Schedules available at this link: KUSA Fieldtrials web site
A Visitor's Guide to Field Trials
The whole purpose of Retriever field trials is to simulate, under competition, conditions which are similar to those encountered in a natural shooting situation. Only too often birds are shot where no working dogs are present. This results in unnecessary suffering and waste. The reason for training Retrievers is to persuade those people that shoot and hunt that the only way to hunt is with a trained dog.
To give you a feel of what the judges are looking for, here is a guide to assist you.
Because birds are often hunted in line, it is essential that dogs walk steadily to heel off lead. They must not whine, nor retrieve before being sent by the handler, as this could interfere with the work of another dog.
Good marking of the position of the fall is essential in a Retriever, as he should not disturb ground unnecessarily. Judges should give full credit to a dog which goes straight to the fall, picks up and returns the game directly to hand, at a good pace.
The bird must be held firmly but gently by the dog, until it is commanded to release the bird. There must be no evidence of chewing or hardmouth.
On a marked retrieve, that is a retrieve where the dog has seen the fall, the dog should not require handling; the more the dog is handled, the lower the points.
On a blind retrieve, where only the handler is given a general idea as to the position of the game, the dog which takes the line offered and requires the least handling, will be awarded the highest marks.
Most important - dogs which show game finding ability and use their noses, should be placed above those which require handling or happen to stumble upon the game.
ELIMINATING FAULTS: Hardmouth, breaking before commanded to retrieve, whining or barking continuously, out of control, chasing other game, failure to enter water, blinking game.
MAJOR FAULTS: Failure to find game, unsteadfastness at heel, disturbing ground not related to the fall, poor control.
The Gundog Code of Ethics
1. Never lose your temper or abuse your dog in any way - it cannot understand human language! If you need to discipline your dog, do it at home, not in public.
2. Do not assume that other people like your dog or even like dogs at all.
3. Do not allow your dog to make a nuisance of itself
4. Never allow your dog to be aggressive towards any dog or person
5. Do not under any circumstances allow your dog to whine.
6. Always first ask the landowner what and where your dog is allowed.
7. Do not allow your dog to chase, bite or play with any farm animal or domestic pet that is not your own property.
8. Never allow your dog to chase or bite any game.
9. Keep your dog under control at all times; never allow the dog to spoil the hunt.
10. Remember that the dog that first finds the bird has the right to retrieve it regardless of who shot it.
11. Never allow your dog to break on shot and steal another dog's retrieve
12. Never allow your dog to steal another dog's point. If he does not back, keep him under control in order not to spoil the point and the hunt.
13. It is not good practice to mix pointing and flushing dogs; conflict between handlers is almost always guaranteed.
14. The hunter in line nearest to the pointing dog, and not the owner, has the first privilege to shoot over the pointing dog.
15. Always give an inexperienced or unlucky hunter an opportunity to shoot over the pointing dog.
16. Criticise the owner, don't blame his dog.