After a dog has run in their Natural Ability test and ideally had a hunting season on wild birds, it may be time to take it to the next level, and work towards towards being a “finished” gun dog.
According to the NAVHDA AIMS book: “The Utility Preparatory Test (UPT) is designed to evaluate a dog midway in its training towards becoming a reliable versatile gun dog. The Utility Test (UT) is designed for more experienced dogs in an advanced state of training. It evaluates their ability to perform as reliable versatile gun dogs and demonstrate their physical and mental capability to take training.”
The UPT & UT test standards expand in scope to evaluate a dog’s Obedience, Steadiness and Retrieving on land & water, in addition to the other core NAVHDA areas of Search, Nose, Pointing, Desire and Cooperation that are evaluated at the Natural Ability level of testing. While every dog is different, there are some basic concepts that have evolved in NAVHDA over the years that will help handlers in their pursuit of a finished UT dog. Keep scrolling down for more info.
UTILITY, RETRIEVING & ADVANCED OBEDIENCE
Tips & Tales-On Training your Bird Dog by George DeCosta Jr.-If you want to buy ONE book on versatile dog training, this is a great one. Buy here on Amazon.
- What is Force Fetch and Why Do It? Gun Dog It Yourself episode 128 with NAVHDA Judge Josh Flowers. This is Part 1 of a SEVEN part series on Retrieve Training/Force Fetch Training and is the most comprehensive collection of information you will find on this topic. Find the links to all parts after this episode.
- Project Upland Podcast Episode #151 with Justin McGrail-Great discussion on young dogs, their first hunting season, and the importance of wild birds in your dog’s development instead of pen raised birds, and MORE! Justin is always a great listen.
- The Practicality of the Utility Preparatory Test in evaluating a Hunting Dog with Pete Aplikowski. Gun Dog It Yourself episode 91 May 18th, 2021
- Backing & Honoring with Darryl Pernat: Gun Dog It Yourself episode 90 May 3rd, 2021
- The Dog “NOSE” Best. How a dog’s nose works. Gun Dog it Yourself episode 85 March 15th, 2021.
- **MUST LISTEN**Pointing. Steadiness and WHOA Training- Hunting Dog Podcast with Justin McGrail August 12, 2020
- Gun Dog It Yourself Podcast Episode 61-Steady to Flush Concepts with Pete Aplikowski
- The Hunting Dog Podcast episode July 23rd, 2019-Utility Test with Senior Judge Blaine Carter
- The Hunting Dog Podcast episode October 14th, 2019-Utility Test 101 with Senior Judge Al Harmeyer
- Gun Dog it Yourself Podcast episode 16 Holding Steady Part 1
- Gun Dog it Yourself Podcast episode 17 Holding Steady Part 2
- Gun Dog it Yourself Podcast Episode 36 Force Fetch Part 1
- Gun Dog It Yourself Podcast Episode 37 Force Fetch Part 2
- Lone Duck’s Gun Dog Podcast-episode 43-Retriever Training-How to teach Force Fetch Part 1
- Lone Duck’s Gun Dog Podcast-episode 44-Retriever Training-How to teach Force Fetch Part 2
- Scott Linden’s Upland Nation Podcast-episode Jan 9th, 2020 Force fetch-Yes, No Maybe?
- Training Etiquette-Gun Dog It Yourself Podcast Episode 31
NAVHDA’s Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine Articles
Reprinted with permission from NAVHDA International. Articles may not be reprinted or transmitted in any way without the express written permission of NAVHDA International.
- “Third Dog’s a Charm” Part 1 & 2-Training Path Concepts from Puppy to UT Prize 1-by Jason Rice-Volume LIV No. 10&11 Oct-Nov 2023
- The Utility Prep Test-a good measure of a serviceable hunting dog-by Pete Aplikowski Volume LIV no. 1 January 2023
- Tightening Up The Retrieve-by Bob Fee-Volume LI No. 3 March 2020
- What’s In A Dog Trainer’s Voice?-by Bob Farris-Volume LI No. 1 Jan 2020
- RoboDog-Overpressured & Ovetrained Dogs-by Rick Smith & Sharon Potter-Volume L No. 10 Oct 2019
- Utility Training Introduction & the Importance of Retrieve Training-by Mark Whalen-Volume XLIX NO. 6 June 2018
- Correcting Hard Mouth Issues-by Mark Whalen-Volume L No. 3 March 2019
- The UPT Test-the Practicality of Steadiness & Retrieve Training-by Pete Aplikowski-Volume XLVIII No. 2 Feb 2018
- Utility Blind Sequence Training & Testing Tips-by Tim Otto-Volume XLVIII No. 7 July 2018
Other tips and articles:
“Testing?- No Thanks, I just want a Hunting Dog”-by NAVHDA Judge Pete Aplikowski
Introducing Dog’s to E-Collars-Project Upland article by NAVHDA Judge Jason Carter
GO! before WHOA!-thoughts on training steps for the NAVHDA UPT & UT tests (by NAVHDA Judge Pete Aplikowski)
Fixing Flagging In A Bird Dog-Project Upland article by NAVHDA Judge Jason Carter March 11, 2020
Force Breaking Made Simple-Scott Kossan
Retrieve/Force Fetch Training Videos by George DeCosta