- A Working Test (WT) is a competition for the purpose of assessing, without game being shot, the working abilities of the various breeds of VIII. F.C.I. – retrievers, scouts and water dogs.
- The breeds of VIII. F.C.I. – retrievers, scouts and water dogs are the shooting man’s indispensable help during a shooting day. The aim of a WT is to select the best dogs having good temperament, good marking, good use of nose and showing initiative. Handling is to be considered as an indispensable complement to these qualities, keeping the dog steady while walking at heel or at the stand, willing to obey the handler’s instructions when sent for game, which it has not been able to mark.
2. Organisation of a WT
- A WT must be designed by a person or persons with experience of dog work under shooting field conditions. Each dog must be given, as near as possible, equal opportunity with the element of luck reduced to a minimum.
- On the occasion of a WT, the organisers must always try to simulate events that occur on a shooting day. They must also ensure the tests are designed to further good gundog work, and not inhibit dogs from marking or showing natural working ability. lt is very important that guns and dummy throwers are positioned with this in mind.
- When retrieving, a dog must not be required to pass too close to another retrieve.
- Organisers and judges must care for the safety of dogs and must not require them to pass dangerous obstacles.
- The competition is not open to:
a) bitches in heat, pregnant bitches in the second half of pregnancy and lactating bitches;
b) dogs injured, sick or suspected of having a disease which would affect their performance or cause them pain, suffering or impairment;
c) dogs being treated; such dogs may participate only after examination by a veterinarian and with his consent;
d) dogs aggressive towards humans and other dogs;
e) dogs with an operation performed in violation of the provisions of § 4 par. 1 let. g) of Act No. 246/1992 Coll., on the protection of animals against cruelty, as amended, especially dogs with cropped ears, tail.
3. Conduct of a WT
- A WT is divided into 4 classes: Newcomers (E), Beginners (L), Novice (M), Open (S). Any dog, who obtaind three times “excellent” in one class, is not allowed to enter the same (or lower) class anymore. This rule doesn’t apply in Open (S) class, where the dog can start without any limit. If the dog is qualified in any class, he cannot enter the lower class anymore. Description of the tests in respective classes is in the Annex to the examination regulations below.
- The decision of the judges is final. Those taking part shall not openly impugn the decision of the judge or criticise the host, ground, or helpers.
- The organisers shall have the power to exclude dogs from the competition and/or will have the right to refuse an entry in the future.
- The organisation may restrict the numbers in a WT, in which case the right to compete shall be decided by the date the registration form was sent.
- The judges must have experience of dog work under shooting field conditions.
- All handlers must carry out instructions of the judges who are empowered to remove from a WT any dog whose handler does not obey them or whose handler wilfully interferes with another competitor or his dog.
- No person attending a WT may allow any bitch in season to be on a WT ground or to foul any ground to be used by competing dogs.
- No dog shall wear a collar whilst competing.
- No person shall carry out punitive measures or harsh handling of a dog whilst within the boundaries of a WT. Such a behaviour will be punished (after judges decision) by disqualification.
- When coming into line the handler must ensure the dog is on the lead, the judge will then explain what is expected. Judges must ensure that spectators are at a reasonable distance from the competitors in the line.
- Judges will give dogs every opportunity to work well by seeing that conditions, as far as possible are in their favour. They will be looking for dogs, which need the least handling and please them most from a shooting point of view.
- In all retrieving breeds good marking is essential with a quick pick-up and a fast return. When pickingup and returning, judges will not penalise a dog too heavily for putting down a retrieve to get a firmer grip, but this must not be confused with sloppy retrieving. Dogs showing marking ability and initiative should be placed above those which have to be handled onto their retrieve.
- Eliminating faults and faults which lead to zero will disqualify a dog from any awards.
- The judges are empowered to withhold any prize or award if in their opinion competing dogs do not show sufficient merit.
- Each exercise is judged on points.
5. Specific instructions
- At the start of a WT, judges must ensure they have the correct dogs with their correct numbers in the line.
- A breeds of VIII. F.C.I. – retrievers, scouts and water dogs must be steady to shot and fall and retrieve on command. Also, all dogs should be tested at working in water and hunting a zone. A dog must walk steady at heel.
- During a WT only green standard dummies (500 gr) will be used. Exception: Launcher dummies for a dummy launcher.
- When dummies are thrown, and gunfire is used, the shot must always precede the thrown dummy, with the gun positioned no further than approximately 35 meters from the retrieve. With unseen retrieves gunfire is optional. 6 mm pistols are used during a WT.
- A WT should include at least five exercises.
- The distance of a retrieve should not exceed more than 150 meters.
- Credit points (alphabetical order): control – delivery – drive – natural marking – nose – quiet handling – speed in gathering retrieve – style.
- Major faults (alphabetical order): bad control and/or disturbing the ground unnecessarily – bad heeling – bad marking and/or bad memory of the fall – being overdependent on the handler – being restless and asking the handler’s attention at the post – noisy handling – sloppy retrieving – working slowly and/or without much initiative
- Faults which lead to zero (alphabetical order): chasing – hunting with dummy in the mouth – changing retrieve – failing to enter water – failing to retrieve – gunshiness – out of control – running in – whining – barking.
- If a dog makes a fault the combination (handler/dog) will get zero (0) points. The combination is allowed to complete the remaining exercises.
- Eliminating faults (alphabetical order): aggressive behaviour – puncturing the dummy – physical punishment/ physical correction of the dog. If a dog makes an eliminating fault the combination (handler/dog) is not allowed to stay in the competition.
Effective from May 30th, 2021.
Annex to the examination regulations
When judging the dog, the judge observes how the dog walks at the foot, how calm it is in the station, how it uses its nose, how it can search, what its marking is, how it grabs, brings and passes the retrieve, how it is manageable and how it cooperates with the leader. Innate qualities also affect the evaluation.
NEWCOMERS (E) CLASS
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF OBEDIENCE
The dog must prove that it is calm, responds to the leader’s commands (the command technique is not determined, each leader uses its own commands) and walks correctly next to the leader’s leg even without a leash. The goal is to verify that the dog is able to accompany its leader without restricting him in his movement and attention even in a situation where he is disturbed by the natural influences of the environment (simulated by throwing a dummy, for which the dog is not sent). Dogs can also be tested in pairs – it is not a classic crawl, i.e. walk up.
The dog must prove that it is attentive, focused, able to remember the place of impact of the thrown fetch by quickly finding the fetch on command and bringing it correctly. The handler can send the dog only on the judge’s instruction, until then the dog stands / sits or walks next to the handler’s leg. When marking, it may also be required to overcome a terrain obstacle – road, terrain crossing, bushes, etc.
MARKING – WATER
After the shot, the retrieve is thrown into the water or to the opposite bank. The dog must prove that it can swim correctly. He swims to the retrieve, grabs it, and swims back as directly as possible. On the shore, he hands the fetch into the leader’s hand. Execution and evaluation is the same as for dry marking.
The dog must remember two places where the fetch was thrown. The order of fetch will be determined by the referee. Wide angles of up to 180° are used.
Here, the dog’s memory is tested to remember the location of the impact of the retrieve. The fetch is thrown as in marking, however, after throwing the fetch, the leader goes to another place with the dog and sends it only after a certain time. A variation is possible, when returning from marking, without the dog seeing it, another fetch is thrown to the same place. After the first fetch is delivered, the dog is sent for the second.
Several dummies are thrown in a suitable area, neither the dog handler nor the dog must see the thrown dummies. On the judges instruction, the leader sends the dog to search for retrieves. The judge determines the boundary of the space along which the leader can move while working. The judge determines how many retrieves the dog must bring.
In this class, the working distance between the dog and the dummy should not exceed 40 m.
BEGINNERS (L) CLASS
All disciplines from the Newcomers class and the following types of tasks can be tested here. From this class, it is already possible to include disturbing moments in tasks. In this class, simple handling is tested for the first time, mostly over a short distance, i.e. the method of guiding the dog to the area where the retrieve is, in the event that the dog did not see the throw, but the handler has described the place where the retrieve lies, the judge has described it.
The retrieve is thrown or placed so that neither the handler nor the dog can see it. The judge will explain where the retrieve is and the handler must then lead the dog to this area using acoustic (voice, whistle tone) and visual (hand guidance, hand direction) commands, while he himself must remain in the place from where he was called to release the dog. In this class, with a half-blind, the helper will shoot towards the place where the dummy is lying. The distance of the shooter from the placed dummy should not be more than 35 m.
Crawling – walk up – here, calmness is tested in connection with retrieving. A group of leaders with dogs advances in a single line across the terrain. After the shot is fired, a fetch is thrown and all leaders and dogs remain standing. On the judges instruction, the challenged leader sends his dog to search for the retrieve. During this search, the other dogs must remain completely still next to their leader’s leg. All dogs are gradually tested.
In this class, the working distance between the dog and the dummy should not exceed 60 m.
NOVICE (M) CLASS
All disciplines from the Newcomers and Beginners classes can be tested here, as well as the following types of tasks. Of course, any combination of tasks is possible.
Here, the dog’s ability to remember several places of impact of the dummy is tested. The dog works only on the judge’s instructions and brings dummies in the order set by the judge.
The retrieve is thrown or placed so that neither the handler nor the dog can see it. The judge will explain where the retrieve is and the handler must then lead the dog to this area using acoustic (voice, whistle tone) and visual (hand guidance, hand direction) commands, while he himself must remain in the place from where he was called to release the dog. The impact point of the dummy may not be marked by a shot.
Introduced lech – Drive – dogs with leaders stand on the edge of the lech. Helpers and hounds with sledgehammers push the line of leaders with dogs. Here, the shot game is replaced by thrown dummies. The dogs must observe the whole event calmly and remember the places where the dummy hits. After the drive is over, the dogs are sent out to collect the dummies. Dogs may also be sent for blinds placed in places other than where the draw took place. Then it only fulfills the function of a disturbing moment. Dogs can work individually or together. Dummies that fall in the immediate vicinity of the dogs are picked up by helpers.
In this class, the working distance between the dog and the dummy should not exceed 80-100 m.
OPEN (S) CLASS
In this highest class, it is possible to perform any of the disciplines specified for the previous classes. The choice of disciplines is not limited, the distance at which the dogs work should not exceed 150 m.