Should RMC host a NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic?

We heard you!

Rocco retrieve

A Handler’s Clinic will help you understand how NAVHDA evaluates versatile hunting dogs.

Based on member requests, the Rocky Mountain Chapter Board is looking to sponsor a NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic this summer to help you improve your handling skills and gain insight into how to evaluate your hunting partner.

Hosting a clinic requires a modest investment by the chapter, so the Board needs to hear from at least 12 members who are highly likely to attend before we recruit a Senior Judge and finalize a date. Please RSVP by Sunday April 17 and let us know if you would be interested and likely to attend. We’re aiming to hold the clinic in mid-summer, before the Frontier Chapter’s summer test and our August test.

Participation will be limited to 20 handlers. Chapter members will be given first consideration.

What is a handler’s clinic?
A Handler’s Clinic is a two-day event designed to help NAVHDA members understand how NAVHDA evaluates versatile hunting dogs. The clinics are  conducted by designated, specially trained NAVHDA Senior Judges.

During the clinic, the judge will deconstruct every element of the Natural Ability, Utility Prep and Utility tests – with field demonstrations of the skills that pups, dogs in training and finished hunting dogs should possess. Most of the time is spent in the field with dogs, but a portion of the program includes discussion about the testing process and scoring.

You’ll learn about common handler mistakes that can detract from your dog’s score and tips on how to effectively manage your dog during a test. You won’t bring your dog, but you will watch dogs perform test elements, learn how to evaluate their performance and you’ll score dogs as if you were a judge All of this will help you understand – and enjoy – training and testing.

Who would want to attend?

  • New handlers with their first pup can see how other dogs’ work is evaluated by an GRIFF LESSONexperienced judge. This give you a baseline for understanding your pup’s strengths and identifying where work is needed to improve weak areas.
  • Novice handlers can see how NAVHDA evaluates versatile dogs, and learn how to better handle dogs in a test. A clinic will show you what a good gun dog can be expected to do.
  • Experienced handlers, especially those looking to prepare for the Utility test series, can gain a deeper, more technical knowledge of how the team of dog and handler are judged. The clinic will demystify terms like cooperation, obedience, steadiness and the elements of a proper duck search – skills that a finished versatile hunting dog should possess.
  • Looking to breed your dog? A clinic will help you learn what to look for in your dog’s pedigree and other progeny in your line. You’ll also learn how to use NAVHDA records obtained through our Search Test Records for selective breeding.
  • Wondering about becoming a NAHVDA judge? Completing a clinic is the first step in the process.

What if I’m not interested in the testing process?CwithSherman2013
Remember, NAVHDA’s goal is to help you learn how to train and handle the dog that you want. Test elements replicate the skills a finished gun dog should have. During a Handler’s Clinic, an experienced judge who has seen and evaluated many, many dogs will explain what those skills are and show you what those skills look like in the field.

What do we need from you?
Please RSVP to this email – RMC.NAVHDA@GMAIL.COM and let us know if you are interested in attending, what you and your dog(s) are currently training for and what your goals are. Please respond by Sunday April 17. We’re offering participation to active chapter members first. At some point, we’ll open registration to other chapters as well.

Many thanks to Testing Director Phil Goodwin for doing the legwork for the Board to offer you this opportunity.

On behalf of the RMC Board, we look forward to hearing from you!


Theo Stein

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