Updates on a bunch of stuff


Yes, this is Test Director Phil Goodwin’s adorable Pudelpointer pup. Cuteness overload.


RMC Spring Test: Testing director Phil Goodwin reports that the Spring Test is full. However, there’s only one dog on the wait list and we usually have a couple of last-minute dropouts. So, if you feel lucky and you need to test your dog this spring, go ahead and get on the wait list.
Spring Test Volunteers: Look for a message requesting volunteers for our Spring Test soon. We’ve gotten high marks for how our tests have been run the past couple years – and it’s entirely due to our selfless volunteers.  If you’ve never volunteered before, don’t worry. Most of the tasks are simple – it’s just that we need several folks to make sure everything is done on time. Volunteering is a great way to get to know other handlers and see a test up close, so you can learn about how to handle your dog successfully.
RMC Fall Test: Believe it or not, our Fall Test is just about full already. There’s only one NA slot open for Saturday, August 20, so if you want in, don’t wait. Sunday ought to be a blast to watch, with 5 UT dogs and 1 UPT dog entered.
Handler’s Clinic: We were blown away by our solicitation of interest on the Handler’s Clinic, so we’re moving to secure a trainer and finalize a date. This is a two day event – with lunch served. The cost will be $125 per person. We’re shooting for July 9-10.
We received more requests to participate than we have slots, so we will be running registration like we do tests. That is:

  • Registrations will be secured by your check.
  • I will email invitations to people in the order that they responded to our request of interest.
  • Chapter members will get preference for two weeks after we secure a handler and a date. After that, I’ll be emailing invitations to non-members in the order in which they expressed their interest.

Chapter Wish List: It’s a sad fact of life is stuff breaks or wears out. The Chapter has several items we need to replace or secure this spring and in an effort to be frugal with your membership dollars, one of our Board members suggested that we solicit donations from you. Here’s the list. If you’ve got something on this list that still has some life left in it and you would like to send it to a good home, we’re happy to accept it.

  • Bird bags – can’t have enough for test day.
  • Camp chairs – judges need to sit when they come in for lunch during the test.
  • EZ-Up/Shelter – a malicious wind pretzled our big EZ up on the second day of our Fall Test last year.

If you’ve got something that fits the bill, please email me through the contact form on the Board of Directors page.

That’s all for now. Look for info on our May training day soon and a formal call for test volunteers after that.

Doggedly yours,

Theo Stein





Should RMC host a NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic?

We heard you!

Rocco retrieve

A Handler’s Clinic will help you understand how NAVHDA evaluates versatile hunting dogs.

Based on member requests, the Rocky Mountain Chapter Board is looking to sponsor a NAVHDA Handler’s Clinic this summer to help you improve your handling skills and gain insight into how to evaluate your hunting partner.

Hosting a clinic requires a modest investment by the chapter, so the Board needs to hear from at least 12 members who are highly likely to attend before we recruit a Senior Judge and finalize a date. Please RSVP by Sunday April 17 and let us know if you would be interested and likely to attend. We’re aiming to hold the clinic in mid-summer, before the Frontier Chapter’s summer test and our August test.

Participation will be limited to 20 handlers. Chapter members will be given first consideration.

What is a handler’s clinic?
A Handler’s Clinic is a two-day event designed to help NAVHDA members understand how NAVHDA evaluates versatile hunting dogs. The clinics are  conducted by designated, specially trained NAVHDA Senior Judges.

During the clinic, the judge will deconstruct every element of the Natural Ability, Utility Prep and Utility tests – with field demonstrations of the skills that pups, dogs in training and finished hunting dogs should possess. Most of the time is spent in the field with dogs, but a portion of the program includes discussion about the testing process and scoring.

You’ll learn about common handler mistakes that can detract from your dog’s score and tips on how to effectively manage your dog during a test. You won’t bring your dog, but you will watch dogs perform test elements, learn how to evaluate their performance and you’ll score dogs as if you were a judge All of this will help you understand – and enjoy – training and testing.

Who would want to attend?

  • New handlers with their first pup can see how other dogs’ work is evaluated by an GRIFF LESSONexperienced judge. This give you a baseline for understanding your pup’s strengths and identifying where work is needed to improve weak areas.
  • Novice handlers can see how NAVHDA evaluates versatile dogs, and learn how to better handle dogs in a test. A clinic will show you what a good gun dog can be expected to do.
  • Experienced handlers, especially those looking to prepare for the Utility test series, can gain a deeper, more technical knowledge of how the team of dog and handler are judged. The clinic will demystify terms like cooperation, obedience, steadiness and the elements of a proper duck search – skills that a finished versatile hunting dog should possess.
  • Looking to breed your dog? A clinic will help you learn what to look for in your dog’s pedigree and other progeny in your line. You’ll also learn how to use NAVHDA records obtained through our Search Test Records for selective breeding.
  • Wondering about becoming a NAHVDA judge? Completing a clinic is the first step in the process.

What if I’m not interested in the testing process?CwithSherman2013
Remember, NAVHDA’s goal is to help you learn how to train and handle the dog that you want. Test elements replicate the skills a finished gun dog should have. During a Handler’s Clinic, an experienced judge who has seen and evaluated many, many dogs will explain what those skills are and show you what those skills look like in the field.

What do we need from you?
Please RSVP to this email – RMC.NAVHDA@GMAIL.COM and let us know if you are interested in attending, what you and your dog(s) are currently training for and what your goals are. Please respond by Sunday April 17. We’re offering participation to active chapter members first. At some point, we’ll open registration to other chapters as well.

Many thanks to Testing Director Phil Goodwin for doing the legwork for the Board to offer you this opportunity.

On behalf of the RMC Board, we look forward to hearing from you!


Theo Stein

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