Training Days

During 2019, Rocky Mountain NAVHDA will hold 6 training days.

Date Time Agenda Contact Sign Up
Feb 10, 2019 8am – 4pm Discipline Sara Heesacker Sign Up
March 9, 2019 7:00am NA & UT Exercises Sara Heesacker Sign Up
April 6, 2019 7:00am NA & UT Exercises Sara Heesacker Sign Up
May 4, 2019 7:00am NA & UT Exercises Sara Heesacker Sign Up
June 15, 2019 7:00am NA & UT Exercises Sara Heesacker
August 10, 2019 7:00am NA & UT Exercises Sara Heesacker Sign Up

The February training day will be held at The Ranch (Larimer County Fairgrounds Thomas McKee 4-H Building).  All subsequent Training Days will start at 7:00 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 late afternoon.

What and How:

Rocky Mountain NAVHDA training days will be structured to promote active participation by each handler and their dog throughout the day. Our chapter’s focus is to help handlers effectively develop a training progression and efficiently address teachable moments for the dog while you are in a training session.  Our goal is that each handler will have the skills to train their dog as a useful and reliable hunting companion.  There will be opportunity to work through different training exercises with help and coaching from other members.  We will begin each training day with Break Out Sessions for the Natural Ability Handlers.  This will allow the owners of young dogs to concentrate on preparation for Natural Ability testing as well as laying a solid foundation for future training with their dog under the mentorship and guidance of our experienced Utility Handlers.  Each group of dogs will  rotate through a series of stations, each focused on a different training component to address all areas of training a versatile hunting dog.  Utiltiy handlers will work on several group exercises to provide older dogs work on more advanced topics focused on utilizing obedience and cooperation to  produce finished gundogs while providing highly stimulating and distracting environments with large amounts of bird exposure.

RMC NAVHDA Clinic Style Training Days rely on the active participation of all involved to set up and run each day’s exercises. 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 get the support you need to make your good dog better!

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.  We strive 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 and conditioned retrieve, 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 Sara Heesacker.

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

View Larger Map

3 thoughts on “Training Days

  1. Steve,
    I am a new member with an 18 month old GSP. Would it be alright to come out to the April 6 training day or is too late in the training season to do so?

    Thank you, Tim Wind

    • Tim, it is never too late to start. There is a first-year utility group that will be perfect. On your registration, you might mention your situation in the comments section, and Sara will know to get you started in the best place for your dog. Also, remind her first thing in the morning of the training day about your dog’s status and she get you to the right place.

Leave a Reply