Field Spaniel Society of America, Inc.
Working Certificate Test
JUDGING INSTRUCTIONS

WORKING TEST GUIDELINES FOR JUDGES

STEADY ON THE LINE

  1. A dog which sits and stays off leash at its handler’s side quietly for a reasonable length of time until released by the handler at the judge's instruction should be scored EXCELLENT. A dog which requires gentle restraint until released by the handler at the judge’s instruction should be scored SATISFACTORY.
  2. The following should be scored as FAILED:
  •  A dog which fails to sit and stay until sent by handler or requires effort in restraint.
  •  A dog which whines and barks excessively as this would frighten off game.

QUARTERS EFFICIENTLY

The judge instructs the handler to proceed. The handler then sends his dog and walks BEHIND, directing the dog on the course. The dog should immediately begin to cover ground, quartering (zigzagging or ranging back and forth along the hunting course), displaying scenting ability and use of the wind.

  1. A dog which hunts quietly and consistently, stays within gun range (not more than 30 yards in front of the handler) responding to the handlers commands and showing quartering ability should be scored SATISFACTORY.
  2. A dog which performs as above but with tremendous enthusiasm and in a superlative manner (with a minimum of handling) should be scored EXCELLENT.
  3. The following should be scored as FAILED:
  • A dog which is out of gun range - more than 30 yards.
  • A dog which requires undue urging or direction (too much handling).
  • A dog which covers ground too slowly or behind handler or which stays only in one portion of the field.
  • A dog which consistently works less than 10 yards from its handler or which goes out in a straight line.
  • A dog which tracks the bird planter or which shows little evidence of being in control.

FINDS AND FLUSHES BIRD

  1. A dog which finds the bird in a workmanlike manner and independently flushes the bird should be scored SATISFACTORY.
  2. A dog which performs as above with enthusiasm should be scored EXCELLENT.
  3. The following should be scored as FAILED:
  • A dog out of gun range
  • A dog which has to be led to the bird and urged to flush it or which shows fear of the bird or pretends not to see it.
  • A dog whose handler is closer than 5 yards from the bird.

In the event that the dog picks up the bird before it flies and retrieves it to the handler UNDAMAGED (a crushed or chewed bird is an automatic FAILURE) this would complete the FIND AND FLUSH section provided the handler gathers his dog and the judge or gunner should throw the bird in the air, shoot it and proceed to let the dog mark and retrieve it to the handler as described in the next section. DOGS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE STEADY TO FLUSH OR SHOT.

MARKS DOWNED BIRD

  1. A dog which marks the area where the bird fell and proceeds to it should be scored SATISFACTORY.
  2. A dog which does the above with great enthusiasm should be scored EXCELLENT.

RETRIEVES ON LAND

  1. At no time should the handler advance toward the bird after it has been shot. The dog's purpose is to retrieve the bird to the handler. A dog which picks up the bird without repeated commands or urging to fetch and delivers it to within 5 feet of the handler should be scored SATISFACTORY. A dog which does the above, rushing out with enthusiasm and returning immediately and directly to the handler should be scored EXCELLENT.
  2. The following should be scored as FAILED:
  • A dog which mouths the bird unduly or drops it repeatedly.
  • A dog which carries the bird only a short distance, not to within five feet of the handler.
  • A dog which falls to pick up or carry the bird at all.
  • A hard mouth is a serious fault. When a dog delivers a damaged bird (chewed or finished by the dog, not damage caused by gunshot, and which is not suitable for the table or cannot be used in a training session for another dog) he will be DISQUALIFIED even it he has fulfilled all other requirements for the test.

In the event that a shot bird flies off the course, the handler should gather his dog and the judge or gunner should throw a dead bird into the air for the dog to mark and retrieve. This should be done with a simultaneous gunshot or a live bird may be thrown and shot instead.

RETRIEVES FROM WATER

It is not mandatory for dogs to be steady on the line. The dog may be held on a leash until the handler is directed by the judge to send the dog. The handler should be positioned at least five feet from the water's edge and must remain stationary. A bird is thrown into the water just far enough from shore to prove that the dog can swim and a gun is shot simultaneously.

  1. A dog which requires gentle restraint at the line, enters the water voluntarily with minimal commands, swims, retrieves the bird and delivers it out of the water to within five feet of the handler should be scored SATISFACTORY.
  2. A dog which does the above, is steady on the line without restraint, rushing into the water with enthusiasm and delivers the bird immediately to hand should be scored EXCELLENT.
  3. The following should be scored as FAILED:
  • A dog which is pushed, thrown or unduly urged to enter the water.
  • A dog which enters the water but does not return the bird completely out of the water.
  • A dog which swims around the bird ignoring repeated commands to return.
  • A dog which does not return the bird to within 5 feet of the handler.

GUN SHYNESS NOT DISPLAYED

  1. A dog whose hunting desire is so intense that the sound of the gun increases his willingness to retrieve or a dog whose intense bird desire results in the dog taking no notice of the gun should be scored EXCELLENT. A score of SATISFACTORY would be reserved for the dog who merely tolerates the sound of the gun.
  2. A dog which reacts in a shy or fearful manner to the gun and which requires undue urging to complete his retrieve should be FAILED.

AWARDING OF CERTIFICATES

  1. A dog which completes all parts of the test in a creditable manner (all SATISFACTORY scores or higher) should be awarded the WORKING DOG (WD) CERTIFICATE.
  2. A dog which completes all parts of the test in a superior manner (all EXCELLENT scores) should be awarded the WORKING DOG EXCELLENT (W.D.X.) CERTIFICATE.
  3. Signatures of two (2) judges are required on the FSSA WD/WDX entry form.

BEFORE JUDGING

The Judge should sign one copy of these Guidelines, indicating that he understands the expectations of the test. This copy should be sent to the Parent Club Hunt Test Chairperson along with the completed judging form and the judge should retain a copy for his records.

Signature: _____________________________________________ Date: _______________________

 

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