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Anna's pups and field test for natural abillity.

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  • Anna's pups and field test for natural abillity.

    As a member of NorthAmerican VersatileHuntingDogAssoc(NAVHDA) I went to a natural abillity test Sunday. I have 2 pups entered in a June 1st test and wanted to know what to expect. Met many nice people and their dogs. It was quite a mix of both. I did walk with 2 handlers and their dogs to closely observe the field portion.
    Dogs go 1 at a time and hunt for 20 minutes. Both handlers are pro dog trainers so they are comfortable with looky lews and open to questions.
    First handlers dog was 9 months old and rather wild. We hadnt walked very far and handler says her husband forgot her whistle so dog may be wild. Dog ran large circles in front and behind us. Behind is not good.Handler was yelling quite a bit. Dog found birds but didnt cooperate well with trainer.
    Second pro's dog was 5 months old. Dog hunted close but not underfoot. Pointed birds and could be recalked after flushing the bird. Was a nice run. After we got back to board the pup I asked pro what he thought? He replied that was perfect. I thought it was a damn good run.
    In the field dogs are judged on how well they use their nose. Pointing real game not old scent or butterflies. Dogs are also judged on how they work with their handler. They hunt for you not the other way around.
    Next came water work where dogs have to swim 2x to retrieve a dummy. Dogs dont have to retrieve just swim. That is lame. If a bird is required for a swim,only half points can be awarded. After swimming their is a cursory glance at eyes , teeth, coat,general well being. Good dogs allow that
    Last part is tracking where a bird is released and dog is put on track and asked to track the bird. Dog never sees the bird. Dog is awarded for following the track as opposed to "casting" to hunt the bird. All handlers said this is the hardest part as the bird can cause troubles
    At the end of tge day the 3 judges give the totals for each category and are open to questions. First pro's dog got a perfect score. Second pro's dog not so much. I didnt see the tracking and second pro said dog didnt track well so that I could understand. It was the field score that pissed me off. I wanted to tell the judges I saw both dogs and the second should have scored perfect. I have 2 pups to run in 2 weeks so I shut up.
    Yesterday I called the 2nd pro and said hey what the hell. He said he felt tge dog ran great and that was enough for him. This guy is also a judge who will be judging my pups. I told him I heard a judge ask another judge you see the difference between a 5 month old a 6 month old? I asked arent the judges supposed to consider that in scoring? He said yes age and breed affect what to expect when judging. I thanked him for his time and said looking forward to seeing you again.
    After that I called a judge and asked him about his memory of the 2 dogs. He replied that the first dog hunted and found birds. Was steady on point. The judges felt the second dog didnt hunt as hard , had trouble figuring what /where to point and wasnt solid. I asked about the sceaming for come and responding to their handlers? He said yes second was better but both were good. Asked about running young dogs he was all for it but wasnt willing to give pups a break. I then asked is there even any sense in me running 5 month old pups? He replied depends on the pup but it can be a good learning experiance.
    I now see I was just to damn gunho with training and expectations. Pups need time to grow.I will run the pups but expect to rerun them later. I have a third pup I wont run for at least a while. Will post again after the tests.
    Last edited by unoperro; 05-22-2018, 01:26 PM.

  • #2
    So here is follow up to navhda na test.
    Reba wasnt interested in searching or pointing birds. She ussually does well on search,just not that day. I am not happy with trainer as he knew she may not point. He was paid to have her ready he did not. I believe he wasnt interested in the extra effort.
    In visiting prior to test day we had this discussion.

    Delio searched well,had a unplanted bird run upwind of him at the start of his 20 min field work. He saw the bird run and caught it. Soft mouth so returned to me unharmed. He then proceeded to find and catch 4 more birds. Failed to point any. He is good about pointing. I think the extra people in the field and the 1st bird had him off his game.
    10 dogs had their turn he was the only one to find 5 birds.
    Judges were impressed with dogs and just wrote them off to immaturity.
    Good learning experiance , will try again.


    • #3
      So my quest for a weimaraner that could prove they can hunt was realized yesterday. I had previously ran 2 of my pups in the navhda(NorthAmericanVersatileHuntingDogAssoc.)
      Natural abillities tests. They were too immature to recieve awards. My 3rd pup ran a perfect score and wowed the judges while doing so. We run a tracking test where a wingclipped pheasant is placed on the ground and chased off. The dog ,who hasnt seen the bird, is then led to a spot on the trail and sent.
      Willies bird ran out about 25 yards and hung a left headed downwind. This is ideal as you want the dog to track the bird as opposed to airscenting(hunting). Willie tracked straight out to where the bird turned and kept going straight. We all silently watch this exercize. Willie headed upwind and wasnt interested in coming back to the trail. Judges said call your dog back and restart him. I said he is on a trail and asked did you guys work this here yesterday. They said no call your dog back. He was 200 yards away and on a track so I said he wont recall off that track, can I go get him ?
      They said run and get him. I made it about 40 yards he went on point and a pheasant sprung into the air! He chased the bird down and I got it from him I brought the bird back and told the judges he was on point and the bird broke.Judges couldnt see this as he was over a slight rise.

      Judges said fantastic but he just cleared out 1/3 of our birdfield. After the the last part of the test ,water retrieves,the judges check the physical aspects of the dog. The senior judge knowing he had ran a perfect score said that is a fine animal. I joked not sure I will keep him.
      After all is done the judges gather everyone together and read the scores. The senior judge once again told me you have a great dog there you have to keep him.


      • #4
        Well Pheasant season opened on sat. for residents only on public grounds. Residents get 1st chance at the publics places to hunt. Being the Pheassnt capitol of the world means many out of staters come and flock to the public grounds next weekend when the season opens to all. Most crops are still in so it is hard to find birds now. Corn and bean fields provide food and shelter so the birds spend most of their days there.
        I went out late saturday to one of my favorite public land parcel. A mixture of prarie grasses and cattail sloughs.There were 3 vehicles there so I stopped to watch for about 45 minutes. 5 guys and 3 dogs worked out to the 1/2 mile fence where the parcel ends. They then turned and hunted the back fenceline before turning and coming back down the side they hadnt hunted. They did shoot numerous times and I am quite sure they harvested some birds.When I was sure they werent going back to the route they came in on I went in that side.
        Now I know they had just hunted that but, I didnt have time to go elsewhere, and I wanted to asses the ground cover and water levels. We had a week of rain recently and everything is full. Also it doesnt hurt the dogs to learn to disregard the scent of othet people and or dogs. I had a uneventfull hunt 3/4 ths of the way through. The other party was finished and walking down the road to their cars. Out of curiosity they watched me and the 3 dogs. 1 commented " Hell he has a pack of hounds look at them cover all that ground. He aint finding anything so we did ok."
        Right then 2 of the dogs were leaning out circling in the grass trying to pin a bird in the tall grass. The bird,a young rooster, flushed and flew 3' of the ground with those 2 pups right at his tail. All were going uphill and I didnt have a safe shot. As I need Willie to stop chasing birds after they fly I shot in the air and then had to "whoa" them. Delio stopped and watched as Willie continued his wildbird chase. A nick from the training collar, and a "come" command and he returned a excited pup. We finished the field as the sunset.
        Sunday I got out earlier and first hunted a large piece I had never been in. High water, a winding fast running creek and multiple boggy areas only gave me the oppurtunity to fall on my ass and get soaked. Being wet on a 40° day with 20 to 30 mph wind gusts isnt ideal. Years of this had me dressed adequatly so I pressed on. No birds in that piece but the dogs worked nicely and I left with more confidance in their abillities. Later I hunted a piece which had standing corn alongside. Late in the day the birds leave the corn to nest in the taller grasses or cattails. Got a group of 8 or 9 hens up downwind of us. Worked the dogs through the area hoping a Rooster had stayed.put. Dogs were snorting as they gulped up all the scent. Pushwd furthwr and gor a nice point on a young hen. Willie didnt chase far so we kept on. Reba has been good at finding birds but is reluctant to stop and point. 200 yards from the last hen, Reba locked up solid on point and the other 2 backed her like statues. It was a great sight to behold. Now the bird had ran off and flushed before I got there but still I was pumped.
        Later the dogs did point a rooster which I was able to shoot. The bird came down a long ways off and wasnt hit hard. The dogs lost sight of it so I marched them to where it had landed and they searched for it. After a minute 1 was on point with the other hot on his tail. A hen flushed and then the dogs had no interest in searching for the cripple. This is 1 problem of multiple dogs trying to recover down birds. There is to much addrenaline for the dogs to settle in and work it out.
        Not happy about losing that bird but I know these guys can and will do better.


        • #5
          So headed to Brookfield Missouri this weekend to retest Reba and Delio. The 2 pups I ran when they were just too young. Both look good but damn this weather. Blizzard forecast after it was 67 on Sunday. All this after most of our snow is gone.Really hard to train in a blizzard

          Water retrieves with Delio are my biggest concern but he will do them. Tracking should be a no brainer. Today walking in a pasture kicked up a jackrabbit. They wanted to sight chase but I called them back and then released them after the big rabbit was gone. They trailed him for about a 100 yards before I called them back.

          Meeting a fellow 1pkt player from my dfw days. He will help me with a dog during the tests. Hope we can find a table to spar on.

          Area is birth place to Mark Twain(Samuel Clemens) so we might be checking that out.


          • #6
            Well after a 3 day blizzard the interstatate finally reopened and I was able to leave at 2p.m. .
            I 29 is closed around Omaha so the trip to Brookfield was long and winding.

            Got to go out to the testing grounds on sat. and run the dogs and got them to swim and retrieve a couple times each. Swimming was my biggest concern for Delio as he isnt a real fan of water. Important to have them familiar with the place prior to testing.

            Walking the field area where search would take place I thought dang there isnt much cover to hide the birds. Looked great from a distance but short sparse ground cover layed under old dead weed stalks.

            Well on Sunday Delio was the first to go. Field search is where the judges wanted to start. 40° with a steady 15/20 mph wind isnt great but it was better then the rain/snow mix that was the earlier forecast. My worst fear happened, Deluo smelled a bird , turned and headed towards it only to find a bird in plain sight. He ran in and picked up, and that was the case for the next 4 he found. 1 bird was undercover and he briefly pointed that 1. Hell of a meat dog. 5 birds in the bag and no shells wasted.
            I had tried to buy training birds in the weeks prior but inclement weather and seasonal supply prevented purchasing any.( Adult birds are breeding stock at this time.)Delio finished the test with a good tracking portion and the 2 needed swimming water retrieves. Funny when throwing a dummy for those retrieves a guys elbow can stiffen up and you shortarm the toss.

            In the past Reba necer had any interest in pointing any birds other then pheasants and this weekend was more of the same. She is damn good at finsing the birds but refuses to point them. First bird flushed and only flew a 100 yards. Judge was excited and said catch your dog so she doesnt chase. I told her no and she never moved. He then again said catch her. I looked at him and told him we hunt pheasants, hens are not legal. We watch them fly off all the time and the dogs know not to chase birds which are not shot. He looked at me like a had 2 heads. Well that steadiness wasnt enough for her and she failed the test even though like Delio she did well on tracking and water retrieves.

            This all was new to me and I learned a couple things.
            Dont run young dogs that are too immature.

            Make dogs steady to birds period. Throw birds in front of them, run birds under and around them.

            Avoid early spring tests as conditions are not conducive.

            Great hunting dogs dont have to shine in these organized events. Many dogs that do well in these tests can be hunted behind.

            I am not dissatified with my dogs only wish I knew then what I know now.