A special thanks to our volunteers

Director of Testing Phil Goodwin waits with Milburn Markle and his Pudelpointer Levon before the NA water event.

Running a volunteer organization like the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA takes – you guessed it – volunteers who are willing to give their time and their energy to help others succeed in training the hunting dog and companion that will be with them for years in the field, and give them memories for a lifetime.

RMC NAVHDA’s tests are always full. We feel a responsibility to run NAVHDA tests that take the pressure off handlers and give their dogs the best chance to perform. And we could not do it without the selfless help of volunteers. So thank you Rick Huber, Dan Sprague, Jake & Sara Heesacker, Don Andrews, Michael Autrey, Ross Sibley, Andrew Hoezel, boatman Allen Kidd and Tom Swezey.

Judges prepare the drag event for Sunday’s UT handlers with the snowy Front Range foothills in the background.

A special thanks to:

  • Test Secretary Phil Goodwin, for doing all the hard work behind the scenes that make a test run smoothly,
  • Colin Hornbeck, for taking photos on Saturday and
  • Sheryl Dierenfield, for throwing down two absolutely scrumptious lunches for the judges and volunteers.

And a puppy picture, just because.

Ridiculously adorable German wirehaired pointer.

RMC SPRING TEST RESULTS

Here are the results of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Spring Test. Our thanks to the handlers who presented their dogs and the judges who assessed their performance.

SATURDAY MAY 20
TEST NAME BREED SCORE PRIZE OWNER
NA GALEWINN RAMBLIN MAN IS 100 III Pat Skavlen
NA HIDDEN ACRES CYDNEY PP 92 III Dan Lucchesi
NA DREAMWORKS FUZZY PP 106 I Michael Autrey
NA JASPER OF THE BEAR RIVER CLAN PP 78 NP Seth Gallagher
NA SNOWBIRDS OUTLAW KIDD ROCK GR 96 III Shona Welle
NA AGNES HOLD YOUR POINT GR 88 II Kurt Streweler
NA HIDDEN ACRES COLT PP 93 NP James Arnold
NA OUTLANDERS DAUNTLESS O’DELL GS 112 I Tim Griffin
NA SNOWBIRDS STORY GR 112 I Pete Palmer
NA AUX LAKE’S ZMOKE & MIRRORS GR 79 III Nancy Savidge
  SUNDAY MAY 21
TEST NAME BREED SCORE PRIZE OWNER
UT BONE POINTS UNO GW 176 II Ben Oakleaf
UT BONE POINTS UKIAH GW 147 NP Bob Schweikhardt
UT JACKSON CREEK BRAVEHEART PP 165 NP Kevin Boswell
NA TREILBER’S HIGH COUNTRY ZEKE GW 90 NP Don Anderson
NA MUELLERS DACHS GW 112 I Scott Baysinger
NA KILLBUCK II LEVON PP 108 II Milburn Markle
NA NORTHERN EXPOSURE DARK PASSER GS 112 I Brian Thoman
Judges
SR Keith Kemmer Apprentice Keith Barr
J1 Steven Buck Apprentice Richard Sears
J2 Craig McLaughlin

RMC Spring Test – Call for Volunteers

The Rocky Mountain Chapter is known around NAVHDA for putting on smooth tests. For me, one of the really gratifying things about helping to run our chapter is watching how our members turn out in force and put on a great test for handlers.

Well, it’s that time again. Our Spring Test is next weekend, May 20 and 21and we’re sending out the call for test volunteers.

Why volunteer?

  • If you’ve tested with us, you’ll be paying it forward for folks who ran your test day.
  • If you’re a new handler, watching a test from close up is a great opportunity to watch other dogs and other handlers, and to pick up tips and tactics for your own test day.
  • And you will develop relationships with other chapter members who can help you progress in your own training program.

We will be needing volunteers to help us set up test stations, prepare and ferry birds, make sure handlers are ready to go and generally keep one step ahead of the judges so the day progresses smoothly. We also need folks to help us unload the trailer in the AM, police the parking lot, field questions from handlers and help us pack up at days’ end.

If you can help next weekend, please send me an email here. Let me know if you’ve helped with tests before and what you’ve got experience doing. If this is your first time – don’t worry! The tasks are fairly simple and many hands make light work!

Thanks in advance for helping us run another great test!

Sincerely
Theo Stein

RMC announces two summer training clinics

The RMC board is excited to announce two summer training clinics for you and your dog.

Forced retrieve clinic – June 10

Tom Swezey, one of Colorado’s most respected trainers and owner of Indian Brook Kennels in Wellington, will host a hands-on training clinic to help up to 10 handlers understand the theory and practice of force-fetch training. Participation is limited to give Tom time to work with you and your dog.

The cost for the clinic is $75 and includes lunch and snacks. The clinic will be held at Tom’s property.

Training Skills Clinic – July 8 and 9

Blaine Carter, whose family owns Merrymeeting Kennels and runs NAVHDA’s Yankee Chapter, has agreed to help us host a two-day training skills clinic at Cobb Lake SWA on July 8 and 9. This is a hands-on training skills clinic for up to 20 handlers and their dogs.
This seminar will include foundational obedience up and through finishing your gun dog.  For the more advanced dogs, we will tackle steadiness, search for the duck, force fetch, drags and tracks.  For the younger dogs we will cover topics such as building confidence and control in the field and how to start your dog’s fetching habits more effectively.  The seminar will also provide an opportunity to have professional help in assessing you and your dog’s training weaknesses to get you where you want to be.  This will be a hands-on seminar so you are encouraged to bring your dog as we will have one-on-one time with Blaine and Jason to tackle any specific issues you might be having.

Blaine has been a NAVHDA judge since early 1980’s and has trained and tested dogs at various levels successfully in the NAVHDA and German systems. He and his family have bred and trained some of the top German Shorthairs in the country and for the past 25 years, he has hosted training clinics to pass on his knowledge and experience to other versatile hunting dog owners.

The cost for the clinic is $150 and includes lunch and snacks both days. The clinic will be held at Cobb Lake SWA.

Because there are only 30 total slots available, we are asking that you register for either Tom’s force-fetch clinic or Blaine’s training skills clinic. Email rmc.navhda@gmail.com if you’d like to register. Slots will be assigned in the order that clinic fees are received.

Thanks!

Theo Stein
President, RMC NAVHDA

 

 

May 6 Training Day

Our May training day is upon us! If you’ve signed up already- great. We look forward to seeing you. If you haven’t signed up, there are only a few slots remaining. You can sign up on Signup Genius.

It will be warm, so bring plenty of water and make sure your dog’s tick medicine is up to date.

This week we will be working with bobwhite in the field and we will have pheasants for the NA track. We do not yet have ducks, so if you know of a supply, please email rmc.navhda@gmail.com. You’ll make a lot of people happy.

Thanks
Theo Stein, President

 

March 4 Training Day – Signup deadline 2/27

Thanks to everyone who attended our first indoor training day yesterday at the Spicer Arena. We were delighted by all the new faces and we’re geared up for our first field training day at Cobb Lake.

Norton, owned and handled by Rick Huber, became RMC’s newest VC in 2016 – the only Griff to pass the Invitational. It’s clear the RMC is rapidly becoming a Griff chapter.

Thanks too to all of you who are using Signup Genius to help us build a training roster and keep track of bird orders. We’ve already got so many folks signed up we’re about at the limits of our ability to make sure handlers have a productive training experience.

So, if you’re planning to attend on Saturday, you must respond to signup genius with your bird order by COB MONDAY. After Monday, we’re capping the roster to make sure all the handlers who signed up have a meaningful opportunity to train.

See you Saturday!
Theo Stein
President, RMC NAVHDA

Feb. 25 Indoor Training Day

To: RMC-NAVHDA Membership
From: Craig McLaughlin, Training Director
Subject: Indoor Training Session: February 25, 2017
__________________________________________________________
Location:
Spicer Arena, 37440 County Road 43, Eaton, CO 80615
http://www.spicerarena.com/
Time:
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Format:
This indoor event is intended to provide new handlers of versatile dogs with an understanding of the NAVHDA training and testing system, highlighting the techniques and equipment used by chapter members to develop useful hunting companions. The morning session will be devoted to young dogs. More advanced training of older, experienced dogs will be discussed in the afternoon. Much of the time before lunch will include presentations and group discussions. Opportunities to work with dogs will come in late morning, when some indoor table and basic obedience drills will be discussed.
Schedule:
9:00 – Noon – Starting Puppies (Natural Ability Dogs)
We will start the day with a focus on new handlers and young dogs.  The morning will include a discussion of setting training goals for your pup’s first year, review of the NAVHDA approach to developing reliable gundogs, including the testing system that is the backbone of our approach. We will then review and explain the major types of training equipment and approaches that will help you build a solid hunting companion.  (We’ll be exposing dogs to birds on March 4.)
Noon – 1:00 – Lunch.
We will be providing a light lunch on site.
1:00 – 3:30 – Developing a finished hunting dog (Utility Dogs)
This will be a session devoted first to discussions about setting goals and developing training schedules that will produce a reliable hunting companion.  We will finish with some indoor training drills, including an overview of the force fetch  process.
 What to bring:
  • Warm clothing, for while we are indoors, the temperatures in the arena may be chilly. The weather forecast for Saturday is for high’s in the low 40’s.
  • A folding chair to be comfortable for the discussion sessions, and drinks (for you and your dog).
  • If you bring a dog, you will need to hold it in your vehicle for much of the day.  Dogs will need to be on lead at all times, unless they are actively participating in a training exercise.  Please bring necessary equipment to clean up after your dog.
Questions? Email rmc.navhda@gmail.com

 

PRESIDENT’S NOTE

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Wild bird, public land. That’s why we do what we do.

In just a few weeks, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA will kick off its 2017 schedule, so I wanted to take just a few minutes to update you on your Board’s recent annual meeting.

As we entered 2016, former president Phil Booghier outlined three big challenges for the chapter: financial stability, fundraising and membership. We had also seen some significant turnover on the Board. It seemed to me the Chapter was at an inflection point – I was concerned about where the next generation of leadership was going to come from.

Boy did that change in a hurry!

Membership doubled. Our financial picture stabilized. (That allowed us to leave dues unchanged for 2017.) We quickly found we were swamped at training days. And a cadre of young, very energetic members and new blood stepped up to help us deal with the growth. We’ve got a large ( and growing) group of handlers who have completed Natural Ability training and are moving to developing the advanced skills that characterize a fully functional versatile hunting dog.

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Congrats to Rick Huber, who handled his Griff Norton to a VC at the 2016 Invitational!

For the cherry on top, super-volunteer Rick Huber, who does double duty as the president of the Frontier Chapter, handled his Griff Norton to a Versatile Champion title at the NAVHDA Invitational in Ohio. Congrats Rick!

Looking ahead

Now we have another challenge – Making sure we serve your needs as you work to train up the hunting dog that you want.

To that end, we’re offering three new training opportunities in 2017: An indoor training day on Feb. 25, a force-fetch clinic in June and an advanced skills training clinic in July.

We’ve also been gratified by the number of you who have stepped up to volunteer at our training and test events – and those who have expressed interest in learning about leadership roles in the Chapter. So we’re going to create a Volunteer Corps to formalize some of the training and help spread the workload in an effort to avoid volunteer burnout.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 9.07.55 AMBut to be fully successful, we need your help. First, we’re using an online application to build training day rosters. Please respond to invitations from Signup Genius to help us build training day plans and wrangle enough volunteers to keep handlers training and not standing around waiting.

Second, we need you to understand that we’re here to help you learn how to train your dog, but that you need to become your own training director. No one knows your dog like you: Is he/she soft or a knucklehead? Did your dog just blink a bird or did it miss the scent? What’s worked in the past? What hasn’t worked? For Utility handlers especially, you need to be training at least once a week on birds – and a couple times a week at home on other skills. From experience I can tell you it’s so much easier and more effective if you can work birds a small group.IMG_2213

So as you look around you at our March training day, try find a partner or handful of handlers to work with this year. Don’t be araid to ask one of the more experienced handlers if you can meet with them for training. Your dog will love you for it.

That’s all for now. If you haven’t updated your membership, please do. Training season is just around the corner.

See you in the field!

Theo Stein
President
RMC NAVHDA

Ready to dive into training?

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The Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA has finalized its 2017 training schedule.

In addition to the traditional five training days at Cobb Lake SWA, we’re offering three new training opportunities this year.

  • Indoor training day – February 25: To make sure we hit the ground running on March 4, we’re holding an indoor training day at the Spicer Arena on Saturday Feb. 25. The goal of the day is to introduce new handlers to the equipment they’ll be using during training days and the elements of NAVHDA tests. Trainer/handlers of young dogs will learn about preparing for the Natural Ability Test, and we will also discuss the various aspects of more advanced testing designed to help provide fully functional hunting dogs. Handlers working on more advanced skills (Utility Prep, Utility, or Invitational Test levels) are encouraged to attend so we can hear what your training goals are for the coming year. Look for an invitation from Signup Genius soon.
  • Force Fetch Clinic – June TBD: This is a special clinic for UT Handlers who want to successfully take their dog through Force Fetch. Tom Swezey of Indian Brook Kennels – an experienced trainer and NAVHDA breeder, will host it. Participation will be limited to 10 handlers per day. (A second day will be added if there’s enough interest.) There will be a fee. Expect an invitation through Signup Genius when details are finalized.
  • Advanced Skills Training Clinic – July 8-9: This is a special, two-day clinic to help UT handlers learn how to train their dogs to be successful in the skills possessed by a finished gun dog, including steadiness in the field and duck search. To be hosted at Cobb Lake SWA by Blaine Carter of the NAVHDA Yankee Chapter in Maine. Attendance will be limited. There will be a fee. Expect an invitation through Signup Genius when details are finalized.IMG_1845

Regular Training Days
at Cobb Lake SWA

  • March 4
  • April 1
  • May 6
  • June 3
  • August 5

What’s up with Signup Genius? We’ve been blown away by the increased membership over the past two years. Planning for and managing training days to make sure they are productive for all handlers has been a challenge. To ensure we’re ready for you, we create a training roster for each day – something that’s proved to be time-consuming. This year, we’re using Signup Genius to help us track RSVPs and to take bird orders. IF YOU DO NOT RSVP TO TRAINING INVITATIONS WITH SIGNUP GENIUS, YOUR BIRD ORDER WILL NOT BE TALLIED. You’ll still be able to train with us, but you’ll be on your own for birds that day. To ensure you receive Signup Genius invitations, update your Chapter membership today!

Questions? Email RMC NAVHDA.

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Spring Test Update

Rocco retrieve

Director of Testing Phil Goodwin sent a note yesterday ( Jan 31) advising that the Spring Test is completely full.

The Fall Test has a maximum of six slots remaining ( depending on whether dogs are running NA or UT.)

If you’ve wanted to test with us this year and have not gotten your application in – DON’T DESPAIR. We normally see a number of registered dogs drop out of each test, so hurry up and send in your application so you can get on the wait list.

Theo Stein
President