New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Tests

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New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

Postby Will.Johnson » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:21 am

Next month in August I will be running our French Brittany pup in the Natural Ability Test up in Nebraska (Heartland Chapter). I have zero experience with testing so this will be a new and exciting experience. Goal is to have fun, see other dogs work and learn to be a better trainer / handler.

Any advice on how to prepare for a full day in the Summer heat to keep the pup (and me) comfortable? Obviously plenty of water and food. Is it common to set up an overhead canopy or something similar to create a shade environment to kennel a dog? Not sure if keeping the kennel in the back of the SUV with gate and windows open is the best option. Are dogs staked in the shade as oppose to keeping in the kennel all day? Feel stupid asking these questions but really don't know what to expect. Appreciate any advise.
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Re: New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

Postby Kirby » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:33 am

Appreciate you asking, I am in the same boat. testing in Oregon Willamette Valley, Aug 12 and looking for advice too. My plan was to remain flexible, take the crate but also have a stake out. Rubbermaid bin for water to dunk him in, lots of fluids for him and me, also will have a 8x8 tarp I can set up as a shade cover should there be nothing there. I've never seen the grounds I am going to.
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Re: New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

Postby Moose57 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:49 pm

I volunteered at several tests before I tested NA last year and the heat was actually beneficial to me. my boy was just tired enough that he was able to focus on his track and do a great job.

The good news is the judges do not want to see a dog over heat so they will do the field work in the morning, Unless the weather conditions change the plan. If it's raining you won't have to worry about the heat anyway.

It sounds like you have a pretty good plan with the rubbermaid tub and bringing lots of water. Its best if you only get the areas they release heat from wet though. The ears, underarms/under the back legs and the "boys," are the spots I normally hit to cool him down. The excess water can actually make him hotter.

If you can get it in before your test I would suggest a kennel fan. A good one will help tremendously. Also do not be afraid to ask the judges to water your dog while doing the field portion of the test. Again, the judges are not there to kill dogs, and hydrating your dog from time to time is a natural part of hunting. There should be water tubs out in the field, but come prepared with whatever you use to water your dog normally.

If you do the stake out make sure you can get them in the shade either under a tree or bring a canopy. The kennel with a fan will probably be the best option unless everything is in one spot. At our grounds in PA we have to drive to get to the different parts of the test.

Part of the test is getting them to swim so that will give them the opportunity to cool down as well.

It's just as you said, keep it fun and relaxed, everything will be fine. Good luck and have fun with the experience.
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Re: New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

Postby ryanr » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:56 pm

A good lead or leash, plenty of water for the pup and a crate (or place to safely & quietly stash pup during down time) are what you should have with you. Nothing wrong with a canopy too and a stakeout can be used too. Keep in mind though you may be required to drive to different areas though (it all depends on the testing venue.) I wouldn't feed the dog before or during the test but havingba few treats along for the down time in between the testing elements isn't a bad idea. Are you going into this totally blind or have you been training with a local chapter or other folks that know what versatile breed training and testing is about?

Before your NA test you should know what that your pup will enter water, without much hesitation if any, to swim for a dummy (it doesn't need to pick it up), return and immediately enter the water again to swim a second, and even third time if need be. You and your pup should be familiar with tracking (a live pheasant will be used at the test, with the primary feathers pulled and several breast feathers will be plucked and placed on the ground at the point of release for the track.) You should also be at least fairly sure your dog will point scent, there is no set time it needs to hold point and steadiness is not required but the dog has to point just long enough for the judges to acknowledge the dog pointed. Your pup should also have a fairly reliable recall and it should be at least somewhat used to having people inspect its teeth (bite).

Try to stay calm and enjoy the day. The judges will give your dog every opportunity to show its "best self."

At our chapter's tests we also fill up at least one, sometimes 2 or 3 kiddie pools to cool the dogs if need be during the field search portion. At the venue we used when I tested we actually had a pond on the edge of the field search area that the judges encouraged us to use mid run.
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Re: New to NAVHDA Testing - What to bring?

Postby Densa44 » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:08 am

Good for you. Bring your own water from home, change as little as possible for the dog. make sure you know how to water your dog from a bottle. I use one of those G2 bottles with an orange top and squeeze water in through the side of her moth until she doesn't want any more. Carry the water with you.

If you have a live bird, you can bring that too. I use mine just to make sure she will stop on point.

Train for the "track" test right now, if you don't train for it you won't get it at the test.

Make sure she will swim 2xs.

That's it.
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