Please follow this link for full details and application information on this opportunity for youth and new/novice dog owners and handlers.
Please follow this link for full details and application information on this opportunity for youth and new/novice dog owners and handlers.
” I don’t want to get all wrapped up in this testing stuff, I just want a hunting dog!” This is a statement you will hear from a lot of people new to NAVHDA with their first versatile dog.
Many people’s first exposure to NAVHDA is by their breeder, who may suggest that new puppy owners join NAVHDA in hopes they will get their puppies evaluated in a Natural Ability (NA) test as a measure of their breeding program. That, and they know that NAVHDA chapters are a good way for them to meet other people familiar with the versatile breeds and get them on the right track.
As a large chapter, we get a lot of new members who join for a year, participate enough to get their pup through the NA test, and then they go on their merry way and we never see them again. There is also another group of people who get involved with the chapter’s exposure & training days, get through their NA test, and then say “now what?”
After the NA test, the next test in the NAVHDA system is the Utility Preparatory Test (UPT). The NAVHDA AIMS book describes this test as follows: “It is a test midway between the Natural Ability Test and the Utility Test. The dog’s level of obedience and training should demonstrate that it is on its way to becoming a Utility dog.”
NAVHDA NA, UPT & UT tests have “prize levels” of Prize 1, 2 & 3. “Prizing” is also referred to as “passing”. While having a truly “finished” Prize 1 Utility dog is the desired goal for a lot of experienced NAVHDA handlers, it is not practical for the majority of people, especially those who “just want a hunting dog.” So, let’s focus on that term of “passing” and how it relates to the UPT test.
To “Pass” a test, a dog must achieve a minimum of a prize 3 performance. The full context of what a “passing” score would be can be found in the AIMS TEST RULES. We cannot get down in the weeds on all of that in this short article, but let’s look at an idea of what that might look like for the UPT test.
While I am a NAVHDA judge, I want to make the disclaimer that at a NAVHDA test, there are 3 judges, and every dog’s score is a consensus score of what each judge saw and observed. If you look at the Prize 3 requirements for the UPT test, for a dog to “pass”, this is my own synopsis of what I would be looking for, in general, for a dog to obtain a passing score.
Doesn’t that sound like a “passable” HUNTING DOG?
For many people in NAVHDA, “passing” a dog at the UPT test level would not only be a good goal to strive for, but for many people, will be as far as they would ever need to go to have the hunting companion they are looking for.
For a full understanding of the NAVHDA NA UPT & UT tests and scorecard system, handlers should consider attending an official NAVHDA AIMS & RULES Clinic. the Minnesota Chapter is holding one on June 12th & 13th this year at Pine Ridge Grouse Camp in Remer, MN. Click here for full details.
Hello Minnesota NAVHDA Chapter Members,
Your Board of Directors has been busy the last couple months organizing our 2021 calendar. We are the largest and most active chapter in the NAVHDA system, and we have a lot planned for the coming year. All of our testing & training events are now open for registration. You can always find all of the info on the Master Calendar.
Here are a few special things to be aware of: Click on the highlighted links for full details and registration/payment info.
I look forward to seeing everyone at some of these events this year, or speaking to you on our Virtual meetings this winter.
Hello Minnesota Chapter Members,
It is Chapter membership renewal time. Please note that there are TWO levels of membership in NAVHDA. NAVHDA International, and local Chapters.
Registration for certain 2021 Training & Testing Events will be open after January 1st, and chapter members get notified of these first, so it is important to keep up your NAVHDA International membership as well as your Minnesota Chapter membership. Check your NAVHDA International membership here
Chapter Membership Renewals are now open, and there is a $10 Discount for renewals by 12/31. You MUST be a chapter member to train with Minnesota NAVHDA. You can sign up or Renew Here.
As we get closer to the New Year, we are starting to get some clarity on more of our 2021 Event dates. Unfortunately, with the Governor’s current CV-19 epidemic Executive Orders, it appears we are NOT going to be able to have our traditional winter indoor obedience classes. We are studying some virtual options (ZOOM, etc..)
Due to COVID-19, we will also NOT be having our traditional Annual Meeting & Fable Fest this winter. To fulfill the requirements of our bylaws, we ARE planning on having a “Virtual” Business Meeting on Tuesday Feb 2nd at 7:00pm. Chapter members will be notified by email of how to attend.
For a 2021 fundraiser, we will be doing a raffle for TWO Garmin Alpha 200i bundles. Limit of 250 tickets @ $20 each. Details will be announced in January
Our 2021 Testing Dates & Locations will be:
(not open for entries until January)
Some of our planned 2021 Training Events will be:
We will be adding more events to our calendar in the coming months.
Please also remember to check out our Chapter SPONSORS.
We also want to give a special mention and Thank You to members Jeff & Tasha Pleskac and Brad Storch for helping with our trailer storage needs over the winter.
Please share you hunting stories & photos on Our Facebook page.
If you want to make an additional contribution to the Chapter, please consider giving to our Grounds Improvement Fund.
Hello Minnesota NAVHDA members! We hope all of your hunting seasons are in full swing and you and your dogs are getting out there and tearing it up!
We apologize for the lack of much communication from the chapter over the last couple months. Once we got past the CV-19 restrictions limiting our training & testing, it was a whirlwind of a season that went by rapidly and then it was time to go hunting.
Despite all the delays and uncertainty, we still had quite a successful year, running 14 of our originally planned 16 testing days with 118 dogs testing with our chapter. (92 NA, 1 UPT, 25 UT). We also tried to implement some more focused small group training this year, and that paid off, with the percentage of NA dogs achieving Prize 1 scores increasing from 36% to 51% from 2019 to 2020. At the Utility level, we saw success also with 76% of the UT dogs tested at our chapter passing (prizing) with 7 Prize 1’s. Some of our members tested with OTHER chapters, so this is not a complete picture. I do know of at least 12 chapter members achieving a Prize 1 Utility Score in 2020 and qualifying for the Invitational. That is impressive! Because of this, we are going to try to organize some Invitational Training groups and bring in a qualified Senior Judge from NAVHDA to hold an Invitational Handler Clinic in 2021.
Even though we are in the middle of hunting season, your Board of Directors is hard at work making plans for 2021. We hope to repeat a lot of what we did in 2020 and continue to add some new elements for our membership. Our chapter has grown significantly in the last several years, and demand for testing space is high. To meet this, over the last several years we have expanded many of our test weekends to span 3 days. We have determined this is tough on volunteers and judges, so for 2021, we are going to move back to all 2 day tests, but ADD 2 weekends to maintain our capacity at a total of 16 testing days.
We also plan to hold more events at Four Brooks. Last summer work was done to the SE pond to make it suitable for a UT Test Marked Retrieve sequence. As you are reading this, there is additional work going on there to add a north-south road from the parking lot to the middle tower road, and add some culverts and flatten approaches to the field access points. This was a significant investment for the chapter of around $12,000, and we are starting a fundraiser to help offset some of these costs and replenish our operating account. You can help by donating to our Grounds Fund here.
To see a rough idea of what we have on tap for 2021, follow these links:
We are by far the largest chapter in all of NAVHDA (over 275 members currently), and we hold more testing days and organized training than any other chapter as well. We do our best to give our members good value for their membership with access to grounds, birds and a variety of training & testing options. Registration for certain 2021 Training Events will be open soon, and only chapter members get notified of these, so it is important to keep up your NAVHDA International membership as well as your Minnesota Chapter membership.
***Chapter memberships are now open for renewal for 2021, and you can get a discount by renewing prior to 12/31. You can follow this link to Renew your MN Navhda membership.
Good luck to everyone with the rest of their hunting season! (Me and my boys are headed for Iowa on Friday.)
With the ongoing COVID-19 Situation and the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, we decided as a chapter that we could not hold any organized training, although some chapter members were getting together in small private groups on their own, which we supported by taking some limited bird deliveries and helping coordinate the acquisition of grounds passes at Four Brooks and Kelley Farms.
At our Chapter Board meeting this week, it was decided that with Governor Walz’s relaxing of the Stay Home Order, we can begin some organized events and small group training, in groups up to 10 people, using common sense social distancing guidelines. We did previously conduct an online training survey to try to help sort people into groups, and we thank all of you who completed that. With the training season and testing season delayed, we know many people may have changed their plans and goals, so we are pretty much tossing that data out, and are starting over.
To get things rolling and to help members formulate a plan for their training this summer, we are going to hold 2 full weekend “OPEN” Training Events at Kelley Farms on June 6th & 7th, and June 20th & 21st. These will be open to all chapter members, and you will NOT need the annual $375 Kelley Farms pass. The Saturday sessions will focus on NATURAL ABILITY EXPOSURE, and the Sunday sessions will focus on UTILITY PREPARATORY & UTILITY TRAINING. In addition to exposure and training techniques, there will be discussion about testing standards, NAVHDA AIMS rules & principles and scorecards. Pre-registration for these sessions is required and space may be limited. Cost will be $30 per session. Birds are extra. If these events get crowded, main group preference may be given for those chapter members who are TESTING in 2020. There will be more availability and flexibility for those members who just want to buy birds and train on their own or form their own small groups, and we highly encourage that. Cost will be $30 per day, and pre-registration is required so we can get an idea on attendance. (For members who already have a Kelley Farms annual pass, there will be no daily fee.)
More details and online registration for these Events here:
In addition to these events, we do want to start the formation of small weekly training groups, we will be sorting people into groups based on age of dogs and your training and testing goals. We are also looking for several more people to LEAD some training groups. If you are willing to help lead or co-lead a group, please let us know.
KELLEY FARMS (HUGO) WEEKLY TRAINING GROUPS
To get in a weekly group for young dogs of Natural Ability age (roughly 16 months and under) , please send an email to our Director of Training Mitch Carlson at Mitch.Carlson@mnnavhda.org Please include your full name, mobile phone number, and age and breed of your dog.
To get in a weekly training group for UPT or UT advanced training, please send an email to Pete.Aplikowski@mnnavhda.org. Please include your full name, mobile phone number, and age and breed of your dog, and if you are entered in a NAVHDA test in 2020.
FOUR BROOKS (MILACA) WEEKLY TRAINING GROUPS
To get in a weekly training group, please send an email to Jeff Pleskac at MN.email@example.com. Please include your full name, mobile phone number, and age and breed of your dog. To obtain a Four Brooks annual pass, send a check for $25 made out to MFFTC and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Thanks everyone for your patience during these unprecedented times. We look forward to seeing you and your dogs and getting our training and testing season underway!
Pete Aplikowski-MN NAVHDA President.
The Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA was founded in the early 1970’s, shortly after NAVHDA International was formed and around the same time as the “Green Book.”
Over the course of the almost 50 years that have passed since then, many things have changed in the versatile dog world. Training methods and technology have improved and evolved. Most importantly, the DOGS have improved! The NAVHDA testing system and registry has allowed breeders and dog owners to have a consistent and systematic way of tracking performance and using that information in reproductive decision making.
Some things that have NOT changed are basic dog behavior-what we understand about how dogs learn, and a few CORE NAVHDA principles that have been around since the very beginning of NAVHDA.
The Chapter Mission Statement is: “The Minnesota Chapter of NAVHDA is a family focused organization dedicated to promoting NAVHDA principles and assisting members to train and test their dogs in accordance with the NAVHDA AIMS Programs Test Rules. In doing so, we believe members can develop their versatile dogs into the hunting partners they will enjoy for years to come.”
Our new Director of Training, Mitch Carlson and I had a plan to expose our members to some new ways of thinking and training this season and reinforcing how handlers can use the AIMS Guidelines and principles to shape their training program and timeline for their dogs. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the start of our training season and we have had to cancel many of our Introductory Training nights and 2 very important clinics-The NAVHDA Handler Clinic (AIMS/Rules Clinic), and the Steadiness Clinic with a pro-trainer that was going to illustrate alternatives to the use of check-cords and use more modern methods when training a dog to be steady to flush, wing, shot and fall.
Given we cannot present some of these ideas in person, I have taken some time to put together some training videos and created a Chapter Youtube Training Channel to share some concepts, and hope that this article will help handlers clarify some understanding of some key NAVHDA principles.
There are two very important NAVHDA principles an owner/handler needs to understand when helping their dog develop, and applying these to a training program and timeline.
Keep this in mind when you are exposing a dog to birds and helping it develop it’s “point”. If you have a dog that is riding right in on a planted bird without any discernible natural pause or point, you need to STOP and seek out experienced help. (see more below about the use of pigeons & launchers) This is a delicate situation. Check cording, using e-stimulation or WHOA-ing the dog into birds, before it establishes a natural point (like even a brief point) can have lasting long term effects. Note on the scorecard area below that Obedience is not and CANNOT be scored on a dog’s Point. Think about that.
2. From the AIMS Book: Judgement of Pointing begins when a convincing point is established and ends when the dog is aware of the handler’s presence. Points must be intense and productive. Pointing ends when the dog is “aware of the handler”. “Steady to Flush” is the start of the steadiness sequence. If you look at a UPT or UT scorecard, you will notice that there are 2 attributes being judged equally here-Cooperation AND Obedience. This is because this is a transitional phase where it takes a dog’s natural cooperation while it is on point to allow the handler to move in front to flush the bird. AFTER this phase, you will notice on the scorecard that Steadiness is ALL Obedience training. Before you start training steadiness, you need to truly comprehend this concept and be able to identify when your dog is on point, and when to time any commands you give him to allow you to move in front to begin the flush. Ideally, a dog that allows you to move in front without any commands at all (natural or learned cooperation) will be much easier to get steady all the way through wing-shot-fall, because now you are physically adjacent to or in front of the dog and can influence the dog much more effectively with commands. Having a dog that is properly WHOA trained can be pivotal here as well. Here is a secret from the Judge’s Handbook: “A quiet caution, e.g. ‘whoa’ may be given without lowering the score if, in the opinion of the judges, the caution was just that; a caution, not a command.” This further pounds home the concept that the Steady to Flush stage is a transition combining cooperation and obedience.
How does a dog “learn” to be cooperative enough to allow the handler to move in front? The dog needs to understand that they are in this “together” with you, the handler, and that success in harvesting game is a team effort. Ideally, you would give the dog LOTS of exposure to wild birds that will flush with too much pressure, and you would NEVER shoot a bird that was at least not briefly pointed long enough for the dog to be “aware” of your presence. For those who cannot give the dog that much wild bird exposure, this can be simulated with the use of pigeons and launchers, but it is a very technical exercise and great care must be taken. Knowing how to read the dog and the timing of the release of the launcher is VERY critical. This method can also be used to assist dogs in bringing out and enhancing their natural “point” if they are riding in on planted birds at initial bird exposure. Novice handlers should seek out help with these methods. Better yet-hunt your dog on LOTS of wild birds BEFORE you begin your steadiness training.
A dog’s pointing intensity will also be maintained by reducing the amount of pressure you put on it during the Pointing/Steady to Flush Transition. Note on the scorecard that there cannot be any Obedience judged during Pointing, that it is primarily Desire & Cooperation. Understanding how to read your dog, knowing exactly when it has established a point, and when it is “aware” of your presence are key factors in formulating your steadiness training program.
Pete Aplikowski- NAVHDA Judge
While we have not started chapter organized group training due to the stay at home order, some members are getting together on their own in small groups, so we have started to take some birds to the pens at Kelley Farms.
This Wednesday April 22nd we will be selling birds from 5-7 pm at Kelley to chapter members. Full info is here:
For those interested in obtaining a 2020 Kelley Farms pass, Steve Grogan will be available. Those are $375.00, payable by check to Kelley Land & Castle Company
We are continuing to monitor Governor Walz’s slowly relaxing stay at home order and hope that if things keep trending in the right direction, that we can organize more training groups soon.
With the delay in all NAVHDA testing this year, for those of you running a dog in an NA test, there is really no hurry. For those of you training for UPT or UT this year, you should STRONGLY consider coming to buy some of these birds to solidify your retrieving work before hitting the field or water. Your retrieving is never as good as you think it is, especially on fresh or live birds. this would be money well spent doing some hold & carry work with birds at home.
Hello, Minnesota Chapter Members,
We hope you are all staying safe and taking this time to spend with your 2 legged and 4 legged family members. Your Chapter Board had an emergency teleconference last night and we want to share the following with you:
NAVHDA International has cancelled all their sponsored events through June 30th, which includes our two May tests, and our May Aims & Rules (Handler) Clinic. Full announcement is here. Natural Ability dogs who were entered into tests will receive a waiver on the 16 month age requirement if they need it and wish to enter another test later in 2020. Our August test is full, and we have closed entries to our remaining September tests, and are looking to possibly reschedule a test for sometime in July to accommodate those affected by the May cancellations. We will be reaching out to all of those Handlers in the next week or so with details on all remaining 2020 testing plans and the refund process for those who no longer want to test.
The May 2nd & 3rd Aims & Rules (Handler) Clinic will NOT be rescheduled. The MOCK NA Test scheduled for May 2nd is also Cancelled. Those entered in these events will be notified individually by email and refunds will be issued.
Due to the “Minnesota Stay At Home” order being extended to May 4th, and common sense social distancing practices, we are also cancelling the Steadiness Clinic on April 25th & 26th. Those entered in that event will be notified individually by email and refunds will be issued. For the same reasons, at this time we cannot organize any official chapter group training. We do want to remind everyone that to be on the grounds at Kelley Farms & Four Brooks, you must have a pass. For those of you that want access to grounds, you can obtain passes by contacting:
Please be respectful of the grounds and do not tear them up. Close gates!
We are trying to figure out a plan to make birds available to members, but as of right now, nothing is concrete on that.
Your Minnesota Chapter NAVHDA Board of Directors
Hello Chapter Members,
In response to the concern over current events, we have cancelled our next group training event on March 29th at Four Brooks. We are monitoring the current situation and taking a wait and see attitude with respect to any of our Events after April 1st.
Assuming that our 2 tests in May can still be held, our Board of Directors has decided that we will not be providing lunches at these events. All Handlers, participants and Volunteers will be notified individually by email as more information is known. You can also periodically check this website’s pages for any new information.
We had over 90 responses to our training survey, and it is now closed. Thanks to all those that responded! We will be reaching out to all respondents to try to form smaller, more focused focused training groups than we have in years past. Small groups may be the ONLY way we can hold any training this spring. We will see. If you are a chapter member and are interested in training with us this year and did not fill out the survey, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, please reference this Training Resources Page for information about NAVHDA related training principles and content.
Thanks everyone. Hang in there!