It is now getting harder to find helpers willing to be chase helper.This is because people are aware they could get injured and cant afford time of work.I have found an insurance company that will cover helpers for time of work but this does not take away the risk of injury. We are looking for suggestions to replace the chase with another exercise . Maybe send the dog the same as a chase then the helper runs into a hide and the dog does a stand off ,this would mean there can still be a recall. What do you think.
Well paul all these people who compete in pd are obviously training the chase with helpers so how about rather than try and change something we ask these helpers to run at our trials? also it could be arranged to provide a couple of helper training days throughout the year with someone with years of experience both as a competitor and a criminal who could assist new helpers in the how's and what's of pd chases/bites etc. I know a couple of people who if asked would be willing to help at all pd trials but societies hate having to fork money out for expenses. Change isn't always a bad thing but in this case it would be a travesty
Totally see your point Tracy. But I am afraid that is all old ground. We are now at the point that societies are having so much trouble getting helpers they are thinking of stopping running PD trials.Essex already has. If there are people prepared to cover the whole country and run chase, thats great , Who are they and what would their expenses be. ? When we were younger there were that many helpers that you could pluck extra ones out of the crowd who had come to watch. can you please tell me who these people are.
Hi Paul - Good idea to use the forum to raise the topic. It does seem to me that finding someone to run chase is becoming more difficult, and if it has reached the point that the stake is not being run because of this limitation, then change becomes an absolute necessity. I think that Trace makes a valid point that the competitors seem to manage to train chases - which would indicate that there are people out there who are prepared to do it - it'll be interesting to hear from them! In general I think everyone would like the chase to continue as it is - but we must face reality if it turns out that getting people to run at trials isn't do-able. I think the insurance issue is real, but surmountable and separate to this debate.
Edited to add - how about we put together a comprehensive list of people who are prepared/able to run and which geographic areas they are prepared to help in? Perhaps host it on the website?
There are still a number of people capable and willing to help at pd trials, I know this because I am one of them (although not always best to put me as chase - but I have done). I can do every single pd exercise but apart from my local society (necwts) I am not asked to help anywhere else (hmmm maybe they trying to tell me something ha) and I am one of youngest. When I judge I don't leave it up to TM to find criminals I go out of my way and ring people and ask if they will help me like I did at Wessex last year. I don't believe it's old ground and therefore we implement change to compensate.
Most people only ask for fuel or maybe accommodation too. And I still say the people training pd get help from somewhere so perhaps seeing as these stakes run for them then the least they could do is enrol some of the helpers to go to a few trials. If every pd person did this we could cover the trials up and down the country. Sorry I won't name everyone PP I'm keeping them fit to take to kccs with me haha.
I think this is a very important topic, with some of the very large powerful dogs that we can get entered in PD and helpers running over farm land there is always a chance of injury to both helper and dog. So what to do, options are remove and replace the exercise or maybe rethink the chase. I am currently working through the exercise with various dogs and my helper to see if we could put more control into the exercise and be test at close quarters under more scrutiny. For example have the time of the conversion between handler and helper extended with the helper moving around at close proximity to the dog, when the helper begins his escape he could start it from being next to the competitor and no running just a brisk walk. The dog can be sent when the helper is no further away than 10 yards this is a much easier and safer bite to take for the helper. The handler must remain in the same position throughout the exercise even to call the dog out. Just a thought, if anyone likes it I'm sure it could be tweaked and improved. My reasoning is the longer the chase the more speed, power and desire the dog has this will result in a comitted strike that could take the helper down for hard fall.
Personally, I have absolutely no problem with running chase at trials and I do try and help out at as many as possible (I have 4 booked in already this year), but with a young family, work and other general life commitments I can’t be at every trial.
I do fully understand that running down a field while a dog chases you down and grabs hold of your arm is a fairly daunting prospect for new/inexperienced helpers, and would agree that putting on some training days for interested people is a good thing. The problem is that a few days a year is not (in my opinion) enough time to become experienced enough to do what is actually a complex task. I have probably run 100s, if not 1000s, of chases for dogs of varying shapes, sizes, power to weight ratios, speeds, abilities, etc., and over time have learnt how to move my body in order to time the impact and absorb the force from that impact. As a result I have never injured myself or a dog in any way. With best will in the world, this is not something you could teach someone to do in a day as it requires a lot of practice. Having said this, experience is not the be all and end all. My partner, who despite being a capable and experienced helper, would not be able to safely take bites from some of the dogs currently competing in pd. This is not solely due to the physical size of the dogs, but more so the excessive force with which they hit the helper at the bite impact on a long chase.
The sport of working trials is one where we try and collect points - there is nothing in the rules where extra points are awarded for speed and power on a chase. The exercise is fairly simple, the dog should be under control at the start of the exercise, then on command pursue the moving helper and bite the sleeve. In my mind, if the dog is confident in their abilities, understands the task they are being asked to do, and sees it as the fun sport it is supposed to be, they should bite my arm with a similar level of intensity that they would do if they were chasing their own handler holding a ball on a rope (other toys are available). A dog that is not confident, worried, or overly aroused may well still chase, but will strike and bite with excessive force. If the handler is stood at the start of the exercise worried in case their dog hits too hard and injures the helper, then surely that handler should not be putting their dog in that situation.
Yes, as other people have said, there must be people out there who are training pd dogs for chases, but I have always been puzzled by the fact that I rarely see pd handlers putting a sleeve on and helping out (some do obviously). Now, I appreciate that pd handlers may well be competing, but surely they can’t be competing at every trial there is. Surely if pd handlers are worried about the future of the sport, then they could help in the patrol round? Now, I understand given the average age of handlers in working trials generally (no offence intended ) that this may feel like a daunting prospect, but as I’ve already said, if the dogs are happy and confident then the impact should be minimal. I think the onus should be on the handler to use a little common sense - if their dog uses excessive power on the chase, and they are genuinely worried that it may cause injury, then why are they entering their dog?
I think removing the chase is a mistake, as the next exercise to go would be the recall. If helpers are unwilling to run chase, then why would they want to take the risk of the dog not recalling and being bit? Also, I would be worried that the earlier suggestion of a ‘follow’ and a hide would lead to helpers being bashed about as the dog comes at speed into the hide (at best).
I often find it strange that the chase is the hardest exercise to find helpers for. Simple physics tells us that actually the attack on handler and test of courage should lead to greater impact forces (two colliding objects moving towards each other result in a greater impact than two objects moving in the same direction). But because the distances tend to be much less people seem to view it differently. With this in mind, I think the safest approach would be to just make the chases shorter. If the dogs can’t get up to full speed then the impact would be less.
Nice idea Dave - do you think that such a modification would permit the exercise to be conducted by someone of less skill than [say Dave R] in addition to reducing the risk of injury through falling at speed??