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     Judging a formal or informal event, be that a Shooting Dog stake of a Field Trial, is an honour and a demanding job that requires a broad knowledge, keen observational skills and no small amount of integrity.

One of those important skills is to observe which direction the wind is blowing. 

Balloon blowing in the wind
All Age Spaniel Field Trial Judges

All Age Judges September 2023

  Eric Hammer (Montana), Richard Murphy, Randy Setzer (Montana), Steve Harper (MIA)

Spaniel Field Trial Advanced Judging Conference

Educational Conference for Current Spaniel Judges

July 21st and 22nd, 2023

Northern Minnesota English Springer Spaniel Club

"This seminar is designed for current judges who would like to offer their judging situations and how each was judged to explain to others how they judged a situation and to make sure the right call was made.

Also, to have open discussions about judging situations that have happened to reassure you as a judge that the right call was made."

Thanks to the Northern Minnesota Club for sharing the idea.

I invite others to do exactly what Wayne B has done below and we will post them as they are submitted.

Judging Situations, a starting point.

These answers are my current leanings as a judge and I am always ready to learn.

Wayne B

  1. Dog sent on a long sailed out retrieve – dog comes up short circles back ¼ way back to the handler – sits down, waiting for handler direction: handler gives right hand back and dog buttons retrieve.

1a. Short mark

1b. Gave up looking.

1c. Handled perfectly back to fall.

Answer: Perseverance is noted in the rule book as a valuable quality.  Obviously, this is not perfect. Retriever terms call this behaviour ; “Popping". Typically, it occurs when a dog has been trained to handle and there has been a little too much training.

Now judging it will depend on some factors.

Comes up short; how short? Five yards on a ninety yard retrieve? No big deal.

a) Was the bird visible to the dog? b) Was the line of flight visible?  c) Blind fall?   Make note of this and judge accordingly. 

Handling:  A+.  A quick handling job is preferable to a dog wandering a field aimlessly searching.

The balancing act will be how to manage the lack of perseverance and good handling. The dog is not eliminated because it “popped” nor for being handled.

In the end, judges take the notes and compare all the performances on the day. If other dogs persevered and pinned long sailing retrieves, they will place higher.

2. Throw out of an honor dog that brace bird was dropped close to dog.

Answer:  What is close?  Do you punish a dog for a gunning error? I would mark a dog up that was able to handle a particularly difficult situation.  I would not eliminate a dog for a gunning error.

It will depend on a variety of factors not just proximity of the fall.  The flight path of the bird; the dogs path of travel; the type of cover.  a) Wide open country and the dog in question is moving slowly and has seen the bird coming.  b) Thick trees, grass or bush and the fall is a complete surprise.

If  the fall is within 5 yards of the dog, it will get a complete pass from me. I guarantee that the gunner will be looking at me very sheepishly apologizing to the handler and promising not to do it again.


3. Water retrieve – failed to enter initially – after much coaxing dog makes retrieve – does it place, drop down, no placement?

Answer: In Canada the Water work is a Series and is judged like any other series.  This situation would be noted. If the bird is collected, it did not fail the retrieve. Placing or not, will depend on all the other work on the day not this single instance.  Does bold to cover include water? I think so. I do not expect a dog to perform a flying leap crashing into the water. A purposeful entry is preferred.

4. When to call a passed bird

Answer: This one is a pet peeve of mine actually.

A blatant infraction:

You are walking in mid-calf high grass, hunting straight into the wind, and the judge taps you on the shoulder. She draws your attention to the planted pheasant sleeping on the ground between you and themself. Your dog is ten yards in front of you, quartering back and forth, and had just “covered” this ground. This is not a bird that ran in from somewhere. It is sleeping dead center of the course and your dog just failed to scent that bird.


This decision is predicated on the fact that your dog was not, immediately prior to this announcement, working a moving bird down the course. You can not expect a dog to work two birds at once.

It is also rather blatant infraction if the handler steps on the bird, literally, and it flushes.  The handler has advanced the line and the bird has been flushed by the wrong member of the team.

Use the same caveat as earlier regarding moving birds/two birds at once.

(Lord help the gunner that moves forward of the handler and steps on a bird)


You know the rules. You are responsible to find all the birds on your course.  Don’t be leaving game on your course.

14.12 In game finding, the dog should cover all his ground on the beat, leaving no game in his territory.

You will note in this instance, it is quite clear that the line of progress has passed the bird.  The dog has been provided every opportunity to hunt its “line of quest” to the handler’s satisfaction and the handler has proceeded forward, advancing "the line".

The Line is comprised of the handler and their guns, with the judge immediately behind. The judge(s) may be positioned to the right and/or left.

The dog will repeatedly pass birds if it is working the wind properly or the pheasant changes direction as it is pursued and moves through cover to evade the dog. That is not a fault. It is the proper use of wind and is the hallmark of excellent game finding ability. Game does not move in straight lines, and they certainly do not avail themselves of the flag line. The dogs natural ability used to pursue these moving birds, is of great value and, the more difficult the puzzle, the more esteem for the dog’s talent.

When game is moving on the course it is advisable for the judge to be reluctant to call a passed bird.  Where did that bird actually come from?  How quickly can a Pheasant move half the width of a course/beat?

There are too many occasions where I have witnessed judges calling a passed bird in a head and cross wind where the bird flushes in front of the handler.  How was the bird pressured up? Was it between the handler and the dog?  Did the wind change?  Did the cover change?


There are so many variations of this issue we could fill pages.

“The line” provides the demarcation point for judging a passed bird and that is determined by the handler’s position.

Passed birds or game left on the course needs to be evaluated with some serious thought into the circumstances.  If in doubt, I always side with the benefit of the dog.  True deficiency in nose will not cure itself by the next bird or series.


5. Discuss actual examples of hopper birds and your call on each.

Answer:   Weak birds are an unfortunate circumstance that occurs when we use pen raised birds. Wild birds would not present this problem.

We have traps/pick ups when the dogs are so quick the bird does not have a chance to get into full flight and escape. We expect bold flushes and hard driving dogs and in combination with weak fliers we require the judge to consider what is really expected of the dog. What is the dogs bird?  In western Canada we have plenty of barbed wire fence posts and they provide an excellent reference point to assist us with assessing height.  I ask myself: Can the dog leap into the air and catch the bird?  Fence post high or lower it is the dogs bird.

A combination of height of the birds flight, velocity and distance gained from the dog are the major factors considered.   I had an All Age dog flush a Pheasant on top of a grassy hill with a moderate slope. The dog pursued the bird following the flight for 120 yards down the slope. The bird was only six inches above a dogs standing head height during its entire flight and the bird and dog were never separated by more than a few feet until it was eventually trapped and retrieved.  No whistle was blown by the handler.  A+

If the bird gains separation from the dog through height or some distance and is pulling away, I will expect the dog to stop or be stopped.

Tough scenarios certainly occur when the bird is literally in the dogs face and the handler blows a whistle and the dog "ignores" the command.  (Under control at all times) This is at minimum “dirt.”  The dog is actually doing its job, the handler failed.  If the bird is literally in the dogs face, it is handler error and I will note it.  Further testing of the dogs steadiness will be noted during further opportunities.

Another unfortunate circumstance, is the steady dog on a popper and the handler waits to be tapped or sent.  The bird may have lost plenty of scent during this short flight and the dog is losing ground with any delay.  If the handler is frozen, I will tap them or tell them to hunt on. I am hoping for the dog all the way. Get me the bird. 

6. Trail out a runner and doesn’t produce that runner.

Answer:  Who knows what a Pheasant will do and we do not see everything that happens down the field.   Wild flushes occur all the time. 

There are two different scenarios that come quickly to mind. 

The dog makes the nest and immediately sets out on a trail and takes the moving bird and goes off the course and after some distance, say fifty yards, the dog starts searching aimlessly.After a moment or two you tell the handler you will meet them back on the course.  I have had nervous and savvy handlers start to tell me stories at this point. I usually smile and listen. In one case, I asked the handler if he would like to know what actually happened.  Indeed I had watched the bird volunteer from the exact spot his dog lost the bird. It occurred just prior to the handler coming to the line.  It was an A+ piece of dog work. Handler, not so much.


The popper. Now, as a judge, I have seen the bird go up and come down on the course and the dog found it once and now has to find it again. I am cheering for the dog and hoping they make short work of it. If not, there is some serious note taking and if the bird is not produced I can not ignore the fact.

Moving birds repeatedly taken to the center line and crossing on to the bracemates course. What can you do, the dog has done excellent work and just can’t get a flush. I will not wear this dog out by demanding it do five times the work of every other dog in the trial. I will be looking to make sure that the brace mates are changing constantly because they are working double the number of birds. If not, I am now going to be wondering about the dog tracking planters scent from the center line. And possibly leaving game on the course.I will be making note of the situation the next time I come down this section of the course. Lots of birds on the course suddenly, no birds on the course again, etc.


7. When to call interference

Answer:  I have seen people get quite hung up about the center line and the interference that crossing it might be causing.  “Mind the Center line…”

If you are within ten feet of the flag line I do not see an issue, unless the other dog is present in that space and working a bird.  Drifting across the line while quartering is not interference unless it is impacting the other dog.  If my handler running the offending dog and that dog is in front of the Bracemates handler, we have a big problem. “Get your dog back here.”  If it is not corrected immediately it is usually self destructive, as a poached bird and elimination is imminent.  Repeated requests on my part not being heeded will be noted. I will ask the handler to bring their dog in and  set themselves up properly.  If the dog persists, I will excuse them from further consideration.

Interference on the part of the handler is an aspect of trialing that annoys me to no end.  LOUD handling. The handler blowing their whistle and having the other dog respond to the commands.  That is interference.  I certainly note it.  Nervous handler or poorly trained dog having the “Hup” whistle blown repeatedly during an honour and it stops the bracemate.  #$%^&!!!


8. Dog returning to handler with a trap, spots another bird and goes after that, losing the initial bird, gunner shoots the flushed bird and dog retrieves that one and initial bird runs away.

Answer: This is a strange one. If a bird gets away from a dog, do we call it a failed retrieve?  The rules give clear instructions to the guns on this point. If the handler touches the bird it can not be shot, otherwise take the bird. 

Guns are not supposed to be shooting while a  dog is on a retrieve.  Is a trap a retrieve? Why was the bird shot? Perhaps, the gun thought it was the trap escaping. Can’t blame the gun if they did not see it happen.  This shot confuses the whole situation.  If the bird that was trapped had managed to fly, would there be an issue? No, it should be shot and retrieved.  If, there was no shot bird, the dog should be sent to hunt the bird it had originally contacted.   If the initial bird were a shot bird I would prefer that the dog ignore the second find on the way in. 

I have had a similar situation occur where a dog traps a bird, is bringing it in and flushes another bird. The dog spits the live trap out (which takes flight) and the dog focuses on the flushed bird waiting for a shot  and retrieve.  The guns are so distracted by all the goings on that they do not get either bird shot.   The dog was steady, showed excellent nose and drive. Indeed, showed excellent nose on the second find while carrying another bird.   Can you imagine calling a failed retrieve on a trapped bird being released?  If that were the case, in order to be consistent, every trap that gets away must be called a failed retrieve and each dog eliminated.  It happens, it's not an eliminating fault.


9. Short shot birds, dog breaks

Answer: Was it the dogs bird?  Is the handler about to send the dog on a popper anyway? Why was it shot at that point?  If it is a popper I would reserve penalty on the dog on this bird.  I’ll be watching on the next bird.  If the dog is not steady on a good flush then it is eliminated.  I will also be asking my guns to not be dropping birds in close proximity to the dogs.   There are instances when a gun shooting a popper just before it lands may be the right decision. Very hot conditions, thin cover, etc.  But, never too close to a dog no matter what. Guns have a job to provide retrieves that are most advantageous to the dog.

As a judge I hope for strong high flying birds, just like the handler and the guns.

10. Two shot birds that your dog flushed.

Answer:  What an opportunity. Tap them. Dogs choice, what ever the dog was watching.  The dog comes back with one, I am  happy.  Will I send for the other?  You bet.  If they are both dead birds within a reasonable distance and it will not hold the trial up, I will have that dog sent or handled to the second bird.  A regular days shooting, but closer to perfection, right?


    As with any judged event, mistakes can be made. Whether that is from failing to observe a relevant fact or an error in interpretation.  Ever judge must do their best and the host club is required to do everything possible to provide the best resources to support an excellent outcome.

    Inevitably there are situations in judged events that cause confusion and often times frustration for entrants and therefore would benefit from some further review.  To that end we are going to present some scenarios garnered from peoples experience at a variety of formal events, both field trial and hunt test, to provide the fodder for positive discussion and education.


    Some of the answers to the following  questions or scenarios (many garnered from the web) are right in  the rule books plain and simple. Others require interpretation and analysis.


    Have a look at them and see what you think and what might be the answer.  It is hoped we can bring the discussion to our FB GROUP and have an asynchronous review where every member and other interested parties might contribute.

1. I was called to the line and was instructed to wait for the bracemate to catch up as we were a couple of flags ahead. The bracemate put up a bird and it was chopped short by the far wing gun as there was a patch of bush and the gun tried to shoot it before the fall would be too deep in the bush. The bird fell just inside the edge of the bush. The dog was sent and made a good line but missed the bird and had to be handled. The handler would give the dog a line to the fall and each time would take a few steps toward the fall. The judge held his ground. By the time the dog picked up the bird he was outside the wing gun and only 10 yards from the fall. Both judges saw the whole proceedings. The dog was awarded 4th place in the trial. I think that the dog should make the retrieve and walking the dog out to the fall defeats the purpose of handling.




2. I see handlers that have learned that the birds are planted on or near flags that help planters determine distance between plants. Knowing this the handler seeing their dog has made the nest of a bird that has moved off nest and not wanting to pass a bird that has moved off will stand while the dog hunts around and around covering the same ground and returning to the nest multiple times until it finally produces the bird. How should this be judged? 


3. Did these dogs break?

a) In a second series, runs in on a good find and chases a bird flying very close to the ground for about 10 yards, before it grabs feathers and the bird flies away gaining altitude. The dog immediately hups as the bird flies high and eventually makes a retrieve.


b) In another second series, the same dog appears to flush a bird out of a bush which immediately sets down and runs. The dog initially hups and is sent by the handler as soon as the bird is seen running. The bird is flushed and the dog is steady, and makes the retrieve.


c) In a third series, a dog who has had two very good performances that day experiences very wet pheasants which have consistently failed to fly for all dogs in the series. The first contact is a trap with the live bird brought to hand neatly. The second contact takes place out of immediate sight behind a tall bush. The bird launches to 6-7 feet in the air but immediately lands 8-10 yards away. The dog immediately runs in on the bird and flushes it again and once more with a short flight before he catches it and brings it to hand live. No shots were fired.

4. What should a judge do with the dog on the left course who is about to flush a find when at the same time a bird is flushed and shot on the right?

Brace Simultaneous Flushes?


 5. Say your dog is in hot pursuit of a runner, maybe even out past your wing gunner. If a bird is shot on the other beat what should your dog do?


 6. On a marked retrieve a dog flushes a bird, either on the way out or the way back, and hups until the handler signals to continue the retrieve. Any issues?


7. What constitutes interference? Too much whistle, crossing over the line into the other course, bird boxes casting scent onto the course, people walking toward the course causing gunners to lose a shot.


8. In a crossing wind I have in the past adjusted my course off of the well worn path of the handlers before me in an effort to place my dog in a better position. I'll step to the down wind side. I don't do it often and it may just be done while in motion at an angle and not a step to either side at the cast off. Having done this in motion I have had judges say to me something to the effect of "your lines over here" or something similar even had one judge grab the back if my shirt a pull towards the well worn path. I know it's only meant to be helpful but how do you tell a judge your fine and not offend or lose mental contact with your dogs rhythm.


9. You’re in a crossing wind on the down wind side. You know your dog has a strong nose and you want to play it safe. You allow the up wind brace mate to step off and get about a half a flag ahead before you cast off. Would that be judged against me as a stalling tactic?

10 .The situation is trailing multiple birds/switching birds. It is the fourth series of a national. An excellent bird finder is running under the judge when the dog suddenly starts making ground scent and actively starts trailing the scent in front of the handler. The dog, while trailing the ground scent is very erratic and the handler is wondering what the heck is going on. After a few seconds the dog starts trailing scent down the course and the judge sees a pheasant slink off to the left between the dog and handler. The dog continues trailing down the course and some 10 yards later flushes a bird which is shot. When sent on the retrieve the dog goes only five feet towards the fall and another bird is flushed. The dog makes the shot bird retrieve. How do you judge a dog who is trailing a bird in an area of multiple birds and do you penalize a dog for "switching birds" in this scenario.


11. One dog "whined" on cast off. It was not a bark, and the dog didn't make a noise while questing. Both my co-judge (an excellent, experienced and dog positive guy) had experienced it too. Otherwise the dog turned in a top performance. 


12. 3rd series of a national championship one of your top dogs is questing down the course. Produces first bird with a smoking find big flush and a retrieve. Judge instructs to carry on. As the dog is hunting you come to a very broken ground area with ditches and holes. At a point handler sucks dog in a bit and all of a sudden smells a bird on ground close to handler that has already been covered and pulls a trap out of a hole.

How do you judge this?


13. Your dog makes a big find and moves in on a bird.

He flushes hard and in the rush, flushes two birds.

Guns pick out a bird and down both of them.

Judge taps to send and your dog makes a great retrieve.

The second bird is still down but the dog didn’t mark the fall.

Should the judge ask for the second bird to be retrieved?

Should the judge give you the option?

If the judge is satisfied with the first retrieve and doesn’t ask for the second bird but the handler asks for it, should the judge allow it and should credits be given if completed?

14. What does honoring the brace dogs retrieve actually mean?

What is the dog supposed to do on an honor?

Opinions on leaving the dog out or allowing handler to bring dog in.

Should a shot off in the distance, say far wing gun shooting away on a very windy day be considered an honor situation


15. How important is it to a judge to see a proper delivery? I have seen anything from what I would describe as almost a fly by delivery to a very formal delivery with a presentation and I was wondering how much weight this carries if any at all?


16. How do you judge a dog in cover that is so tall and thick that you only get short glimpses of the dog. As a judge do you request a course change?


17. Second series dog continued on for about 10 flags and did not produce a bird. The Judge excused the dog and handler saying that was a long way to go to not find a bird. BUT at the end of the course the bird planters said they, "ran out of birds" and didn't plant the rest of the course. Is there protocol in judging training for something like this when new information is brought into play??? I’d love to hear some discussion on this & how best to bring it to the judges attention without looking like an ass.


18. What I have is about forgiveness of miss handling/reading of a dog during an amateur stake. A red ribbon was given to a handler that pulled their dog off a moving bird multiple times then the dog finally ignored them and went after the bird. It then produced the bird and completed the retrieve. Showed a great find and good bird work but it wasn’t as a team and it “blew” them off.



19. Your handler and the dog in front of you are working a downwind beat. The dog is working a runner. Scenting is weak but the dog is staying with it picking its way down course down wind.

A bird flushes outside and slightly behind wing gun and gun turns and shoots bird. As a judge what do you do next?


20. Trials called after two series. Not enough dogs left to be awarded all 4 placements or fear that if a 3rd is ran there won’t be enough dogs left for all 4 placements to be awarded.

21. You’re looking at 10 dogs back to the 3rd. You’ve got a couple top dogs the rest are in a pack pretty even. All day the birds have been weak. A lot of traps a lot of suckers birds. A lot of Low flyers. One of you’re 8 in a pack has a great 1st bird with a big find and a nice retrieve of 60 yards. Pinned. The dogs 2nd bird is another big find and the dog hits it hard and traps it. The bird is handed to the judge gasping for air. The dog has had a couple other traps and the birds were good and put in the trap bag. How is that hurt bird judged on that day??


22. a)Your dog has been sent on a 60 yard retrieve on a hen pheasant and it makes a spot on mark and retrieve but comes back with a rooster.


b) Your dog is sent on a 60 yard retrieve but over runs the mark and collects a different bird? Same sex both birds are hens. How would you judge that?


23. When scenting is poor, do you call a passed bird differently? Say in a thick green area a handler brings his dog thru 2 or three times being thorough, then produces bird vs a day dogs seem to blow out birds 5 to 10 yards.


24. A dog flushes hen pheasant clearly a sucker bird. Dog chases and has tail feathers in his mouth. As soon as the bird clears the dog the owner softly says hup and the dog sets down. The gun shoots the bird the dog retrieves it. Did the dog break?


25. This was a Chukar Trial and more likely but I’ve seen it happen in pheasant trials too. wind crossing. My dog flushes a bird. It’s shot. About 50 yards over a slight hill. Just enough that we can’t see dog when it gets to area of fall. So, handler inches up a bit trying to see. I inch up a bit more. Maybe 10-15 yards all in all and here comes dog with retrieve. Good dog. I take the bird hand it to the judge he says carry on. I cast the dog off and take a step and step on a bird. There were two birds together. When dog flushed 1st bird the other held tight.


26. It’s 3rd series. There are small ponds scattered about. A bird is flushed and shot and the bird falls in a pond.

The dog runs to the edge of the pond and stops. Sees the bird. He has to be handled to the bird. How would you judge this

27. Would you rather see a dogs pattern dictated by wind and instinct or dictated by training and mechanics?


28. What’s everybody think about the “eyewipe”?


29 .The subject is guns remaining silent.

a) I was in a third series in a gully where the bottom is flat and about 40 yards across, the banks are steep and the guns are in the bottom as well. The left bank is about 50 ft high and steep. The judge is a first time all age judge, the gun in question is very experienced and an excellent shot. A pheasant is flushed to the left the left gun misses both shots. As the bird is about to disappear over the bank the experienced gun takes a Hail Mary shot and appears, from my view to have hit the bird. The rookie judge hesitates to send the dog. The gun says the bird is down without being asked. The rookie judge taps and I send my dog over the bank and out of sight. The rookie judge holds his ground and doesn't move to see what the dog is doing. We wait and wait, the dog eventually comes back into view and works the top of the bank still looking for the fall. I call him in give him a drink and send him over the bank and out of sight again. When my dog returns into view after another fruitless effort, I thank the judge and put the leash on as a failed retrieve. According to the book the gun is to remain silent.


b). The grounds are a mix of grass and scattered Russian Olive bushes. My dog flushes a chukar, it flies away from the center gun and in front of the wing gun. The bird is high and the wing gun makes an excellent kill. However, with the scattered bushes the gun can only see the line of the fall. The judge and I are in a similar position and can only see the line of the fall. This time the judge is somewhat more experienced. My dog is sent on the retrieve, however time passes and he is still working the fall. The judge moves out to near the edge of the course to get a better view of the dog work. The judge then calls me over to handle the dog and consults with the wing gun on the whereabouts of the fall. The wing gun does his best but only saw the line of the fall. The center gun did have a view of the proceedings. He is a relatively new gun. He saw the bird fall and get hung up in a bush. He saw the dog circle the bush a few times then leave to a wider search. But he holds his ground and remains silent. .

30. Coming back with the "wrong" bird when everything else the dog did was good for the situation. Dog sent on flushed/shot hen makes a spot on mark comes back with a rooster.Dog sent on Hen spot on mark dog comes back with a cold hen.

This one is extreme but has happened to me a couple times thru the years. Thrown out each time

Dog sent comes back with “wrong” bird sent back comes back with “wrong” bird. 5 Times once it happened with one of my dogs. Brought back 5 birds then thrown out for failing retrieve.


31. Line manners and noise from the dog.I was told back in the day a spaniel giving tongue while questing was a throw back to the hound in their ancestry and therefore should be very frowned upon.

Also the antsy dog on the line waiting and a yip on cast off


32. Part of the issue is we never discuss how we take notes or document performance.

The other is there is a lot of differences on how folks score the performance before them.

And lastly when posed with the question of solid performances how do you differentiate dogs in a meaningful way balancing all of the series work in the trial.

Bird Finding , Use of Wind

Nose, Courage and style,Retrieves

Should be judged however usually only marked if questionable and you need further data (such as mouth) or in some of the categories exceptionally challenged (such as control)

Flush , Control , Mouth , Manners


33. Time management.

Is time management a judges issue?

Is there a way to limit time for notes etc?

Does a judge need to wait for every dog change for the braces to always be perfectly even on the course?

In general what is the judges responsibility to help keep a trial moving along?

34. What is an honor?How much weight should it carry?


35. Dog has a really nice run under Judge A ,moving birds downwind. One blind fall that’s handled to very nicely. While doing call backs for 3rd Judge B says no way. Can’t look at the dog in 3rd. Judge A says it’s one of his top dogs. Asks co judge what it did wrong. It takes a nice moving bird downwind (again) when few have taken moving birds all day. When dog flushes the bird it follows thru maybe 8-10 ft. While handler is blowing the whistle. Judge B is cutting the dog for follow thru and not listening to the whistle. Only Dog to take downwind runners all else being equal both judges agree one of the top bird dogs otherwise.


36. What about the handler that keeps their dog way off the center line? I always thought we were responsible for the birds on our side of the course and you should therefore stay fairly close (20-25 yds) from the center line cause that’s where most birds will be. However, you see quite a few handlers that are way off the center line and go half the course (or more) to find their birds get called back and place.


37. "birds found out of order." The scenario: dog is cast off & takes a big bite, finds & flushes a bird. Bird is missed. Handler recalls dog. On its way in, dog flushes a second, closer bird. Dog is not called back to 3rd, because "birds found out of order." The claim made here is not that the dog has passed a bird or was hunting out of control but that birds must be found in the order planted. When is a bird a passed bird?


38. You’re running your dog in the 2nd series. You’ve had one contact a nice find and retrieve.

Dog makes bird puts his head down and a rooster pops up out of the cover 2 feet drops back in and runs. The dog never sees that the bird popped out and ran. The dog figures out the bird is moving works it, now going down wind. The dog takes it, it appears, 30 yards or so straight back and flushes a hen. Shot and retrieved.


39.  "The Pattern Bump" A dog has a nice trial, takes out some runners with ease. Blows out the nests on all but this one bird. Makes the retrieves well, 0 issues. A solid job. But 1 cast the dog turns and comes down wind direction and runs over the top of a plant. Never in position to find it. To me it is a pattern bump, not a bad find

40 .Ok so you’re at the National having a great trial you finish all 5 series but at the water your dog drops the bird at your feet as it’s bringing it in. Rather than making a fuss you just pick it up and hand it to judge. How would you judge that.


41. So you're having a nice trial. You’re going down the course in 3rd series and your dog hits a nest starts tracking. Takes the bird 40 or 50 yards off course and loses the bird. Hunts around never comes up with it. The judge after a few minutes says let’s go back to the course. The bird is never produced. There are no obstacles. No roads paths or any real obvious reason the dog lost the bird. Just lost it.


42. The no send shot bird.

So the trial is under 30 dogs. Almost half back to the 3rd. judges you’d think are looking for separation.

A bird is wing tipped and sails maybe 100 yards and goes down. It’s at an angle back and a good view for the Dog.


43. A judge decides to send a dog on a retrieve that he should not have sent and so allows the dog to carry on even though it is actually a failed retrieve.


44. I had a judge give 4 even 5 birds in 1st series. That's extremely unusual obviously but curious how many birds is enough sometimes. Does a dog need a retrieve to make the 3rd series?

Does a dog need a retrieve to place or win?

Is it fair to run a dog into the ground in the heat trying to get a retrieve or to punish a dog and mark it down if it doesn't get a retrieve?


45. "The double flush"

How do you and or how should we handle and judge when a dog flushes two birds at once when the guns shoot both birds?


46. "Delivery to hand"

A dog that was in a recent trial stopped 5 feet away with delivery so the handler had to actually step forward and the dog dropped the bird in one series and handler had to tell the dog "fetch it up"

Apparently the dog placed in the trial.


47. Sucker Birds

a) How do you as a judge handle sucker birds? What is a sucker bird?

b)Bad plants? What is a bad plant? Is there such thing as a bad plant? Planting birds can be extremely unnatural?

48. Carrying a training device.

Vests? Leads? Radios.

I was once ask to hide my radio so the dogs didn't think I was carrying a remote?

How should a judge handle this?


49 . Scenting and the judge

Yesterday it appeared there was "no" scenting. We've all seen it. No scenting.

While running my All-Age dogs in heavier cover the dogs were practically stepping on the birds. One actually did and still didn't scent the bird.

Then with a younger dog over in lighter cover the finds were 10-15 yards.

So obviously there was scenting.

When we're judging we see light areas and some heavier areas.

As a judge how do we judge this.

How, as a judge should heavy green cover and short finds be compared to a open area on course?


50. Several years ago at a trial my brace had a cross course bird that fell out in front of my wing gun. My dog was exactly in front of me 20 yards in front when she honored the fall. I held her there with hand signal. anyway judge in my ear "hold her" "hold her" so when the brace dog gets 2 feet past me he says get her in here...... Judge said do it sothe handler did it. The dog interfered. How do you judge that?


51. Whistle. How much is too much?

Is there a good reason to blow too much whistle?

Is the whistle the only acceptable form of communicating and running your dog?What do you as a judge think when some handlers change whistles from typical spaniel whistle to referee whistle in the middle of the run?

Can the whistle interfere with your brace?


52. What is a runner?

Is it "created" or real?

How do you judge runners and what do you expect?


53. Use of wind and pattern

The artificial pattern as the book describes it.

What does use of wind actually mean.

What kind of "pattern" should a spaniel run?



What is a poach?

Why is it a problem?

When if ever is it not a problem?

English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel English Cocker Spaniel
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