By Mitch Carlson, Test Chair / Debbie Letcher, Test Secretary   Photos contributed by Joe Wessels

Three of our MN NAVHDA Chapter tests have been expanded to meet the demand of our growing membership which now stands at over 225 members.  The June Full Test, June 1-3, 2018, test an additional test day on Friday.  Thanks to the many members that stepped forward to volunteer, many of whom took off work on Friday,  we were well staffed to handle all three days.

Following many warm days, the weather broke a little on Friday and was ideal with cloud cover in the morning for the field work and sun in the afternoon for the water and tracking tests.  Six Natural Ability dogs and two Utility dogs were tested.

Thanks to our Director of Judges, Pete Aplikowski, we had NAVHDA Judges from both coasts led by Senior Judge Julie Tower, Nova Scotia, Canada and Bill Cosdon, Boise, Idaho along with veteran MN judge Frank Spaeth on Friday. The Saturday and Sunday judging team was again Julie Tower, Senior Judge, Bill Cosdon and longtime MN judge, Terry Petro.  Our MN Chapter has three Apprentice Judges in training.  Pete Aplikowski and Michael Bredahl attended the test as Apprentice Judges and did a great job.

Saturday was overcast and cloudy most of the morning for the field work, with the last few dogs running in a downpour.  The afternoon saw showers, a couple times quite heavy, for the water work and tracks. The NA dogs and handlers did well in the changing weather through the day.

Sunday was quite cool and windy, with up to 35 mile per hour gusts.  Scenting conditions were excellent and we saw some excellent dog work in the UPT, UT and NA tests. Matt Johnson’s Pudelpointer “Hazel” was the only NA dog running, and it was exciting to watch her expand her search to right and left, then use the wind to work her way back to the birds in the field. All dogs scored well in the tests.

The dog work and the handlers were quite impressive over the three days in the field. The success of those in our MN NAVHDA training nights really stood out in the tests.  Congratulations to all who participated, and thanks to the large number of volunteers and all who helped these dogs and handlers prepare for these tests.

(Note:  Volunteers are still needed for our remaining three tests!  If you have trained with us, but have not volunteered to work at a test, now is the time to go on line and let the test chair know that you want to help!)