(Open to Chapter Members ONLY with recognized NAVHDA breeds)

This will be a small (4-6 handlers & dogs) group that will be led by NAVHDA Judge Pete Aplikowski.  Training will start in January, and will end the weekend of June 4th -5th when participants will run their dogs in the Minnesota Chapter Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) at Kelley Farms in Hugo, MN.

Ideal candidates for this group are first-time Utility Level Handlers with dogs past their Natural Ability (NA) Test with a good full hunting season of many wild bird contacts, or dogs that maybe missed their NA test and have had some good hunting experience.

Group will meet periodically, starting in January at Pete’s house/garage in Ham Lake, MN, then transition to Kelley Farms in Hugo in the spring.  The winter sessions will focus on foundational obedience (Heeling, WHOA, Retrieving)  that will be necessary before moving to the fields and ponds.  Group members will learn about NAVHDA principles and the UPT test segments and expectations for the different prize levels and how these translate into measuring a hunting dog’s utility in the “real world”.  Training drills and demonstrations will be part of the sessions but participants MUST be committed to working with their dogs on their own in between group sessions.  You WILL be training your own dog.

Participation in this group will give you a better understanding of NAVHDA principles as it relates to the handler/dog “hunting team” concept and help develop your dog into a more reliable hunting companion in the production and recovery of game on land and water.

Core areas focused on will be:

  • Water Search (Search for Duck)
  • Steady to Flush & Wing
  • Reliable Recovery of Game (Retrieving) on Land & Water


  • $40.00 for the MN NAVHDA Versatile Dog 201 Class (see link below).
  • MN NAVHDA UPT test fee (appx $200.00 when test entries open in January).
  • Kelley Farms pass $375.00 (purchased direct from Kelley Farms in April).
  • Birds.  This will vary, but expect to spend another $300-$400 on Ducks, Pigeons & Chukar by June .  We  will start with frozen birds at the winter sessions for retrieve training.  The bulk of this cost will come in the spring.
  • Proper leashes and collars as needed if you do not have them.
  • Building a Training Table if you do not have one.
  • Bumpers and Retrieve training objects if you do not have them.


  • Commitment to the full program January through June.
  • Must sign up for the MN NAVHDA Versatile Dog 201 Winter Class
  • Must sign up for the June 4-5 test as soon as entries are open.
  • Must have a training table at home or be committed to building one.  Guidance will be offered.

Interested?  contact Pete Aplikowski at 651-485-0055 or

Only dedicated/committed handlers will be accepted into the group.