to bring to this test. One handler had a dog who was very capable but occasionally responded to other passing dogs which could lead to problems. This handler was very aware and training is progressing, indeed on this test the dog behaved very well despite the loose dogs, dogs on lead and most impressive those running after a ball. The handler was, however, advised that should at any time the judges feel the dog was a danger it would be disqualified and that is something for all entrants to bear in mind if they have a dog who does not yet ignore all others when working. The handler was aware of the work still needed and was making a good job of it.

Another dog had the problem of a nervous handler. This was mostly down to lack of experience and once she realised that her control remained even when the dog was moving at a faster pace (in fact the dog was better when moving faster) she relaxed and the pair turned out a very credible performance. Lovely control through the woodland section. Hopefully this experience has given her the confidence to trust her dog and I look forward to seeing her move through the levels as her and her dogs ability grows.

The last dog , although a novice to draught work, seemed to have 'been here before' After starting draught just a few weeks ago this dog was very confident and controlled as though she had been doing the job for some time. The handler was obviously experienced and being used to working horses it gave her the edge on the other handlers. The dog was well trained and so the fact that it was attached to a vehicle made no difference to its actions. A pass for this team was no problem to achieve.

So if you, the reader, can identify with any of the above you can see that with the right approach to training you can achieve your goals and have a great working relationship with your dog as well.

Many thanks to the NNC/NWN for the invite, to my co Judge, Lynn Whiting, Carol Pugsley our steward but as always most of my thanks to you the entrants and your dogs without whom we would all be standing in a windy field feeling very silly.

Thanks must always go to the test manager and all the stewards and ‘gophers’ who over the weekend worked tirelessly to bring the event to its successful conclusion (including the Buttie King Vinney) Without the willingness of these people, year after year giving up their time, pulling together to give you the opportunity to indulge in such an event you might all be sitting at home knitting scarves for soldiers instead. It’s easy to turn up at an event, work your dog then turn around and go home, if you are one of those members then please spare a thought for all those behind the scenes without whose efforts there would be no events to attend, no tests to take part in and no achievements for you and your dog to boast about later. So a big thank you to each and everyone involved with the tests, not just this weekend but all other weekends throughout the year.


Chris Tedder


Monday 31 May 2010


NORTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND CLUB
JUDGES REPORT
Venue: Rother Valley Country Park
Date: 31 May 2010
Section: C – Group 1
Judges: Jacqui Woodhall & Kevin Tucker
Shadow Judge: Beth Jasper
Entries: 5
Passes: 3
We had 5 experienced dogs and a junior judge, with 3 passes and 2 fails. All entrants jumped out of the boat within 10 seconds, with Alfie Irving demonstrating a 180 degree turn in mid-air to face the shore line. Outstanding teamwork from all entrants with calm precise commands and a lot of patience. All dogs were taking into account the drift on the water and positioning themselves to overcome it. Congratulations to Bell, Alfie Irving with his junior handler Rosie and Jeb.


Jacqui Woodhall, Kevin Tucker & Beth Jasper

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