By the time our dogs have completed their
NAVHDA Utility testing they have become
all-round, capable hunting partners.
Success in the field and on the water
doesn't just happen - its the culmination of bred-in abilities and the ability of the trainer/handler to impart advanced trained behaviors.
Center: Baron and a Teal.
Top: Baron and Jasper on Huns
Upper R: Baron and Snow goose
Bottom R: Matt and Jasper and a mess of ducks
Bottom L: Sheryle and Karma and a hard-won sharpie.
Training does a great job of imparting manners on game, but the real test is what happens in the field. We spend most of October, November and December in the field and woods on wild game. Yes we both work, but our vacation is piled up into those months and of course the weekends. Each dog visibly matures as they experience the variable conditions, unexpected situations, cagey wild birds, and difficult scenting conditions. Hunting allows us to evaluate each dogs base desire to hunt, and has provided us valuable insight into each of our dogs as individuals and where they lay on the spectrum of desire.
With a deep bench (currently at 5 hunting dogs) we often indulge in running braces - what fun! Seeing the point-honor sequence play out time after time never gets old - and makes it difficult for me to decide - gun? or camera?
Our dogs have opened up a whole new world - we now enjoy duck and goose hunting as much as upland (ok sometimes MORE than upland), and the dogs are always game on for waterfowl.