Testing is the best way to evaluate capability, whether it is a human or a dog. It let us understand how good we are in a certain task. To evaluate the capability of a dog and its trainer, there are multiple types of tests available in the world. One such test is the AKC Junior Hunt Test.
This test evaluates different aspects of a dog’s ability and certifies and recognizes the dog and its trainer’s ability. Here is some important information about this test which will help everyone get prepared for this test and score well.
What is the AKC Junior Hunt Test?
The full form of AKC is the American Kennel Club. This club was started in the year 1884. The club organizes various dog shows and events. They also judge and certify credible dogs with awards. Every year AKC organizes nationwide trials to see the retrieving capability of dogs. The AKC Junior Hunt Test is the basic level of test for retriever dogs. In this test, any trainer with American nationality can participate with their dog.
Any dog above six months old can participate in this test. Here the dog needs to retrieve a single marked target. The test is conducted both on land and water in two series. Judges put the first two marks on land under various cover and see whether the dog able to successfully retrieve them or not. In the next test, they put two marks in the water and see how the dog able to retrieve them successfully. In total, the dog has to retrieve 4 marks successfully. In both scenarios, the distance of mark remains under a hundred yards range.
In this test, two judges evaluate four different characteristics in the dog. These characteristics are Trainability, perseverance, style, and marking. The marking characteristics show how the memory of the dog is. Here the dog needs to make a mental notation of the location of the mark. The dog needs to keep this information in his memory until it gets the order to retrieve it.
For the style, the judges evaluate how much the dog is enthusiastic about hunting. Here they love to see speed and agility from the dog. The perseverance characteristic shows how much determination the dog has for the hunt. The dog should wilfully stick to the mark and the dog must have a strong will to hunt it down in rough condition. Trainability is a characteristic that reflects the dog’s obedience to his master.
Eligibility for AKC Junior Hunt Test
There are some rules and regulations associated with the AKC Junior Hunt Test. For this reason, all dogs cannot participate in this test. This test primarily evaluates the hunting skill of the dog. Therefore, only a few recognized retriever breeds are allowed to take participate in this test. These breeds are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German wirehaired pointer, Flat-Coated Retrievers, American Water Spaniels, Weimaraner, Irish Water Spaniels, Spinone Italiano, Standard Poodles, etc.
Few exceptions are allowed for some breeds. For more information, it is recommended to visit the AKC junior hunt website. Before the test event, the owner of the dog has to register the dog to AKC. At the time of even the has to be six months old or above. The dog has to be physically fit at the time of the event. During the event, any type of mistreatment is not allowed. Any kind of misconduct with the dog automatically disqualifies the participant.
Dog Gear checklist for AKC Junior hunt test
Going to an event bare hand is not a good idea. The event may take a couple of hours to conclude. For this reason, do some necessary preparations before going to the AKC Junior hunt test. Here is some basic checklist of gear, which is recommended for every trainer. On the event day, every trainer should take these gears with them.
- Collar: A collar helps the trainer keep the dog steady on the line. In the event senior and master dogs are not allowed with a collar but the organizers do allow collar for junior dogs. The judges might ask the trainer to put on different colour collar on the dog for easy identification. For this reason, carry multiple bright and sturdy collars on the event.
- Leash: This gear gives the dog some freedom and restriction at the same time. In the event, it helps the trainers control their dogs. It keeps the dog separate from other dogs. For the even a slip or simple snap leash is better. Putting these types of leashes is much easier than others.
- Dog food: Most event organizer does not provide any food for the dog. The handlers need to bring food for their dogs. For this occasion, bring the most favourite food for the dog. Make sure the food contains lots of carbohydrates so the dog can get instantaneous energy for the event.
- Dog bowls: During the event, many people feed their dogs on disposable plates. It is not right. These plates only increase the garbage amount in the event place. Instead, bring a separate feeding bowl for the dog. Keep cleanliness and sanctity of the event venue.
- Water: Just like a human the dog also gets thirsty. On hot summer days, the dog drinks lots of water. Therefore, at least carry 2 to 3 litters of water for the dog. After feeding and doing physical activity let the dog drink some water. Otherwise, the dog will be dehydrated soon.
- Stake-out gear: It is optional, but become helpful on the occasion. If multiple dogs take participate in the event then it might take a long time. In such situations, the stake-out will provide a comfortable shelter to the dog and keep him relaxed.
Trainer checklist for AKC Junior hunt test
Just like the dog, the handler needs to make some preparations for himself. Otherwise, this wonderful event can become a horrendous experience. Here is a list of basic things the handler needs to carry on the event day. These simple items will make the event experience more joyful.
- Paperwork: The first task for every trainer needs to do is to sort and organize all paperwork before the event day. It may include event registration documents, hunting licenses, and dog license documents. In many places, the organizers also may want to see the vaccination record of the dog. Therefore, carry all health-related documents of the dog.
- Clothes: Pack two sets of extra clothes for this occasion. The test is conducted on both land and water. Here the clothes can easily get dirty. Therefore, an extra set will help the cleanliness. Also, carry a large towel for the occasion.
- Boots: During a specific test on the water, many times the dog refuses to come back from the water. At this time the handler needs to bring the dog back to land. In such a scenario, the shoes might get wet. Therefore, bring an extra pair of boots.
- Food & beverage: On the AKC Junior hunt test event the organizer does not arrange any food & beverage for the participants. Therefore, the handlers have to bring their food & beverage for the occasion. Bring some snacks and plenty of water for the day.
- Whistle: It is the last but very important gear that the handler should carry during the event. The whistle lets the handler give signals to the dog. Without a whistle, it is not possible to give the dog a proper signal and call it back. Therefore, the handler must carry it with him during the event.
What is not allowed in the AKC Junior hunt test?
There are some prohibitions associated with the AKC Junior hunt test. In this test, the dog or its trainer should not be under influence by any drug. The dog has to be well trained and it has to be physically and mentally fit. Any dog showing aggressive behaviour is not allowed in the event. If the dog bites or attacks any other dog, then it will be disqualified immediately.
Similarly, the handlers also cannot do any misbehaviour with the dogs in the event. Beating or pulling the ear of the dog is completely prohibited on the event ground. During the event, many people try to train the dog on the ground. It is a bad idea. The judge may reduce the point for this reason. While the dog is in the water, many people run on the bank and guide the dog. This type of behaviour is also not appropriate for the event.
During the breeding season, female dogs in heat are not allowed in the event. The strict rules of the testing event prohibit them even on the event ground. However, after the breeding season, the female dogs can participate in the AKC Junior hunt test. While the event is going on, any kind of electronic device like mobile phones is not allowed without permission. Judges also do not allow e-collar like devices on the dog.
Tips for AKC Junior hunt test
The AKC Junior hunt test is quite challenging for new dogs. There are so many rules involved in this event. In this event, the handlers need to go with full preparation. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to pass the test. Here are a few tips, which will help the trainers prepare for the AKC Junior hunt test.
- Visit www.akc.org for detailed information about the event and associated rules.
- Develop obedience in the dog in the early stage.
- Encourage the dog to hunt on itself.
- Practice regular drills with the dog.
- Practice with dummy birds regularly.
- Enhance its memory skill and hunting ability.
- Train the dog both on water and land.
- During the event keep the dog separate from other dogs.
- Do not over pamper or guide the dog during the event.
- Feed the dog properly and keep it hydrated.
AKC Junior hunt test is a great event. It not only let the handler see how the dog is performing but it also let them see how other dogs are performing in the event. It is a great opportunity for socializing with the dog. In this event, the young handlers can meet other handlers and share their experience. It is a great place for learning and evaluating the ability of the dog.
The event judges evaluate the skill of the dog in each category and give the dog score in-between one to ten. The dog must earn five or above score in each category to pass the test. A dog passed four hunt tests gets a Junior AKC Junior hunter title and they also get the title of JH in their record. Handlers below 18 years of age get recognition from the AKC and get the opportunity to earn a scholarship program.
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