Frank, Danny and 5 1/2 year old Britt Diego
When Jim and I started on this crazy bird dog adventure two years ago our breeder Bob Corsaro required us to run our GSP pup Cleo in a NAVHDA Natural Ability Test. At first Jim and I were a little turned off that we were required to test the dog but in reality it was a blessing in disguise. Knowing that we had to test her and not wanting to be unprepared we sought out how to train her. Very quickly into that process we realized that we loved it and a new hobby/obsession was born.
AJ - A beautiful 8 1/2 month old DK pup
When we first began researching NAVHDA (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) we heard mixed reviews. The normal negative feedback was that it was clicky, some people were snobby and there was prejudice against certain breeds. Jim and I joined but did so guarded. Our experience with NAVHDA is that its full of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and helpful people who will go out of there way to hep you and your dog achieve the goals you have set. We have experienced none of the things we were warned about and have found it to be a great asset to our training. Today we drove close to 3 hours to Montgomery, NY from Bucks County, PA to train with the Rock Tavern NAVHDA Chapter.
AJ and his owner Frank on a Pheasant Track
Oak and his owner Rick also on a Pheasant Track
We spent the day working the younger dogs in preparation of their Natural Ability Test. They worked on pheasant tracks, getting the pups in some water and lots of field work. Cleo who is working towards her Utility Title also got to dabble with a duck search or two, staying steady by the blind, duck drags and walking at heel ect. It was nice day for training. See below for some pics.
Cleo returning from a successful duck drag
Sophie the DK retrieving a bumper
Pop and his Britt Diego on the way to the lake
8 1/2 month old AJ on Point
14 month old Oak in the field on some birds
Sophie on point
Today was a great day of training. We met so many nice people and got to watch a great group of dogs do what they love the most. It always makes me feel good about the world when perfect strangers can work together and help each other. If your unsure about joining a local NAVHDA chapter give it a shot. You'll be amazed at how much you can learn and how friendly everyone is.
Cleo returning from a duck search. She felt is easier to run down the road then to swim back.
Cleo had a so so day. She did some things well and other things not so well. If you have been following this blog the past year Jim and I have been on a quest to test Cleo and have her place in a UT test. She has been scheduled to test next weekend. As of this afternoon we decided to pull her out. It's a tad bittersweet but for the best. Cleo is an amazing dog. In fact the only down side to her is Jim and I. She is a much better dog than we are trainers. Cleo is our first hunting dog and from the get go we have been aggressive to do as much as we possibly could with her as far as testing and hunting. It's what she loves and what we love too. The past year has been amazing as far as learning experiences and we owe so much to Bob Corsaro for his guidance. But in the end she just wasn't ready. Her fieldwork is good, she stays steady by the blind, she heels like a champ and her ducks drags are normally perfect. But she needs more water work. We would have been setting her up for failure next week if we ran her. We are by no means abandoning our goal we are just going to hunt her all season and enjoy her and get back on the horse come spring. Hopefully one year from now I'll be blogging how we went to the UT test and kicked its ass and took its name. As an aside, Cleo smelled so awful on the 3 hour ride home is was borderline unbearable. She smelled like the swamp thing. And even after a solid bath she still seems a tad bit stinky. Gross. But such is life with a hunting dog. So stayed tuned for hunting adventures and the silly sassy things she always does. Also if you get the chance check Cleo out on facebook. Her page is titled: Adventures of a German Shorthaired Pointer. On facebook we post extra pics and updates that don't always make the blog.