JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

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JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Peter Butterfield » Wed 07 Oct 2020 12:08 pm

A new paper on advanced techniques for Judging Blind Find Retrieves has just been added to the RA Resources for Judges archive. Open or Download it as a Pdf here.

Enjoy
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Trevor Stevens » Thu 15 Oct 2020 2:39 pm

Hi Karl
240 views and no opinions on your thesis.
It’s relatively easy to consider these scenarios out of 10 points, but lets look at what we are faced with on the scoresheet.
It allocates 10 points for Style Eagerness and Action, 10 for peg work, and 45 for the retrieve.
I divide the 45 points into the retrieve components as follows.
Direction out 10
Marking 15
Nose Eyes Ears 5
Perseverance 5
Direction in 5
Carriage and delivery 5
Others may allocate the points differently.
So for a mark that is pretty straight forward to score. For a Blind less So.
I score a blind in a similar way that you have proposed in your paper in that I like to see a dog take a good line before it has to be handled. I would score that in the “direction out” column. I would use the “marking” column to make deductions for obeyed and disobeyed commands. The “NÉE and Perseverance” columns are gimmies for a dog handled accurately on to the game, but may come in to play if it is handled to the vicinity of the game but has trouble finding it.
Note that although the bottom of the scoresheet provides penalties of up to 10 points deduction for failure to obey command/direction, I only start there [and then only sparingly] if I have exhausted all Marking points. The reason is that in a triple retrieve a one point deduction below the line has three times the impact of a deduction above the line.
Now, lets look at the last three examples that you gave in your paper. In the first scenario, lets say the dog had to be handled 5 to 10 times down a channel. I wont put numbers down, but from me it would have low points for direction out as it had to be handled fairly soon after leaving the pegs - then deductions for every handle. For the third dog, it may have been allowed to swim wide or run the bank to avoid the challenge set by the judge- probably no points for direction out - then deductions for the handles to get it back to the game. As you point out in your other paper “Improving the Judging Standard” (that got 565 views and no critiques) under the heading Interpreting Scoresheets - Blinds, this handler may have avoided the challenge and should be penalised accordingly. The second dog has taken on the challenge and only been somewhat offline, and needed fewer commands. It was probably the better dog.
It’s a bit difficult theorising about these things without the actual terrain in front of you, but I would be interested to get views from other judges as to how they would score these scenarios and, more generally, how they allocate the 45 points for a blind.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Robert Tawton » Thu 15 Oct 2020 6:51 pm

The underlying methodology for assessing the relative merits of the examples provided in Karl's paper is difficult to fault. The aspect that is not addressed is the assessment of the dog's return to its handler to complete the exercise. In my experience the assessment of the return is an area where Judges in Australia have significantly differing views. There are those who are looking for the dog the return to its handler on the line to be considered "perfect" on the way out. Then there are some who pay little or no attention to the route the dog takes on its return and only look for style and action. And there are others who favour the dog who seeks to return by the route that requires the least amount of effort, which in most cases the quickest. In other words the dog displays sagacity. Robert Tawton
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Trevor Stevens » Fri 16 Oct 2020 11:29 am

And what would you be looking for Bob.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Robert Tawton » Fri 16 Oct 2020 9:17 pm

Hi Trevor,
I would give credit to the dog that uses its sagacity to return to its handler in the most efficient and quickest way possible. My approach takes into account Run No1 which, amongst other things, stipulates that a Trial should emulate as closely as possible conditions which would be found whilst hunting. It is without question that all duck hunters want their dog back to them in the shortest time possible in order to be ready for the next retrieve. I also bring to mind a situation that occurred in a National some years ago. In this case the dog was required to angle swim across a river basically swimming with the current to locate the bird on the far bank. One dog that had been slavishly trained to return to its handler on the line out, entered the water but could not make progress against the force of the current. After a about 10 minutes of swimming the dog made little or no progress and was clearly nearing exhaustion. In the end the Judge had to instruct the handler to go down the near shore and to then call the dog in. All the dogs that successfully completed the Retrieve in question used their sagacity and either crossed the river immediately after picking up the game and returned via the near shore or came along the far shore before crossing the river.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Paul Hamson » Mon 19 Oct 2020 5:35 am

Great practical example of sagacity/intelligence/wisdom vs blind obedience Bob. Should we also apply the same logic to a water body with no current e.g. dog returns back along the bank instead of down the channel/river thereby being quicker and more efficient or do we penalise them for being intelligent? Do we require the same demonstration of control on the return as the way out to a retrieve? I know which option most hunters would prefer but I am not sure that correlates with the view of many triallers and judges.

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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Trevor Stevens » Mon 19 Oct 2020 10:01 am

Good point Paul. I don’t think many judges would be expecting the same level of control on the return journey. In any event, I only allocate a small proportion of points for direction in and a dog that doesn’t swim all the way back would not get hammered by me.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Robert Tawton » Tue 20 Oct 2020 10:10 pm

Hi Paul,

In response to your question regarding the dog returning its handler. When the dog is sent to retrieve it does not know where the object to be retrieved is located and therefore is reliant on the handler for direction. Given that the exercise is is one of demonstrating control and that, in theory at least, the dog should be able to locate the game by continuing on the initial given it by the handler. Dogs that avoid water, or fades with cross winds, etcetera should not be scored as highly as those that hold the line. On the return journey the dog knows where is has to go and if is does so by using sagacity to return via a more efficient route it should, in my opinion, be rewarded.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Paul Hamson » Wed 21 Oct 2020 6:04 am

Thanks Bob. That approach is very logical.
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Joe Vella » Wed 21 Oct 2020 12:09 pm

Hi guys I have read your posts with interest and my opinion on this topic is as follows.
I am all for a dog which uses its Sagacity going from the handler to retrieve or returning to the handler with the retrieve.

But I ask,should the following be ignored by judges?
Perseverance.
Returning directly to the Handler.
Not to disturb too much ground.

My opinion is that Sagacity and Perseverance go hand in hand and a dog when returning to the handler with the retrieve should persevere through the obstacle/s which it has already negotiated and it should use its Sagacity when negotiating the obstacles as it did going for the retrieve.

I suggest that when you are on the swamp hunting ducks and you have hunters close by to each other surely you would want your dog to return directly to you with the retrieve and not run around the bank upsetting other hunters and their retrievers as it makes its way back to you.

I do not find it logical that when a dog displays this attitude its being sagacious, I believe it is displaying a fault which is, that it is not returning directly to the handler.

In competition this dog should be scored accordingly.

My opinion differs from the above posts but I enjoyed reading your comments.

Joe Vella
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Karl Britton » Sat 31 Oct 2020 3:11 pm

I agree with a lot of these comments and it is something that I wrote about three years ago;

Sagacity verses lines

Sagacity is often banded about and mentioned both in the dog trialling circuit, the rules but more recently by handlers in articles presented on the RA site. But what does it mean?
We know the dictionary interpretation of sagious means having good judgement or wise! The thesaurus states the following; sagious adjective, they were sagious enough to avoid any outright confrontation: wise, clever, intelligent, knowledgeable, sensible, sage, discerning, judicious, canny perceptive, insightful, perceptive, astute, shrewd, prudent, thoughtful, insightful, peracious, and this is the one that really hits home, opposite to foolish!

So are we really saying a dog can be all of that or is it a word we like to use when a dog has done something to our liking? Have we got this wrong by including it in our rules if we are not going to allow the dog to literally think on its feet makes a decision to tackle a piece of terrain or deviate from a blind line that they are expected to take?

For example I would like present a short scenario: a bird is shot the other side of a fast flowing river. The direct line to that mark is from you to where the bird has fallen on the other side. But to your left is a foot bridge crossing for the river. Your dog, you send for the bird, he runs down to the edge of the river, looks at the bridge and decides he can do the retrieve quicker and more efficiently by running up stream crossing on the bridge and collecting the bird on the other side and returning that way. The dog does just that, the dog gets to the other side of the river using the bridge, locates the bird and returns via the bridge the dog remains dry and the bird is dry.

Or are we saying that regardless of the situation presented to the dog, that the most direct line to shot game is the most desired approach to all situations? Because if it is then we all should be quite clear in what is expected of a dog in this situation and going across the bridge, all though wise and clever and maybe sagious is not the desired path or line they should take.

Therefore what are we trying to do when competing and a run is presented or a shooting scenario of what could occur when out shooting in the field, are we really saying let’s take away any judgement from a dog and teach it to run straight lines and nothing but lines.
Rules for retrieving trials: Then if this is the case we should look at either rewording Para 94 of the rules and remove Sagacity and amend the Purpose at the beginning of rules, Para 2 and 3 to reflect that a dog that strides the most direct route from the release of the handler to the point of the retrieve, i.e. the best line, which would include all the other great cries of retrieving briskly and without too much disturbance to the ground etc.

This area requires some healthy discussion as potential rule change as there is a misnomer on our interpretation of the two and it is something that requires clarifying for both the judge and competitor.

Depending and I am not predicting any change or the outcome of what I have mentioned, coupled with this would be the score sheet which would require a review to possible reflect the outcome as we subconsciously divide the retrieving score of 45 for the retrieve into areas as a judge that suits our interpretation of this, i.e. Line out, line back, nose eyes and ears aswell as face cover or the obstacle that was presented on the run and delivery. But nothing in black and white to say that is what we must do or will help us to award an accurate score of what occurred on that run. Or as a competitor that if your dog runs around the obstacle presented before you that you will not receive a great score and it will be reflected accordingly in the score sheet.

I have only briefly touched on this vast subject and I think that there could be room for improvement both from a competitors point of view on what they must do to train their dog to become successful and correctly tackle a run and coupled with that what a judge should be looking for when setting runs and judging a dog over that run taking into account conditions on the day.

Expecting a dog to swim a very narrow spit of water when it can quickly hop out and run down the side does not allow the dog to offer sagacity in its judgement, so as a judge if we want dogs to tackle an obstacle or line in a specific way, the obvious direct line from the handler then the obstacle must be large enough to become just that a large obstacle that still presents the most desired, direct and quickest route to the retrieve and is still the best option to take. This gives the dog a fighting chance of presenting itself as an honest dog that has got sagacity and working with the handler. If not a dog will avoid that obstacle and run around putting itself off line, depending on the situation a dog may or may not correct itself and if it does indeed correct itself and you are sharp enough to spot this when it occurs, you could say that dog displayed good sagacity!

Yours in trialling,

Karl
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Re: JUDGING BLINDS by K.Britton

Postby Peter Betteridge » Wed 11 Nov 2020 7:31 am

Many different opinions from many knowledgeable people.This is a problem that we need to fix,
i agree with Joe a dog that runs the bank on the way back from a retrieve is a menace in the field and a nuance to other shooters as well as demonstrating poor training or laziness and should be penalized accordingly
i think the main issue is proportionality in awarding points for an example Trevor awards only 8 points for the line out and yet there are 10 on offer for heeling and he awards points for sagacity which could be dealt with under style
if the run was a single water blind the dog that handles early and is pushed up in the corridor has to be 25 points behind a dog that lines it a dog that makes no attempt to remain in the corridor no matter how few commands they take to pick it up needs to be another 15 behind or more
if a judge sets up a test and puts obstacles in front of dog the expectation is that handler will attempt to get his dog to go over and thru whatever is presented
As judges we must not become guilty of judging the trivial harshly and neglecting the fundamentals
for example i have seen judges ask handlers to reposition their dogs in the hide after the dog has moved 1 yard and deducted 5 points and yet allow dogs in the field where it actually counts to blow thru whistles for 15 metres using that logic should there be a 50 point deduction ?????????????????????
overwhelmingly the initial line to the blind must carry the most weight of all points awarded
a dog that runs out of the corridor is not doing the test and must be given a major deduction
a dog that has a poor initial line but is handled up in the corridor with positive momentum has done a creditable job but must be a a long way behind a dog that lines it
a dog that doesn't attempt the test irrespective of how quickly they pick it up is again a lot further behind again
the rules state the we as judges are there to access the working ability of the dogs in the field overwhelmingly that is where we must separate our dogs and award the vast bulk of our points
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