So, you ran your dog in a test.  Maybe your scores were fabulous, maybe some were less than you expected, and maybe some were better than you expected.  How did the judges come up with that score anyway?  What does it mean when you hear the judges’ pens clicking behind you, while your dog works?

On June 17 and 18, Minnesota NAVHDA hosted a Handler’s Clinic for fifteen members at Kelly Farms in Hugo, MN.   Todd Rockhold coordinated the event, with NAVHDA Invitational Director Tracey Nelson coming to town to conduct the two-day clinic, assisted by NAVHDA Past President Marilyn Vetter on Saturday.

Although it’s called a “Handler’s Clinic”, it could just as easily be called a “Judging Clinic”, as the clinic is a hands-on approach to learning the NAVHDA system.   Participants are given judges’ scorecards for the NA, UPT, and UT tests, and following a couple hours of “classroom” work, are sent into the field as judging teams, where two NA dogs, one UPT dog and one UT dog are run and scored.  Each team is required to determine a consensus score for each dog, and following the dog’s tests, each team will read their scores to the others.

Desire.  Cooperation.  Obedience.  “Our team scored him a 3”.  “Our team gave him a 4”.  Why?  How?  What did you see that we didn’t see?  Was that a Cooperation issue?  Or was it Obedience?  Was the dog steady to wing or steady to shot?  The teams will hash it out, try to convince the others of why they believe they’re correct, and ultimately come up with consensus team scores for each dog run.

Thanks to Bridget Welter, Bob Karrick, Ron Brokhausen and Ted Wentink for putting their dogs out there for the members to score.  Also thanks to Howie Hill, Doug Lodermeier, Joe Wessels, Mark Jacobs, Ed Challacombe and Wolfie Smith for doing the things it takes to make it all happen.

Plus, the Aplikowskis made it a family affair, with Pete and son Ethan participating (Ethan was recipient of the Kristen Rieser Scholarship).  Most importantly, Kathleen kept us all fed and happy both days.