April Training Day

By Craig McLaughlin
April’s Training Day is just around the corner, and we are planning another full day of training drills that will help members raise the level of their dog’s performance in the field.Once again, the Natural Ability level dogs will be addressed as a group; this pack will run through basic obedience drills to help enforce their attentiveness in the field, including recall, exposure to birds in the field, and tracking.  The warming weather should allow us to work on introduction to the water as well, and with any luck we may have most of these young athletes swimming by day’s end.

Utility- and Utility-Prep level dogs and their owners have the steepest hill to climb to be successful by summer’s end – these dogs are working on obedience, and control as their owners work to channel and shape their natural instincts into usable behaviors that will ultimately mold them into usable hunting companions.  Obedience in retrieving, steadiness in the field, and a self-confident duck search are all extremely important aspects of a Utility Dog’s training. We will focus on each of these in April, starting off the day with an interactive session on force fetch.Since the March training day, we have received many of comments from our members that are training UT-level dogs – they are interested in the “how-to” details of force fetching.  Force fetching is the ultimate drill in obedience for you and your dog, and while it is not a pleasant routine to travel through (taking weeks to complete), the process of force fetching yields a more obedient and cooperative hunting partner.  However, force fetching takes determination, requires good timing, and definitely takes patience to complete.

Force-fetching is best done as the primary/only retrieving  regimen; your dog will be easily confused by playing fetch, searching for ducks, or practicing duck drags during the weeks that you are working on force fetch – so it is best to take a break from all retrieving activities until after the force fetch period is complete.Steadiness in the field is a challenge for many versatile dogs, and we will run drills that allow members to build steadiness using a variety of methods and equipment, including the training table, release traps, check cords, and tethered birds.For dogs that are not entrenched in force fetch, we will conduct some drills that build young dogs’ desire and confidence in searching for ducks, using live ducks, small water bodies, initially exposing the dogs to ducks, and gradually building their skills by introducing them to larger areas and thicker vegetation.

Members who are taking their UT/UTP dogs through force fetch can find additional options to work their dogs during the day, including drills in heeling, and steadiness by the blind – neither will interrupt the flow of force-fetch or create training issues if practiced by a dog which is in the process of being force fetched.

We look forward to another strong turnout in April, and recommend that you RSVP and place an order for birds early, to ensure that we have a ready supply on hand to support the day’s activities.

2015 Fun hunt

Save the date!

Join us on April 18, when we head to Colorado Clays in Brighton for a fun afternoon of wing shooting. If you’ve never been to Colorado Clays, you owe it to yourself to come test your skills on their gorgeous course, which is located in a mature cottonwood grove along a prairie creek. Crossing shots, tower shots, shots from a platform – and those dastardly rabbits!

Take the Bromley Lane exit from I-76 and go 6 miles east to Lanewood Street.
Brats, Burgers and prizes after the shoot!
Win Cabela’s gift cards and Rounds of clays!

Where: Colorado Clays (13600 Lanewood St, Brighton Colorado 80603)
When: Saturday April 18th at 1:30pm to 5:00pm
Cost: $60.00 per shooter

For more information please check out the Clinics/Seminars/Fun Hunts page.

It takes a chapter….

Rocco retrieve

Running in the NAVHDA Invitational is guaranteed to be a nerve-wracking experience. But when you’ve got the first dog running the first field on the first day and he starts finding wild birds – the blood pressure is bound to rise.

Fortunately, Rocco handled these surprises with aplomb, no doubt because of the hours of training and mentoring we enjoyed as members of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of NAVHDA.

Can a first-time gun-dog owner train a pup all the way to  VC? With a little help from his friends – you bet!

Our chapter is extremely fortunate to have a number of experienced handlers – breeders, judges, trainers and long-time hunters – who can help you and your dog achieve your goals, whatever they are. Maybe you’re hell-bent for the Invitational. Maybe you just want to see your dog learn to fulfill his or her potential.

For me, the first-timer, this meant uncountable hours saved because of mistakes I didn’t make, clues I didn’t miss, and frustration that never took hold because so many chapter members were ready to help.

To Chapter VP Dave Shickle, former President Cheryl Aguiar, Director of Judging Brian Thoman – and most of all Training Director Craig Mclaughlin of Scarecrow Kennels- THANK YOU! Here’s another RMC VC because you cared enough to help.

Rocco point

2015 RMC Raffle

NAVHDA Raffle 2015

Is your trusty shotgun getting a little long in the tooth?
Maybe sometimes it goes “click” when you want it to go “BOOM”?
Here’s a chance to win a beautiful new CZ-USA Redhead Deluxe O/U in the 2015 RMC Chapter Raffle!
Tickets are $20.00 ea. You can buy them at our spring training days or our Spring Test.
• NAVHDA members only until April 13th
• Non-member sales after April 13th
• Winner will be drawn at the Spring Test on May 17.
Don’t delay!

Contact: Director of Promotions and Fundraising

April Training Day


April 4, 2015 – 8:00 AM

Cobb Lake State Wildlife Area

Wellington, Colorado

Agenda:  By April, the water is usually warm enough to start introducing new pups to this new environment, so be prepared to get wet with your dog, and to have fun! We will still be working the fields, but if you’re running your pup in Natural Ability in May, you definitely want to get your pup’s feet wet.

Natural Ability Dogs: We will provide a range of options for owners of young puppies, from drills that help you begin to introduce a young pup to the water environment. Dogs that are older and bolder will have an opportunity to engage in fun duck chases and play retrieving drills, and an introduction to decoys and blinds.  Our goal will be to start you and your dog down the path of solidifying a love of the water, marsh, and all that goes with getting a youngster prepared to enjoy its first season of waterfowling.

Utility Preparatory, and Utility Dogs: Older dogs and their owners will begin practicing more advanced water work.  We will introduce heeling, remaining by the blind, steady by the blind and water retrieve drills.  The group will begin with introductory duck searches, and then proceed through drills that help build desire and promote the confidence needed to initiate a mature, thorough search of a marsh. Along the way we will discuss the advantages of training for a reliable retrieve on land and water, ensuring steadiness under the distraction of gunfire, and reliable recall.

Invitational Level Dogs: Trainers with dogs that have mastered Utility preparations, and are looking for additional challenges, as well as those that are preparing for the Invitational Test, will be able to work on drills to build reliable blind retrieves, and on multiple marked water retrieves.

Preparing for the Day: April weather can run the gamut from warm and dry to blustery and wet. Be prepared with rain gear, sun guard, bug spray. A source of shade ( or cover!)  and your dog  will help make the day comfortable. Don’t forget folding chairs, snacks and bring plenty of water for both of you!

As with all of our training days, we will need a good count of attendees and their expected bird needs. Please RSVP and let us know how many birds (ducks, chukar or pheasant) you will need two weeks prior to the training day.
Training days are:

  • Saturday March 14
  • Saturday April 4
  • Saturday May 2
  • Saturday June 6
  • Saturday August 1

Email contact: craig.mclaughlin5@gmail.com