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Dummy Trial

Dummy Trial Categories


  • This category / class is open only for dogs of WT level Puppy or Novice Class (or equal)
  • Walk-up or drive
  • By walk-up or drive the dogs prove their basic obedience, control and the steadiness
  • The easiest level of retrieves
  • Retrieves: marking (water, field or wood), hunting, memory retrieves
  • Dogs work in line (walk-up), the dog, who is judged, is off the lead, the rest of competing dogs are on the leads
  • As this category allows the easiest retrieves, the emphasis is on the steadiness, obedience and control of the dog while working


  • This category / class is recommended for dogs of WT level Novice at least
  • Walk-up or drive
  • There is expected that dogs can work in the group
  • By walk-up or drive dogs, who are judged, are without the leads, the rest of competing dogs are on the leads
  • Retrieves: marking (water, field or wood), hunting, memory retrieves, easy blinds, distractions
  • In this category dogs are expected to work in more complicated situations then in the Starters category


  • This category / class is recommended for dogs of WT level Intermediate at least
  • Walk-up or drive, simulation of the field trial or a hunt
  • There is expected that dogs can work in the group
  • All dogs are in line (walk-up) without leads
  • Retrieves without limits, significant distractions can occur
  • In this category dogs are expected to work in more complicated situations then in the Novice category


Dummy trial – what is it?

We may come across two different names, Dummy Trial (DT) or Mock Trial. Both expressions mean the same thing. It is a competition that very faithfully simulates a Field Trial (FT). However, unlike the FT, dummies are used on the DT, as the name suggests. The DT was created for handlers to test and improve their and their dogs’ skills “in the rough” before embarking on the real FT, which takes place on live game.

What is the difference between DT and Working tests (WT)?

The most fundamental difference is that the same situations are not repeatedly simulated on the DT as on the WT, where, on the contrary, it is desirable that each starter receives the most equivalent contribution as possible. DT has only two classes, Novice and Open, unlike WT, which in the Czech Republic is divided into four categories, E (puppy), L (novice), M (intermediate), S (open). The DT works in the same way as the FT, which means it can be a walk up or a drive. If you get a 0 in one discipline on the WT, you can continue and complete the entire WT, even as unclassified. If your dog does not find the retrieve, makes a disqualifying error or the judge judges the dog’s work as insufficient (we will write about the judging later) on the DT, you do not continue. It is a good practice (in some countries it is also part of the code of ethics) that eliminated contestants do not leave the trial before its end. So you continue as a spectator in the crown and if the judge or chief steward asks you to, you and your dog collect shot pieces that are not intended for competitors.

How does DT work?

At the beginning of the competition, both judges judge separately. As we mentioned earlier, you can encounter the competition in the form of Walk up, Drive or a combination of both.

During the walk up, the referee and the starters are positioned so that they are at a sufficient distance from the shooters and throwers. This distance may vary depending on the class (novice and open) and the complexity of the terrain. Shooters and throwers can be in front, behind and to the sides or in the line of judges and dogs. The trial takes place in so-called rounds. In the first round, the dog will bring two fetches to one judge, and in the second round, one fetch to the other judge. The number of fetches in subsequent rounds is at the discretion of the judges – either one or two fetches in each round. Depending on the number of dogs continuing in the competition, the judges can start judging together during the trial. For the eventual award of the CACT/CACIT title at FT, the dog must bring min. 5 fetches. The same goes for DT winners. The number of fetches for the winner and other dogs in the “final” should not exceed 8.

During the Walk Up, each judge always judges two dogs at the same time. The other dogs are on leashes together with the chief steward in the middle of the line or on its edge ready to enter for judging. So the first round starts with starting numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. Leaders drawn 1 and 2 start on the judge’s right, 3 and 4 on the left, with the lower number always starting on the judge’s right. The first round can be called the so-called “warm-up”, the judges usually send the dogs for fetches that have fallen on their side, only exceptionally with a cross (e.g. if the fetch has fallen close and the judge evaluates it as too easy for his dogs, he will give a signal to the judge on the other side, that he leaves the fetch for him). Dogs are sent alternately for fetches, i.e. first lot 1, then lot 2, again lot 1 (the same applies to the second judge with lots 3 and 4). After lot 1 brings two fetches, he puts the dog on a leash and lot 5 comes to judge instead (if lot 3 had previously brought 2 fetches, lot 5 goes to the second judge). Lot 2 (or 4) moves to the right side of the judge and the newcomer stands to the left. As we mentioned earlier, in the first round of the competition, each dog must bring two fetches to the first judge, after fetching it awaits the second round, in which it brings one fetch to the second judge. During the rounds, the referees do not inform the chief steward about the marks, but only about the eventual elimination of the dog, so that he knows which dog he should not send further for judging. When all the dogs have been evaluated in this way, the judges meet with the chief steward after the second round, with whom they review their notebooks, confirm which dogs have been eliminated and which dogs, due to their assessment, they do not want to see in the next round. This joint assessment also takes place after each subsequent round. Depending on the situation, the referees will then agree on how they will judge further, whether together, separately, they will change the terrain or make a Drive. Spectators and starters who are not currently being tested go along with the judges and tested dogs in a row. Everyone in the corona must take care not to overtake or lag, with the dogs on leads. They must obey the instructions of the steward or judges.

Drive (in Czech obstovna/presented leč) is a situation where usually the referees leave all the starters standing freely along the place where the lech takes place. As in a real trial or hunt, the helpers simulate driving away game. This simulation can last several minutes so that the judges have the opportunity to assess the composure of all the dogs. The judges stand behind the contestants so that they have an overview and if they don’t see something, they can quietly move on. After the end of the treatment, all the starters put the leashes on the dogs and the judges call the dogs according to the numbers in the same way as described above for the walk up. Lower number on the right, higher on the left. However, they can also leave the dogs free and send them for designated retrieves in the order of their starting numbers.

In this type of treatment, referees sometimes use assistants, so-called markers, who record the approximate places of impact and the number of fallen pieces. They then pass the information on to the referees.

Judges send tested dogs taking into account the difficulty of the terrain. If the terrain allows it, they send the dogs directly from the line. If the terrain is too broken, they can move with the dog being tested closer or so that the view allows the handler to handle his dog. Sometimes fetching in rugged terrain at 40m is far more complicated than marking on a flat field at 100m, and with regard to the complexity of fetches, the referees also evaluate and possibly add benefits.

How do the judges judge DT?

Judges are guided by FCI recognized field trial regulations when judging DT. It clearly defines gross faults (major faults – hereinafter referred to as MF) and eliminating faults (hereinafter referred to as EF).

The most common EFs include kicking out, whining, changing a piece, or a dog out of control. If the judge would like to disqualify the dog for a hard kill, 2 judges must agree on this fault and the leader must be able to see the damaged piece. Of course, it is also excluded for rude behavior towards the dog. EF means the immediate end of the dog in the competition and the dog cannot get any place. The results of the trial show EL – eliminated.

Basic MFs, which we will explain below, include “eye-wipe” (hereinafter referred to as EW) and “first dog down” (hereinafter referred to as FDD). Also, for example, bad walking on the leg, a restless dog at the station during the treatment, too loud guidance, etc.

FDD is a situation that can occur when none of the sent dogs and subsequently neither the judges find the piece. It must also be about marking and the dog must be sent immediately without any delay. Then it is considered that the first dog had the best chance to find the retrieve and therefore ends the competition. The retention of the other dogs in the competition depends on the judge’s assessment, who evaluate whether the dogs have performed a sufficiently high-quality work. We will encounter the FDD situation almost exclusively only on FT (with DT it is extremely unlikely that no one would find the dummy J).

Definition of EW – the dog did not find and bring a piece that was subsequently found by another dog or found by the judge. EW can be roughly translated as “wiping the sight” of the first dog by the second – “control” dog. There may be more “control dogs”. If the last “control dog” or judge finds the animal, all previous dogs are penalized. If the piece is not found at all (and it was not an FDD situation), no dog is penalized. Of course, it also applies here that the judges will evaluate the quality of the dogs’ work and decide on their further stay in the competition.

A dog with MF does not continue in the competition, but if it has performed at least three excellent fetches before MF, it can receive a rating of good or very good. Otherwise, NC – non classified is indicated for the dog in the results.


Judges write notes on the dogs’ performance about what they would highlight during the dog’s work, or what they did not like about the dog’s performance. Unlike the WT, where the point scale is from 1 to 20, the DT is graded as A+, A, A- or B.

A+ – this rating is very rare and applies exclusively to FT. In this case, the dog performed an absolutely exceptional job – for example, he found a heavy winged piece that other dogs had not found before him.
A – the dog performed clean work without mistakes, it can be evaluated slightly positively or negatively (point above or below), it continues in the trial.
A- – the judge was not completely satisfied with the work, but he would not disqualify the dog. A dog with one A- usually stays in the trial until the final round. A dog with 2x A- in the first round remains in the competition until the end of the second round before being judged by a second judge, then it is usually eliminated.
B – the dog brought the fetch, but the judge was not satisfied with the work and, according to him, the dog should not continue in the trial. A dog rated B is usually eliminated. A dog with one B in the first round remains in the competition until the end of the second round before being judged by a second judge, then usually eliminated.

Dog marking is probably the biggest difference between WT and DT. A grade of B on the trial corresponds very roughly to a rating of 11-12 points and less on the WT. A dog that is graded B for its performance can never become a trial winner or get any placement. What a huge difference compared to WT, where even with ten points in one discipline you can fight for the top position.

Also notice that we often use usually or can. It means that almost no situation is fixed at the trial and any decision is completely at the discretion of the judges.


A dummy trial is quite demanding on organization, especially on the number of people needed to hold this event. Above all, we must emphasize the importance of the chief steward. He is in charge of both the points table and, above all, the starters. In his score table, he writes which starter was with which referee. He has to know which starters are no longer continuing in the trial, and he prepares and sends more dogs to the judges according to the numbers. He is present at every meeting of the referees.

The referees have one more assistant/steward with them, who takes their fetches and communicates by radio with the main steward.

The magic of the dummy trial lies in the fact that even the referee does not know when and where the fetch will fall. All the throwers and shooters are in charge of one of the organizers, who controls the helpers remotely via radio and commands where to shoot, throw or place the retrieve at what moment so that the dogs can see it or not. The judges can then agree among themselves who will send the dog at a given moment. It is therefore essential for beginners to try to “mark” absolutely everything, because you never know which fetch will be right for you.

What should a dog be able to do to be ready to participate?

Novice trial is mostly intended for dogs of a young age and novices from about a year and a half and older. Lighter retrieves are chosen for this class, markings or memories for different types of terrain prevail, and with the progressive elimination of dogs, more complex situations are chosen, including blinds with a shot. You will only come across a clean blind very rarely.

Experienced dogs who have already completed WT M, WT S or a real trial start at the Open trial.

It is true that the dog should be calm and controllable at the foot so that it can turn for every shot and retrieve.

Good marking is important – the dog should remember well the place or several places of impact to which it can be sent.

The dog should show independence and initiative in tracking and good nose work. He should have good contact with the leader, but not be too dependent on handling.

Authors: Táňa and Martin Incédi