11 Instructions to Judges & Hunt Test Committees

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Instructions. (Table of Contents)

11.1.1 The hunt test regulations have been formulated in such a manner that the officials of a test-giving club and the judges have considerable latitude in the conduct of a test. This is desirable to allow for variations in conditions that are peculiar to various parts of the country, and also to grant judges unlimited opportunities for ingenuity in planning tests. The regulations are not intended to be restrictive, either to officials or judges.

11.1.2 The objectives of the regulations are twofold:

  1. greater uniformity in the conduct of hunt tests for retrievers
  2. greater uniformity in evaluating the abilities and characteristics of retrievers at those hunt tests.

11.1.3 In order that hunt tests may be conducted as uniformly as practicable, standardization of objectives is essential and therefore, all judges, guns, entrants and officials who have a part in conducting hunt tests must be familiar with and be governed by these regulations:

11.1.4 The judges, with paramount regard to Section one of this Chapter, shall determine the tests to be given and shall design those tests in order to approximate as nearly as possible true hunting situations. In keeping with this aim, the judges shall design and enhance hunting situations by utilizing, as naturally as possible, the equipment that would be found in a true upland game or waterfowl hunting situation. Strategic placement of numerous decoys anchored separately, use of camouflaged blinds to conceal guns and throwers, duck boats, duck and goose calls, etc. are necessary adjuncts to hunt tests for retrievers.

11.1.5 It is strongly recommended that judges inspect the grounds with representatives of the Hunt Test Committee the day preceding the event, in order to select and determine the nature and objectives of each hunting situation, preferably for their assignment.

11.1.6 Judges should attempt to use a test dog in each series of all test levels. Clubs should make every effort to provide the necessary test dog for the judges to utilize. A good test dog:

  1. Is not entered in the test
  2. Can reasonably be expected to complete the test
  3. Demonstrates the mechanics of the test

11.1.7 Judges must explain the test set-up to the handlers, and further explain the objectives as they relate to a specific hunting situation.

11.1.8 Judges may discontinue testing in a hunting situation before all dogs have been run in that situation, provided that another hunting situation is substituted. The score of a dog in a hunting situation which has been discontinued shall not be considered for any purpose in the evaluation of the abilities of that dog.

11.1.10 In the Senior and Master Hunt Tests, judges shall in their discretion determine the number of dogs that shall be kept on the line simultaneously. In at least one hunt situation involving the retrieve of a marked fall in the Senior and Master Hunt Tests every dog must be kept on the line, off the leash, while another dog works.

  1. Whenever used within the above context, the word line is understood to mean the point from which a dog will commence its retrieve or the point at which a dogs evaluation is begun.

11.1.11 When running water tests, the Hunt Test Committee may allow a camouflage wet suit/vest to be used. When this is to be allowed, it must be set out in the premium list.

11.1.12 Judges shall have the authority to exclude any dog which they may consider unfit to run. The entry fee for all such dogs will be forfeited.

  1. If an entered dog is to be run with a bandage, the handler is expected to explain the extent of the injury and the reason for the bandage to the judges before the start of the test, at which point the judges will decide whether or not to allow the dog to run.

11.1.13 Although not required, it is a considerate gesture by judges, if they are in agreement, to notify handlers when their methods of restraint are being reflected in their dogs trainability score.

11.1.14 The dogs shall be shot over only by official guns appointed by the Hunt Test Committee.

11.1.15 On marked retrieves including on walk up tests a dog should be able to see each bird in the air and as it falls. Guns may be requested to shoot twice at every bird, or at the discretion of the judges, guns may fire a diversionary shot or shots but diversionary shots may only be fired in the Senior and Master Hunt Tests. After birds have been shot, all guns shall remain quiet and only move their positions in accordance with specific instructions by judges. When guns are visible, the judges may request the guns to disappear from sight after the bird is down, but they should not have them move to another position to deliberately mislead the dogs in their marking. On marked retrieves, the order in which birds are to be retrieved shall not be specified by the judges; the handler is free to select the order in which he directs his dog to retrieve the birds provided that such selection should be accomplished quietly and promptly.

11.1.16 In any Junior, Senior, Owner Handler Master or Master Hunt Tests, the judges may, in their discretion, utilize either hidden and/or visible guns, but in doing so shall give paramount consideration to the simulation of hunting situations. Visible gun stations should be kept to a minimum in Senior, Owner Handler Master and Master Hunt Tests, but may be utilized to a greater extent in Junior Hunt Tests.

11.1.17 Unless otherwise instructed by the judges, no dog should be sent to retrieve until ordered to do so. Judges should call the number of the dog ordered to retrieve.

11.1.18 In a Senior, Owner Handler Master, or Master Hunt Test, when a dog is ordered by the judge to retrieve a fall, and another dog breaks for the same fall and interferes with the working dog to the extent of causing it in any way to make a faulty performance, the dog interfered with should be considered as not having been tested and given another evaluation.

11.1.19 If there is an occurrence which makes for a relatively unfair test of a dogs abilities the judges shall exercise their discretion in determining how to score the abilities of the dog in that series. In doing so the judges may decide that it is necessary to re-run the dog.

  1. The re-run of a mark or blind which was not previously completed shall be scored by taking into consideration the abilities exhibited by the dog prior to the point of unfairness in the initial run, and after the point of unfairness in the re-run.

11.1.20 When ordered to retrieve, the handler shall direct his dog from any position designated by the judges.

11.1.21 Official guns, blind planters, game stewards or persons other than the dog handler shall not assist a dog in finding game. Doing so may, at the discretion of the judges, result in either a re-run of the dog interfered with, or that dog not receiving a qualifying score.

11.1.22 No article or object must be thrown in any test level (Junior, Senior, Owner Handler Master and Master) in order to encourage a dog to enter the water or direct a dog to a fall. Violation of this provision is to be considered sufficient cause for the dog not to receive a qualifying score.

11.1.23 Judges shall have the authority to turn out of a test any dog which does not obey its handler and any handler who interferes willfully with another handler or his dog.

11.1.24 No dog shall be given a qualifying score in Junior, Senior or Master Hunting Tests unless the dog has completed all series held for any dog in the event except a series which has been discontinued.

11.1.25 At the end of the first series in each category (Junior, Senior, Owner Handler Master and Master), and every series thereafter, the judges will call back all dogs which they wish to evaluate further, and will score them in additional hunting situations until the testing category has been concluded. (a) Whenever a dog is graded 0 by 2 judges on the same ability, or whenever it is evident that a dog cannot receive a qualifying score, it shall not be called back to run in subsequent series.

11.1.26 It is essential that all spectators attending a hunt test be kept far enough from the line to enable the dog whose abilities are being evaluated to clearly discern its handler, and nothing shall be done to distract the 38dogs attention from its work. A handler has the right to appeal to the judges if the gallery is interfering with his work in any way, and the judges in their discretion may, if they believe that dog has been interfered with, allow the dog to be re-run at a later time.

11.1.27 In sanctioned hunt tests, any sections of these regulations except those pertaining to gun safety may be relaxed or eliminated, but all entrants should be advised in what respects this is true.

11.1.28 The judges of any hunt test shall not rank dogs in the order of the dogs relative numerical scores, nor shall judges be obliged to divulge any information with respect to the relative standing of numerical scores.

11.1.29 Responsibilities of Gunners

  1. The dogs shall be shot over only by the official guns appointed by the Hunt Test Committee. When under judgment, a handler shall not fire ammunition from any type of firearm.
  2. It is recommended that all gunning be accomplished with breaking type shotguns, and that the guns must be unloaded, broken (or cased) when not in use.
  3. Gunners are to remain quiet and only volunteer information if:
    1. Requested to do so by the judges
    2. They believe their bird to be drifting seriously
    3. The dog retrieves a bird other than the one thrown for it
    4. If there is a significant change in the cover, which may not be apparent to the judges

  4. Unless otherwise instructed, the gunners shall not move their position after their bird is down.

11.1.30 Responsibilities of Handlers

  1. In Junior Hunt Tests, the judges may require the handler to carry an empty shotgun or replica, but may do so only once. The handler need not shoulder the shotgun.
  2. In Senior, Owner Handler Master, and Master Hunt Tests the judges shall require the handler to shoulder or carry an empty shotgun or replica on at least 2 occasions, but a minimum of 3 occasions is recommended.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the test-giving club to provide an empty shotgun or replica and it shall further be the responsibility of the Marshal to ensure that the shotgun is unloaded.
  4. When coming to the line to be tested, and while on line, the dog and handler will assume such positions as may be directed by the judges.
    1. Leashes and collars shall be used as follows: In Senior and Master, dogs shall be brought to the line and taken from the line off-leash and without collars while they are under judgment. Collars and leashes may be put on the dogs after they leave the line and are back of all the judges.
    2. Dogs are under judgment from the time they are called to the line until they have left the line and are behind the judges and on leash.

  5. Until called to be tested, a dog must be kept where it cannot see the location of a fall for another dog, or see the planting or retrieve of a blind, unless such be in compliance with instructions of the judges as in a hunting situation in which the dog is required to honour before being run. Violation of this Section shall cause the dog to not receive a qualifying score. Should the judges or the Hunt Test Committee believe the violation to have been deliberate, the occurrence shall be deemed to have been a display of unsportsmanlike conduct by the handler. If the incident occurs while the dogs abilities are being evaluated the judges shall decide whether or not there has been a violation of this Section and whether or not it was deliberate, otherwise these decisions shall be made by the Hunt Test Committee.
  6. In Keeping with the aim of simulated hunting conditions and situations, handlers, judges, workers and other test participants shall be attired in dark or customary hunting attire which adequately reflects a waterfowling or upland hunting environment and provincially required blaze orange for the upland test where applicable.
  7. No handler shall carry any exposed training equipment (except whistle) or use any other equipment or threatening gestures in such a manner that they may be an aid or threat in steadying or controlling a dog. Violation of this paragraph is sufficient to cause the dog not to receive a qualifying score.
  8. A handler may give a command to sit as the first bird is being thrown in a walk-up in the Senior and Master Hunt Tests. Judges should tell handlers, in advance of the test, when it is appropriate to give the command to sit.
  9. There should be no practicing or training on any part of the test grounds from the start of the test until its conclusion. The throwing of a bumper by a handler for the purpose of exercising his dog shall not be deemed to be practicing or training.
  10. After the Hunt Test Committee and the judges have selected test grounds, or at such earlier date as the test giving club shall determine, no competing dogs shall be trained or exercised in that part of the grounds to be used for the tests.
  11. The right to run a dog cannot be transferred except where the handler has been eliminated from the test or when approved by the Hunt Test Committee.
  12. During the period following, the time of the first shot and until the dogs number is called, the handler of the working or honouring dog should remain silent. Also, in all marking tests, during such period, the handlers hands should remain quietly in close proximity to his body. A handler who projects his hand during such a period, whether for the purpose of assisting his dog to locate a fall or otherwise should be considered to have a threatening gesture, and his dog penalized as outlined below.
  13. No handler shall:
    1. Carry any exposed training equipment, except whistles, game calls and guns, to the line.
    2. Use threatening gestures or any equipment to aid in steadying or controlling a dog.
    3. Hold or intentionally touch a dog while under judgment except as specifically provided for in these rules.
    4. Any violation of these provisions is sufficient grounds to justify elimination from the stake. It is a considerate gesture if the judges notify a handler if a method of restraint might incur a penalty.

  14. When online, whether running or honouring,a handler shall not place his dog or himself so that the dogs full vision of any bird as it falls is blocked.
  15. Walk-up test: A handler may, without penalty, give a command to sit when the first bird is being thrown on a walk-up.
  16. When a handler of a dog under judgment is asked for any reason to pick up his dog, he is still under judgment until he has left the line with his dog at heel in accordance with the judges instructions. When a dog is ordered by the judges to be picked up and run again, the dog should return promptly to its handler.
  17. In a handling situation, whether to a mark or a blind a dog that is allowed to hunt extensively for a bird after handling has begun should be considered out of control.

11.1.31 Responsibilities of Marshals

  1. The marshals of each stake are responsible to ensure the stake runs smoothly. The marshal shall:
    1. Call the dogs to line.
    2. Announce to the judges the number of the dog about to be tested.
    3. Enforce that all spectators attending a test be kept far enough from the line to enable the dog working to clearly discern its handler.
    4. Call back to the line any dog which was picked up and was to be re-tested. How long such a dog shall wait behind the line before being re-tested should be prearranged with the judges so that the handler can be told when he is to run again at the time he picks up his dog.
    5. Obtain the callbacks for the next series from the judges, and announce them.
    6. Generally to assist judges in running the test

11.2 Considerations for Judges

11.2.1 The most important element of judging is to have a thorough understanding of the regulations and guidelines and to apply them fairly and consistently. Consider, also, the purposes of the 3 test levels:

  1. Master tests maintain the quality of the program.
  2. Senior tests encourage owners to train for advanced work.
  3. The Junior test encourages people to continue in the program.

11.2.2 Always arrange to be at the grounds at least a day before the event. Always use set-up dogs to design your tests and always inspect the routes to your falls and blinds for hazards.

11.2.3 Coordinate with the marshal or Hunt Test Chairman the day before to be sure that the proper equipment is on hand.

11.2.4 Be at the grounds at least one hour before starting time.Workers and officials should do the same.

11.2.5 Be sure instructions to bird throwers and gunners are clear.

11.2.6 If you score a dog a zero on any attribute, let your cojudge know. If both judges give the dog a zero, the handler must be informed that the dog can no longer qualify.

11.2.7 If a handler is doing something unusual do not hesitate to advise him or her that the actions can adversely effect the dogs scores.

11.2.8 Make sure the gallery is safely positioned with respect to the guns, and that its position does not interfere with dogs or handlers. If possible, position the gallery so that they can see the dogs work.

11.2.9 Be sure that birds are not left lying around the line. Marshals should keep them out of sight in bags or other containers.

11.2.10 Always be aware on the day of a hunt test that you, as a judge, do not merely represent yourself as an individual. You represent the entire sport and, particularly the Canadian Kennel Club.

11.2.11 When a series is discontinued after one or more dogs have run, the judges should exercise care to locate the new series in an area different from that in which the original series was held. By doing so, they can fairly reevaluate the abilities of the dogs that have already run in the area used for the discontinued hunting situation.

11.3 Interpretational Issues

11.3.1 Prior to a test, the judges must agree on what constitutes creeping, controlled breaks, refusals, recasts and popping, and how these actions will be scored. In determining what constitutes these actions, judges must remember that they are evaluating dogs for their suitability as hunting companions. While some of these traits or actions are serious and others are less so (although they become serious through repetition), it is important to retain the perspective of suitability as a hunting companion. A certain tolerance must be afforded to the dog that still proves effective and accomplishes its purpose in the field.

11.3.2 In keeping with the objectives of the regulations, some standardization is necessary to insure a greater degree of consistency and uniformity in these areas. The following general definitions are intended to be helpful guidelines for judges in making their determinations.

(a) Break

It is generally understood that a break occurs when a dog makes a movement, which in the opinion of the judges, indicates a deliberate intent to retrieve without having been ordered to do so, and cannot be brought under control by the handler.

(b) Controlled break

Controlled break is when a dog leaves to retrieve before being sent, but is quickly brought under control by verbal command or whistle and returns to the handler. A controlled break in Master Hunt Test calls for a 0 score except in the circumstances set out in section 9.3.15(i).

(c) Creeping

Creeping is considered as leaving the handler on a tentative yet excited basis, short of leaving completely to retrieve the bird, or waiting to be sent to retrieve. General unsteadiness, short of breaking.

(d) Popping

Popping is characterized as a voluntary stopping (without command) and looking back to the handler for direction.

(e) Recast

Recast occurs when a dog makes a start toward a marked fall, but stops within a short distance of the line (the distance usually limited to (15) feet or (4.5m) should be agreed upon between the judges) and returns or is recalled to the handler. The dog is then sent to retrieve again. This is most often attributed to confusion on the part of the dog as to whether it was sent to retrieve the first time. It is not considered a recast when a dog goes to the area of the fall, fails to find the bird and returns (or is recalled) to the handler. This must be evaluated as a lack of perseverance.

(f) Refusal

Refusal is disregard of a command. Failure to stop and look to the handler when signaled, failure to continue in that new direction for a considerable distance constitute refusal. Not coming when called is as bad as not going when sent.

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