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I was wondering if anyone knows much about or has experience in hunt trials. I really think Darcy has a natural instinct for birds (he is obsessed with pigeons) and his retrieve for just under 13 weeks is pretty great. I'd love to find out more about training for and competing in hunt trials, but have been struggling to find info online. If anyone could provide personal experience, or links, it would be much appreciated!
 

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I too have a dog who has field potential....this was one of the traits I was looking for when I got him. My friend and mentor has put a Junior Hunter title on her standard poodle, and we've started a bit of field work with my standard poodle and her young golden retriever. We are going to start lessons in June with John Hamilton...I think he lives in Cambridge. I'll get his info for you if you like.
From what I understand, you need to be careful about training poodles for field work...they're not as tough as Labs and need to be treated as such.
So far I have been doing retrieves with bumpers and (dead)pigeons (thrown both on land and water by a 'gunner'), and I've introduced a (dead)duck to Troy. We've also worked on a recall to a whistle. I have to tell you, I am totally pumped about doing field work...there's something very satisfying about working with a dog's natural instinct.
 

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Are you talking about Retriever Hunting tests? I was checking the AKC site and under eligible breeds it only lists standard poodles. And doesn't list even Standards as eligible breeds for Retriever Field trials. I would like to know more about minis in performance sports.

Standards and Minis are both eligible to earn Working Certificates (found this info on the PCA site, along with links to people who can give you more information).

Go for it!!!
 

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(Standards and Minis are both eligible to earn Working Certificates (found this info on the PCA site)


Both Cdnjennga and I are Canadian...minis can earn WC, WCI and WCX in Canada. I know of some that are working on it! The trouble I've seen is that the tests involve retrieving a duck, which is pretty big for a mini to carry. But, if the instinct and drive are there, it can be done.
As far as I know, Standards can compete in Hunt Tests, but not yet in Field Trials.
I'll be happy to earn a WC with Troy, and then reassess if we can go further. His Great-Grandfather was the first poodle to earn a Master Hunter in the US (Bibelot's Silver Power Play) and his Aunt has also earned a MH (Bibelot Tolka Hands Up). Though I've never handled a gun, let alone shot a bird, I love seeing the natural, original instinct come out in Poodles.
I agree, if Cdnjennga's mini has the talent, she should pursue it, but it's hard to find someone to train with in this area.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think he does have the talent, it's me who would probably hold us back as I'm squeamish about dead animals etc. My mom has expressed an interest though so we will see! The biggest barrier I foresee, outside of his smaller size, is getting him comfortable with the noise of guns etc. I will have to look more into it. Vibrant, I might be in touch if my mom indicates she is serious about this!
 

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Here is Jib doing some field work:
Hunting

I would contact some of your local working retriever clubs and tell them that you are interested in training. Most clubs will be happy to have you, so if you initially talk to someone who is less than encouraging, keep looking until you find someone helpful.

Start now though. Bird drive needs to be encouraged and developed early.
 

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You may want to contact Harmony Mountain hunting Poodles or Louter Creek Poodles for pointers too. They both breed for this type of competition. I have a hard time getting Louter Creek to return calls, but Harmony Mountain are great at getting back to people. They are both American but I am sure, like Vibrant, may be able to offer suggestions and tips for you.
 

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Vibrant, I might be in touch if my mom indicates she is serious about this![/QUOTE]


Sure!!
The nice thing about Canadian Working and Hunt Tests is that they don't actually shoot birds....they are already dead and thrown by a gunner.(I know it's the same outcome for the poor birds, but at least we don't have to see them shot!). So all you have to do is take the pigeon/duck from the dog. Alot of training is done with bumpers and Dokkens (fake birds), so the actual training shouldn't be too traumatic for you!!!
I'd like to say again that training a poodle for field work is different to training a retriever. Poodles are much softer, are thinkers and not as driven to retrieve and anyone you choose to train with must be aware of this. Not many poodles are involved in field training around here, so not many trainers are experienced with poodles. Just my little bit of advice!
 

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I've been training my two poodles for hunting/trials using Mike Stewart's Wildrose DVD"S. He breeds British/Irish Labs and trains UK style (no force fetch or e-collars). So far it's working great, but I have not run a hunt test yet with either dog so I still need to see how well British training works in American hunt tests.

To train the UK way you must start working with the pup when it's very young so that you can shape the right behavior without using harsh corrections. Also introduce your pup to birds and swimming now. Some poodles lack water courage and others can become fearful of live birds.

Try to find a good group to train with. I recently found an Upland Gun Dog group that is very open-minded and my dogs are more relaxed and having more fun. It's a nice change from the hardcore (Labs, force fetch, e-collars are only way) retriever training group I used to train with. I even got my first compliments on their training!:):):)

Most importantly have FUN!!!
 

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To train the UK way you must start working with the pup when it's very young so that you can shape the right behavior without using harsh corrections. Also introduce your pup to birds and swimming now. Some poodles lack water courage and others can become fearful of live birds.
Thanks, your approach sounds like the approach I would take if I pursue this! E collars etc are not my style. :)

So in terms of the birds, is there a way you suggest introducing them? Darcy is a bird chaser, small or large (pigeons are his favourite) he loves to run in the midst of them to get them flying. The only time I have seen him slightly cower from birds was when a huge bunch of them flew right over our heads in the park after some bread someone had thrown. And even then he wasn't scared persay, just surprised.

The water is no problem, we are heading to a Michigan lake for the long week-end over July 1st/ 4th and plan to have him swimming by the end of it. :)
 

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I've been training my two poodles for hunting/trials using Mike Stewart's Wildrose DVD"S. He breeds British/Irish Labs and trains UK style (no force fetch or e-collars). So far it's working great, but I have not run a hunt test yet with either dog so I still need to see how well British training works in American hunt tests.

To train the UK way you must start working with the pup when it's very young so that you can shape the right behavior without using harsh corrections. Also introduce your pup to birds and swimming now. Some poodles lack water courage and others can become fearful of live birds.

Try to find a good group to train with. I recently found an Upland Gun Dog group that is very open-minded and my dogs are more relaxed and having more fun. It's a nice change from the hardcore (Labs, force fetch, e-collars are only way) retriever training group I used to train with. I even got my first compliments on their training!:):):)

Most importantly have FUN!!!
Great advice, Desiree, and congrats on the compliments! This is exactly the way I'm training my boy....no force fetch (or like I say, the force fetch without the force!), and no e-collars. I hope it works well!
My problem would be dealing with live birds. Our (Canadian) Working and Hunt tests don't require a live bird to be shot...I don't think anyone trains with live birds (though I may be wrong about this...any training I've seen has been with dead birds). Do you train with live birds?
I'm going to check out those DVD's...thanks!
 

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Great advice, Desiree, and congrats on the compliments! This is exactly the way I'm training my boy....no force fetch (or like I say, the force fetch without the force!), and no e-collars. I hope it works well!
My problem would be dealing with live birds. Our (Canadian) Working and Hunt tests don't require a live bird to be shot...I don't think anyone trains with live birds (though I may be wrong about this...any training I've seen has been with dead birds). Do you train with live birds?
I'm going to check out those DVD's...thanks!
I've use live birds every few weeks just to keep it interesting for the dogs. As you know Poodles are smart and they can get bored and start making up creative ways to do their work. So changing up retrieve objects like; Dokkens, plastic/canvas dummies w/wing attached, bird scented tennis balls or frozen/thawed/live birds just keeps things interesting. Plus I going to hunt them this fall and they have to be able to find and retrieve fresh shot birds.


Here's a link to Wildrose Kennels. Lot's of good info about training UK style.
Wildrose Kennels - Trainers and Breeders of the Finest British Labrador - Gentleman's Gundogs Since 1972
 

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Thanks, your approach sounds like the approach I would take if I pursue this! E collars etc are not my style. :)

So in terms of the birds, is there a way you suggest introducing them? Darcy is a bird chaser, small or large (pigeons are his favourite) he loves to run in the midst of them to get them flying. The only time I have seen him slightly cower from birds was when a huge bunch of them flew right over our heads in the park after some bread someone had thrown. And even then he wasn't scared persay, just surprised.

The water is no problem, we are heading to a Michigan lake for the long week-end over July 1st/ 4th and plan to have him swimming by the end of it. :)
If you decide to train UK style, I'd first start playing retrieve in the house down a hallway with a knotted sock. Encourage the straight out and back. Maybe three reps, three times a week. Always leave the pup wanting more. Then do the same outside along a straight edge (fence). Then introduce a partially thawed (no frost) pigeon/quail to retrieve. Then work up to a live bird restrained by a pigeon harness. Just a few retrieves with birds are needed maybe once every 3-4 weeks. You don't want to get the pup all wound up and excited though, otherwise you'll have to use hard corrections to restore control later. Use birds in moderation at this stage, just to peek interest and turn on their nose and feel something moving in their mouths.

Don't let them mouth, chew, or pull feathers. If that happens, remove the birds until after hold conditioning at about 6 months of age.
 

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The first DVD The Wildrose Way Retriever Training. The second just came out this year, Training the Upland GunDog the Wildrose Way. Check out some of this stuff on Youtube. Cheers.
 

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Check out VIP. they have hunt tests for poodles. Its hard otherwise to get them into hunt tests..also check out NAVDA. they can give some great ideas for hunt tests.
 

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If you decide to train UK style, I'd first start playing retrieve in the house down a hallway with a knotted sock. Encourage the straight out and back. Maybe three reps, three times a week. Always leave the pup wanting more. Then do the same outside along a straight edge (fence). Then introduce a partially thawed (no frost) pigeon/quail to retrieve. Then work up to a live bird restrained by a pigeon harness. Just a few retrieves with birds are needed maybe once every 3-4 weeks. You don't want to get the pup all wound up and excited though, otherwise you'll have to use hard corrections to restore control later. Use birds in moderation at this stage, just to peek interest and turn on their nose and feel something moving in their mouths.

Don't let them mouth, chew, or pull feathers. If that happens, remove the birds until after hold conditioning at about 6 months of age.
A quick question, sorry this is almost a month after you posted this, hope you find it, lol.

Why use the fence as a straight guide? To teach the dog to just go straight to the bird instead of exploring on the way there/back?
 

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A quick question, sorry this is almost a month after you posted this, hope you find it, lol.

Why use the fence as a straight guide? To teach the dog to just go straight to the bird instead of exploring on the way there/back?
Yes, and if you can train in the same area as the pups grows; other concepts like 180 degree double marks, casting back, left and right, stop whistle etc. can easily be taught along the fence. If your not going train advanced concepts it may not be that important for your dog. Have fun!
 
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