Training Days

During 2017, the chapter will hold 6 training days. Please note the training day is the first Saturday of each month.

Date Time Agenda Trainer
Feb 25, 2017 TBD TBD TBD
March 4, 2017 7:30am TBD TBD
April 1, 2017 7:30am TBD TBD
May 6, 2017 7:30am TBD TBD
June 3, 2017 7:30am TBD TBD
August 5, 2017 7:300am TBD TBD

Except for Feb 25, we will start each day by meeting at 7:30 AM in the north parking lot of Cobb Lake SWA, on CR 58 just southeast of Wellington.  Be sure to bring clothing, food, and equipment to keep you and your dog comfortable for a full day, as it is likely that we won’t finish working dogs until mid-afternoon. The February 25 training day will be held at Spicer Arena in Eaton. An invitation will go out to all members by Signup Genius.

What and How:

Our training days will be structured to promote active participation – you and your dog will actively participate throughout the day. Our goal is to help you train your dog as a useful and reliable hunting companion, so there will be plenty of opportunity to work through all training exercises with help and coaching from other members. We will split into two groups to allow the owners of young dogs to concentrate on preparation for Natural Ability testing, while those with older dogs work on more advanced topics focused on producing finished gundogs.  Each grouping of dogs will be subdivided to allow for all dogs to rotate through a series of stations, each with a different training drill, to minimize waiting time and keep everyone engaged throughout the day.

This approach relies on the active participation of all involved, as we will need lots of hands on deck to set up and run each day’s exercises. The chapter has many experienced trainers, and we are counting on their help during training days, particularly in mentoring our new chapter members. I will be reaching out to individual members for help in manning training stations each month, and encourage all of you to look at training days as a means of re-engaging with the chapter.  All of us, regardless of how polished our dogs are, will have an aspect of training that is in need of brushing up, or could benefit from challenging our dogs to perform at a higher level.  A chapter training day is the perfect opportunity to help your fellow chapter members improve the performance of their dogs and (as Gundogs Unlimited says) get the support you need “to make your good dog better”!

The specific topics covered in each training day will be highlighted throughout the year, both in the newsletter and on our chapter website. We will progress through various aspects of field and water training regimens through the months, but will also retain training drills to emphasize the basic yard work to retain a high level of obedience that forms the foundation of a finished versatile gundog.

Puppies — Natural Ability Level Topics:

Our Natural Ability group generally includes several new members who are training their first NAVHDA dog.  The success of this training group is critical to the future success of the chapter, for we need to recruit and retain members to ensure that our passion for training, testing and hunting versatile dogs lives on.  We will start the year with the basics, emphasizing the exposure of young dogs to the variety of environments required to help them succeed at the Natural Ability testing level and provide a solid basis for their future development as gun dogs.

We will begin the year with the training table and basic obedience commands, introduction to birds, introduction to gunfire, beginning steadiness work, introduction to retrieving, and tracking.  Water work will be delayed until at least April to allow the water to warm.  By our third training day in early May, all pups that are entered in spring tests will have been exposed to all elements of the test.

Older Dogs — Utility/Invitational Level Topics:

This group will start the year with a series of drills that reinforce basic obedience, including a review of table work, group retrieving drills that demand honoring, heeling exercises, on-lead and off-lead whoa work, and drags.  Depending on the mix of dogs and training needs of the group, some or all of the following training exercises may be introduced, including control of range and promoting efficient field search, steadiness, stop-to-flush, trained retrieve, use of e-collars, and honoring (backing) a brace-mate’s point.  In future months, as water temperatures warm, we will incorporate water drills, including those that build efficient duck searches, remaining by and steadiness by the blind, and we will introduce blind retrieves and multiple marked retrieves for Invitational-bound dogs.

What to bring:

Training days will be held rain or shine, so come prepared with appropriate clothing, bug spray, sunscreen, drinks, snacks, etc. The fields can be wet, so consider bringing waterproof boots and rain gear. Folding chairs, and a tarp or pop-up shelter are good additions to provide shade for you and your dog.

Bring plenty of water for your dog, along with whatever training gear you use. You’ll need a leash, check cord, e-collar, and whistle. The Chapter has some equipment available like retrieving bumpers, training table, blinds and decoys, heeling stakes, duck wingers, and bird launchers and bird bags. A crate or stake-out is recommended to keep your dog quiet and comfortable while waiting its turn in the field.

For more information, please contact Craig McLaughlin.

For a map and directions to Cobb Lake SWA, click on the map below:


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