16 Classification of Faults

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16.1 Guidelines

16.1.1 Classification of the many faults which may be exhibited by retrievers during the course of a hunting test shall be primarily in terms of generalizations. In the lists which follow, various infractions are cataloged as serious moderate and minor faults.

  1. Each fault should be considered as a single occurrence.
  2. Repetition of a fault, particularly time after time, indicates a weakness or a bad habit, and justifies much more penalty than in an isolated occurrence of this fault. The same holds true when there is a combination of different faults. Such repetition or multiplicity of faults frequently indicates failing or an habitual tendency which produces neither a finished job nor one pleasing to the eye.
  3. The faults listed in this classification are limited to those that are observed most at retriever hunt tests. Others may occur and this classification may serve as a helpful guide, on such occasions, in determining the relative importance of such unusual offences.
  4. The primary consideration of judges in respect to the importance of faults listed here as well as others which may occur, is to determine the extent to which any and all such infractions would detract from the full enjoyment of a days shoot.
  5. A judge may be thoroughly justified in moderating a penalty or even in failing to impose one, if there have been extenuating circumstances to justify such action. Much can be achieved in attaining great uniformity of judging through uniformed definitions of the various serious, moderate and minor faults. However, the personal equation cannot be eliminated completely since each judge must determine the relative seriousness of individual faults, repetition of faults, or combination of faults, which occur in the performance by dogs in a particular hunt test.
  6. The faults set out in these summaries are extracted from the fuller descriptions set out in the body of the rule book. In case of conflict between the faults described below and the rules set out in the body of the rule book, the rules shall govern. The applicable rules section numbers are set out in parentheses beside each applicable fault.Where there is a cf notation it refers the reader to a similar description of faults but with a different degree of seriousness.

16.2 Serious Handler Faults

16.2.1 These faults cover all those instances where the Standard describes conduct of the handler that justifies elimination from the stake:

  1. In marking situations lining a dog in the direction of any fall or any gun station before all the falls are down.[12.6 (a)]
  2. The handler of a honoring dog makes noise or gives a command loud enough to interfere with the working dog(s). [12.6 (b), 12.6 (c), 12.6 (d)]
  3. Unsportsmanlike Conduct abusing or harassing a Judge, official or any other person present in any capacity; or, kicking, striking or otherwise roughly manhandling a dog while the event is in progress. [3.8.1, 7.21. 7.22]
  4. deliberately permitting a dog to see the location of a fall for another dog, or to see the planting or retrieve of a blind [11.1.30 (e)]
  5. Willfully Interfering with another handler or with his or her dog. [11.1.23]
  6. Carrying exposed training equipment (except whistles, calls & guns) in the Master and Senior Hunt tests. [11.1.30 (g), 11.1.30 (m) (i) (ii)]
  7. Pulling out leash in front of Judges (Master and Senior levels). [11.1.30 (L), 11.1.30 (m) (iii) (iv)]
  8. Restraining a dog on line holding or touching a dog to keep it steady, or verbally restraining a dog (Master and Senior levels). [11.1.30 (m) (iii) (iv), 12.6 (c), 12.11, 15.4.2 (b)]
  9. Threatening Gestures or any form of intimidation made to the dog. [11.1.30 (g) 11.1.30 (L), 11.1.30 (m) (ii) (iv)]
  10. Blocking a dogs view of a bird a handler placing his dog or himself so that the dogs full vision of a bird is blocked. [11.1.30 (n)]
  11. Throwing objects to encourage water entry or direct a dog to a fall. [11.1.22]
  12. Lack of safe gun handling. [13.1.8]

16.3 Serious Dog Faults

16.3.1 These faults are usually sufficient to justify elimination from the stake:

  1. A break or controlled break by either the working or the honoring dog results in mandatory elimination in the Master Hunt, except in the upland test where a controlled break is allowed and considered a minor fault. [9.3.8, 11.1.17, 11.3.2 (a), 11.3.2 (b)]
  2. A dog that pays no attention to many whistles and/or directions by its Handler unless the existence of valid mitigating circumstances. [12.5, 15.4.2 (c)]
  3. On a mark or blind, a dog that is allowed to hunt extensively after handling has begun should be considered out of control. [11.1.30 (q)]
  4. On a blind retrieve, a dog that is out of sight for an unreasonable period of time should be considered out of control. [13.4.4]
  5. Failure to deliver to hand.[9.1.6,9.2.5,9.3.7]
  6. Freezing - refusal to release a bird on delivery for an unreasonable period of time or until compelled to do so by severe methods. [12.9 (b), 15.4.2 (d), 15.4.2 (d) (ii)]
  7. Hard Mouth - badly damaging a bird, or making it unfit for human consumption, which in the opinion of the judges was caused solely by the dog without justification [12.9 (c), 15.4.2 d (i), 15.4.2 (ii)]
  8. Switching birds - giving up after establishing a hunt in the area of the fall for one bird and then going to the area of another fall and establishing a hunt; or dropping the bird being retrieved and going for another. [9.2.11, 9.3.4, 12.12, 15.3.3 (d), 15.3.4]
  9. Failure to enter - either rough cover, water, ice mud, or any other situation involving unpleasant or difficult going for the dog, after having been ordered to do so several times. [12.13, 15.3.2]
  10. On a mark retrieve, returning to the handler without the bird except in a recast attributed to confusion on the part of the dog as to whether it was really ordered to retrieve. [12.7, 15.3.3 (a)]
  11. Stops its hunt. [12.7, 15.3.3 (a)]
  12. Blinks a bird - fails to pick the bird up, and leaves it after making the find. [12.7, 15.3.3 (e)]
  13. Failure to find a bird which the dog should have found.[12.8]
  14. Retrieving a decoy. [12.9]
  15. Loud and prolonged barking or whining. [12.10]
  16. Excessive handling required to maintain range and position during the upland test in the Master Hunt test. [9.3.5, 9.3.15 (b)]
  17. Not steady to shot in the Master Hunt upland test. [9.3.15, 9.3.15 (f)]
  18. Failure to return when called. [11.1.30 (p), 11.3.2 (f)]
  19. Repeatedly popping on a blind. [15.4.2 (c) (iii)]
  20. An unprovoked aggressive dog attack. [8.1.5]
  21. Handling on more than one mark in Junior. [9.1.4]

16.3 Moderate Dog Faults

16.4.1 Infractions in this category may actually be so slight as to warrant their consideration as only a minor fault, or they may be so severe as to warrant their consideration as a serious fault; also, repetitions of a moderate fault or a combination of several of these faults may readily convert the total infraction into a serious fault.

  1. Failure to proceed directly to the area of the fall and initiate a hunt, disturbing cover clearly out of the area of the fall.
  2. In the Master Hunt Test: Failure to go directly to the area of the fall and setup a hunt, requiring the dog to be handled to the mark as a result.
  3. Reluctance to enter - rough cover, water, ice, mud or other situations Involving unpleasant going for the dog. [12.13, 15.3.2]
  4. Hunting in a slow, lackadaisical, disinterested manner. [15.2.2 (c), 15.3.1, 15.3.3 (b)]
  5. Poor style the lack of an alert and obedient attitude, a fast, determined departure both on land and into the water, an aggressive search for the fall, a prompt pick up, and a reasonably fast return. [15.2.2 (a), 15.2.2 (b), 15.2.2 (c), 15.2.2 (d), 15.2.2 (e)]
  6. Popping on a marked retrieve - stopping and looking back to its handler for directions on a marked fall. [11.3.2 (d), 15.3.3 (c), 15.4.2 (c) (i) (c), 15.4.2 (c) (iii)]
  7. Multiple whistle refusals - not stopping for directions after two or three whistles which the dog should have heard. [12.5, 15.4.2 (c) (i) (c), 15.4.2 (c) (i) (d), 15.4.2 (c) (ii), 15.4.2 (c) (iii)]
  8. Multiple cast refusals - failure to take lines and directions, or to hold lines and directions more than a short distance [9.3.11, 11.3.2 (f), 15.4.2 (c) (i) (e), 15.4.2 (c) (i) (f), 15.4.2 (c) (ii), 15.4.2 (c) (iii)]
  9. Moderate whining of short duration. [12.10]
  10. Controlled break in a Senior Hunt test, after which the dog is brought immediately under control providing it does not interfere with the working dog. [9.2.4, 9.2.8, 9.3.8, 9.3.15, 11.3.2 (a), 11.3.2 (b)]
  11. Extreme or persistent creeping or serious lack of steadiness and general poor line manners. [9.2.4, 11.3.2 (c)]
  12. Recast. [9.2.6, 9.3.9, 11.3.2 (e), 12.7, 15.3.5]
  13. Talking to the working dog in the Master Hunt test the handler should remain silent from the time the first shot is fired until the judge release the dog. [11.1.30 (h), 11.1.30 (L), 11.1.30 (o), 12.6 (c)]
  14. Talking to the honour dog in the Master hunt test [12.6 (c), 12.6 (d)]
  15. Conspicuously intensive lining suggests a weak marking ability. [12.6]

16.5 Minor Dog Faults

16.5.1 Either severe or repeated or combinations of these minor infractions may summate into a moderate or even a serious fault. Also, they may be so slight as not to warrant any penalty at all.

  1. Lack of attention.[15.2.1,15.2.2]
  2. Poor line-manners - heeling poorly; not immediately taking and staying in the position designated; dropping a bird at delivery; jumping after a bird; not remaining quietly on line after delivery. [9.1.5, 15.4.1, 15.4.2 (b), 15.4.2 (d)]
  3. Slow pick-up of a dead bird - (except when fluttering or badly shot-up); dropping a bird; handling game in a sloppy manner. [15.2, 15.2.2]
  4. Unsteadiness on-line, including creeping. [9.2.4, 9.3.8, 15.4.2 a)]
  5. Whistle refusal not stopping at the first whis- tle that should have been heard, but stopping at the second or third. [11.3.2(f), 12.5, 15.4.2 (c) (i), 15.4.2 (c) (ii)]
  6. Cast Refusal - Occasional failure to hold the line or to take the handlers directions for more than a few yards. [ 11.3.2 (f), 12.5, 5.4.2 (c) (i), 12.5, 15.4.2 (c) (ii), 15.4.2 (c) (iii)]
  7. Popping, stopping and looking back for direc- tions, on a blind retrieve - where there are no extenuating circumstances. [13.3.2 (d), 15.3.3 (c), 15.4.2 (iii)]
  8. Slight freezing - reluctance to give up a bird. [12.9 (b), 15.4.2 (d)]
  9. Slight short whining or one bark while on the line or on being sent to retrieve. [12.10]
  10. Roughness with game. [15.4.2 (d)]
  11. Excessive noise encouraging the dog to hunt in the Junior Hunt test. [9.1.7]
  12. A single recast in the Junior Hunt test. [9.1.3, 15.3.5]
  13. Handling on a mark. [9.1.4, 9.2.7]
  14. A controlled break in the Master Hunt test. [9.2.4 (i)]
  15. A controlled break in the Junior Hunt test. [9.2.4]
  16. Creeping in a Senior Hunt test. [9.2.4]
  17. Creeping in a Master Hunt test. [9.3.8]
  18. Talking to the working dog or honouring dog in the Senior hunt test it is desirable that the handler remain silent from the time the first shot is fired until the judges release the dog. [11.1.30 (h), 11.1.30 (L), 12.6 (b)]

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