Training for the test, yes or no?

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Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby Densa44 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:35 pm

I hear this a lot, and really I don't get it. NAVHDA tests are designed as best they can to mimic a hunting situation. I have been told and believe that the handlers only job is to help the dog. From that I took it, that the dog should do as well on the test as she is capable. It seems obvious to me, train for the test, then you can do what ever you want.
Do others hear this or is it just my circle of doggy friends ?
I really appreciate your thoughtful comments , there aren't many Vdog people here during a long cold Canadian winter.
Camridge's Sienna NA 112 UT pz 1 204
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby orhunter » Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:42 pm

I've never tested a dog I haven't hunted for a season. The only "training" they get is water exposure, whoa and fetch. The rest they pick up on their own.
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:59 am

Steady to WSF, Retrieve and Hold all birds until the handler takes the bird, Heel through poles, Stay steady by a blind while the handler walks out of sight and fires a gun twice, waits to be sent on a water mark until commanded to go, searches a Marsh with one command and continues until told to recall and then does, run a drag out of sight of the handler, pick up the duck and return straight to the handler with it.

No dog will do all that in a UT without training.

NA Test - a pup with the right genetics, exposure and a decent trained recall can score a 112. Which is as it should be.
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby booger » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:27 am

AverageGuy wrote:Steady to WSF, Retrieve and Hold all birds until the handler takes the bird, Heel through poles, Stay steady by a blind while the handler walks out of sight and fires a gun twice, waits to be sent on a water mark until commanded to go, searches a Marsh with one command and continues until told to recall and then does, run a drag out of sight of the handler, pick up the duck and return straight to the handler with it.

No dog will do all that in a UT without training.

NA Test - a pup with the right genetics, exposure and a decent trained recall can score a 112. Which is as it should be.

^this

Some of the stuff is specifically for the test and not for hunting. For example, I don't really care if my dog is steady to shot and fall when hunting I also would prefer my dog flush the bird, moreso in cattails where I'm not keen on breaking through the ice.
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby Densa44 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:19 pm

Steady to WSF, it is for the dog's safety that she is steady to wing and shot, I know of a very sad situation that a fellow shot and killed his own dog, so mine are steady, But being old and fat, I use my dog to flush the birds, however, I do it by touching her and saying " what have you got?". What I have learned, when she can see the bird (did you know that pheasants have camouflage on their eye lids?) I never can, she won't move! I have found that if I take a baby step the rooster appears right in front of us.

I shoot a .410 double and the reason is because most of my shots are very close. I shot a bird with a 20 gauge at close range once and the bird was 3 feet long when she brought it back. Fertilizer!
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby Dmog » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:40 am

I train for the test we are taking. NA is mainly exposure but during exposure you find there maybe areas that need some training. You also find out how cooperative and trainable your dog is which is partly natural ability. This is a meaningful experience for the handler and since I have limited experience find it very useful to do as I am training for my styles of hunting which with a well bred versatile isn't much more training beyond NA for me. Steady in blind, whoa, heel, recall, hunt dead, and trained retrieve is about all the further I take it with steady to shot trained in off season but I let it slip during the hunting season. This covers my hunting needs of duck, geese, turkey, quail, chukar, and pheasants. I haven't ruled out deer tracking as both my dogs seem to track deer relatively well but I have discontinued deer hunting for quite a few years now but find it neat to be able to help out someone that is trying to recover and harvest their game.
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby Meridiandave » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:58 pm

What test?

NA: Is it training or exposure? I think a pup needs to be exposed to search, birds, water, and track. Most people do not do tracks prior to testing and some end up with a dog who does a search instead of a track in the test.

UT training is absolutely required. No way around it. Steadiness to release requires training. Delivery to hand requires training. Swimming the pond on command requires training.

Ironically, the more I learn about dog training, the less I feel I know.
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Re: Training for the test, yes or no?

Postby Urban_Redneck » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:43 am

Meridiandave wrote:What test?

NA: Is it training or exposure? I think a pup needs to be exposed to search, birds, water, and track. Most people do not do tracks prior to testing and some end up with a dog who does a search instead of a track in the test.

UT training is absolutely required. No way around it. Steadiness to release requires training. Delivery to hand requires training. Swimming the pond on command requires training.

Ironically, the more I learn about dog training, the less I feel I know.


+1 on the Utility Test

I've witnessed quite a few pups NA test in NAVHDA, including my own.

Tracking, I've come to believe is a delicate balance of the pup learning the "Track" command vs over doing it to the point it effects the pup's search style and even steadiness. If he does it successfully, twice, I'd stop right there.

An often overlooked aspect of "training for a test" is socializing the pup to work in the presence of strangers. I've heard lot's of handlers frustrations when a pup that "loves the water" won't swim at a test or spends he spends 5 minutes running around the handler, judges, and spectators instead of taking to the track. In that same vein, politely discourage spectators- you, 3 judges, 2 apprentice judges, are enough potential distractions for a testing pup- you can take photos afterwards.
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