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I don't know about the rest of you but when grouse hunting I don't sing to my dog. In my limited experience the more noise I make the less success I have. In last years spring stake I got braced with a guy that sang constantly to his run off english pointer. Which by the way did run off and was found considerably later. I guess the dog liked the singing as much as I did. Frankly my dog hadn't been exposed to that much noise and I think it through him off a little. Does anyone else think that singing during a hunting dog stake is bull ****. mac
 

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We're with you Mac!! Had the same experience during the Summer Hunting dog trial at Gladwin. It was my first time there and you could have knocked me over with a feather when my bracemate started singing to his dog as soon as they were released! We have always hunted quiet. My dog ran without bell or beeper. For all the singing - the other guys dog also ran off chasing a deer and was found several hours later. Just don't think there should be anyone singing during a HUNTING DOG trial. We feel its our dog's job to know where we are. Just our opinion!
 

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I like and respect the first two posters, but I have to disagree! I could complain about loud beepers on short-going dogs that prevent me from hearing my dogs who run a little bigger, but I don't.
One of the nice things about the hunting dog stakes are the variety of dogs that you'll see there. Some are slow-going 30-50 yarders and some are driven, competitive, and range a little and therefore require some handling. Both varieties pull placements, and there's plenty of room for both.
Remember, there are a lot of trials won at Gladwin with much more high-powered dogs than you'll see in the hunting dog.
 

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Yeah, that would P---me off too! It would be no different than bringing a cellphone out into the trial field and have a it go off IMO.

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Singing to your dog in a field trial may be common place, but it sounds silly to me. I hunt a few times a year with a fella who has a trialer's mentality. He is off and running through the woods pretty quick. I can tell if he is coming back my way by his 'singing'.
 

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I did some grouse field trialing in the 80's and 90's and found myself braced with some legendary "singers" and competitors. I found if I wanted to have a fighting chance that I needed to condition my dogs to the noise and once I did it didn't really effect them.

That said, I am a hunter and noise is generally not your friend when you are trying to kill grouse. I run my dogs without a bell, and a beeper set on point only. Furthermore, I call to my dog very little while hunting.

If I were judging gun dog trial and a competitor needed to handle his dog constantly or needed to sing to the dog to keep it digging and aware of the handlers location I would judge it accordingly.
 

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I think that while we're banning handling techniques, we might as well drop the whistle too. After all, they're more generic than a handler's voice and therefore more apt to interfere with the other dog's performance.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Chewy, It's a hunting dog stake to select hunting dogs not a field trial. If it is about hunting my point is that most people try to limit noise while hunting. The field trial or cover dogs are conditioned to run with the singing but most of our hunting dogs are never exposed to the noise and I think it is distracting. If the dog runs so big that it requires constant noise to keep it in contact maybe it should be running in the cover dog stake not the hunting dog stake. mac
 

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He walks too fast.
She walks to slow.
His dog runs too big.
His whistle distracts my dog.
His singing bothers me.
The judge hunts with labs.

If you try hard enough, there is always something to be pissy about....
 

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Jay makes a good point--if the dog is out of the pocket so much that it requires excessive handling (by voice, whistle or both) to keep it on the course, the judges have the right to mark the dog down or exclude the dog in the placements. In effect, the dog will beat itself.

Mike, a big runner doesn't necessarily take a lot of handling and there are plenty of excellent hunting hunting dogs who run relatively big. Secondly, I'm not sure what you're implying, but not every big running dog is going to be successful at sanctioned field trials--like any class of dog, very few will make it because it takes a lot more than range and run to win. Come on up this Spring and walk some braces in some sanctioned stakes--I should be there every weekend. I'll even buy the beer!:lol:
 

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"Erp" seems to work well to let my dogs know where I am and when to change their direction. It's short and doesn't make a lot of noise. If I'm having to hollar "here" to my dogs they aren't handling.

I don't trial.
 

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I would say excessive handling may be a simple reaction for a nervous handler. Who wants to loose their dog at a trial. Ive had my share of big runners and through experience have eased myself out of the anxiety attacks.

Last year I hunted with a friend that had a beeper collar that was playing a leonard skynard tune, his dog was running around in circles and I couldnt even hear my dogs bell stop when he went on point. To each his own, I ran away from him so I could get some hunting done!
 

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I entered Schatzie in a Hunting Dog Stake in Gladwin on summer, my bracemate was singing to his dog, and she was out farther than his dog, she was responding to him singing. I'm thinking, "this is a good deal, I'll save my voice". Within about 20 minutes, Schatzie turned on the afterburners and disappeared out of beeper range. So much for that. LOL I don't mind the singing. Guess I go to trials with the wrong mindset. I had a blast that day.
 

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I like and respect the first two posters, but I have to disagree! I could complain about loud beepers on short-going dogs (AGREE, if I do use a beeper in heavy cover it is on point only) that prevent me from hearing my dogs who run a little bigger, but I don't.
One of the nice things about the hunting dog stakes are the variety of dogs that you'll see there. Some are slow-going 30-50 yarders and some are driven, competitive, and range a little and therefore require some handling. SOME handling on the big running dogs - YES, but when the singing is NON-STOP and in Mac's brace and mine it didn't work - both dogs ran off and were not found for hours. I understand the singing in the cover dog trials etc. This was for Hunting Dogs. Both varieties pull placements, and there's plenty of room for both.
Remember, there are a lot of trials won at Gladwin with much more high-powered dogs than you'll see in the hunting dog.
I guess I believe "less noise, better chance that the birds won't head for the hills". :)

I believe it is my dogs job to know where I am because he is supposed to be hunting for me. If I change direction and he is too far away to see me change a short whistle or "hip" is all that is needed.
 

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I think the next time it happens just politely ask the handler or the judge if it could be toned down a little.

Most guys/gals will know when the dog is not performing well and pick it up. Its no benefit for the dog in this situation, only teaches him he can do it alone.
 
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