Retriever Hunting Test Advisory Committee (RHTAC) Report

RHTAC Report to MNRC, October 13, 2017
Retriever Hunting Test Advisory Committee (RHTAC) Report
Master National Retriever Club’s Annual Event
October 13, 2017
Palestine, Texas

We open this report with a saddened heart as we mourn the loss of a dear personal friend, a huge asset to the Retriever Sport and very productive member of this Committee, John
Blackbird. Our prayers are with Karen and the rest of his family and while he’ll be missed, we will remember him for all he has done for this committee and our sport.

On behalf of this committee, I express our thanks to President Larry Kimble and AKC for the opportunity to make this report. There are copies of the charge, responsibility and authority for the committee, its membership and this report available for you here today at the Check In table and we encourage you to communicate your ideas on how to improve the retriever hunting test program to any member of the committee. It is not designed to be a ‘gripe’ session but rather tries to look at the overall benefits of any potential change to the entire program. The committee has operated mostly by e-mail and telecoms this year and has received an abundance of submissions. I know this info is “old hat” to some of you but it is included here for new participants in the sport that might be here for the first time.

At this time, I’m honored to introduce the committee members who are listed on the roster
distributed here today. I’m asking each of those in attendance to stand. (Introduce each as
listed on the 2017 Roster) You’ll note this committee is appointed by the AKC’s Vice President for Sports & Events, Mr. Doug Ljungren in consultation with AKC’s Field Director for Sporting Breeds, Mr. Jerry Mann.

Jerry has another assignment and will not be here. Doug will be here tonight and AKC Field Representative, Mr. Russ Reavis, is here today, both these gentlemen have been very
supportive and the knowledge, guidance and support they provide is most helpful. Mr. Joe
Reinhardt; AKC Contracted Field Representative, is scheduled to come in on the 18th and be here for the duration of the tests. Many of us remember Russ; he was MNRC president in 1998 and judged the 2005 event in Palestine, Texas. We welcome each of our friends from the AKC.

The committee will address submissions by any individual involved in the retriever hunting test program, any club that holds licensed AKC events or from the AKC. We’ve tried to keep everyone who submitted items up to speed on the results of their submissions, but if you’ve submitted something and haven’t heard from the committee, please accept our apology and let us know; your submission will be addressed and you will get a response. Only written submissions to the committee are accepted to reduce the chance of misinterpretations.

The submissions are discussed in detail and a committee decision is reached. The decision may be by ‘consensus’ (all five agree) or by ‘majority’ (4-1, or 3-2 vote). Once the committee has agreed on a recommendation, it is sent to AKC. AKC can accept, reject, or modify the recommendations. Additionally, the AKC can implement changes in the regulations and guidelines without consulting the committee.

AKC made the announcement that this committee had been reorganized and activated at this meeting in 2010. Since that time, the committee has operated openly and sincerely appreciated each submission. I know our time on the program is limited, so if you have questions, any member of the committee will be happy to discuss them with you later.
Since our report last year, the Committee has recommended and the AKC has approved and implemented related to:
➢ Club’s ability, option, to hold up to six of each testing levels per calendar year. Clubs
may offer “Master Only” level tests provided the Junior & Senior levels have been
offered at least twice during that year. This is designed to expand capacity for master
dog entries and give clubs flexibility in structuring their events to best fit the demand
in their area and remain w/in the resources of the club. Clubs may start applying for
events under this new structure on November 1, 2017 for events held after January 1,
2018;
➢ When a series is discontinued or the next series of a test is started, Judges shall locate
the new series in an area different than the other series; this will create a fairer testing
situation for the dogs, effective August 29, 2017; and
➢ In a ‘walk-up’, a steadiness test, the walk-up bird must be presented at a maximum
distance of 45 yds. The old regulation required it be presented in 35-45 yds. which was
not the intent of the regulation; the intent is to ‘surprise’ the dog w/the bird coming
out in front of the dog anywhere from the line to a maximum of 45 yds., effective
August 29, 2017.
NOTE: It is expected the systems will be used in good faith and good sportsmanship and
not abused or used as not intended.

Currently, the committee has reviewed or is reviewing about a dozen issues submitted by
participants that requested the regulations be revised. Samplings of issues include:
✓ Mandatory use of wingers in tests
✓ An increase in the number of dogs entered thru ‘worker’s codes’
✓ Requiring at least one ‘triple’ series in a master test to be ‘clean’, no handles
✓ Inability for everyone who wants in master tests to enter
✓ High passing rate by some judges on master tests
✓ Talking to the honor dog
Please note these are issues submitted to the committee, so please don’t leave here saying
they are new regulations, they have been ‘submitted and are being discussed’ but no
recommendations to the AKC have been made on them!

I take this opportunity to publicly express my heartfelt gratitude to each of my colleagues on the committee. They have diligently addressed each submission with the goal of improving the retriever hunting test program, and I’m honored to serve with them.
We also take this opportunity to express the committee’s appreciation to each of the
submitters for their interest in improving the retriever hunting test program; the vast majority were well thought out and presented well. We also express our deep appreciation to Doug Ljungren & Jerry Mann at AKC and John Stracka at Entry Express for their superb collaboration on difficult challenges. Without exception, each has been open minded, progressive in their thoughts and strongly supportive of changes that will improve the program.

The AKC notifies the Club ‘secretary of record’ of AKC decisions on new/revised regulations via e-mail. Please insure your club’s records are updated with the AKC. The committee reminds you that any regulation change implemented will be carefully monitored and, if deemed appropriate, additional recommendations will be made.
President Larry, thank you again for the opportunity to bring this info to the assembly and we wish you and the MNRC the very best.

Members of the RHTAC:
Keith Maready, Eastern Time Zone
John Blackbird, Central Time Zone (Deceased September 9, 2017)
Keith Winch, Mountain Time Zone
Patricia “Patty” Polish, Pacific Time Zone

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the RHTAC by Bill Teague, Chairman
RHTAC Report to MNRC, October 13, 2017

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