navhda testing

mmelton

Member
I have been to the web site a watched a few u tube videos. I want to hear from people who have been through the different types of test. What do you think of the test are they too easy or too hard and do good scores really tell about weather or not you have a good dog or not.

I'm hoping to get a new pup this fall and maybe run the natural ability and then maybe run the other test later is it worth the drive and cost of the test?

Any feedback would be nice
 

JeremyS

New member
I am a NAVHDA member and have been to the events, but have not participated a lot, mainly due to distance. The main draw to NAVHDA is that you get a ton of good help training your dog from people who know what they are doing. My experience has been that the people are great and want to see you succeed.

As far as the tests being easy or hard, that kind of misses the purpose. I like to look at NAVHDA tests as more of an evaluation of where you and your dog are at. The natural ability test mostly shows whether or not your dog had "the goods" to be a good hunting dog. The utility test shows that your dog has been well trained to an advanced level and is a finished, polished brag dog. A prize 1 utility dog is going to be the real deal.

In my opinion, it is definitely worth joining just for the knowledge you will gain in training. The tests give you something to work towards and a good little reward knowing you were successful in what you were doing.
 

519vx

Member
Yeah I'm out of line here, but my goldens will put on a love fest for anyone that will pay them some attention. Wife and I don't have kids but these pups luv em. Sage my younger girl knows dad needs a pup kiss or paw now and then. I'd be a lost soul without them.
 

ckirsch

Member
I've been a NAVHDA member for ten years or so, and have nothing but good things to say about the organization. I've tested five dogs in NA, and took one through the UT and the Invitational.

The tests obviously include a component of luck, but by and large they do a nice job of helping you find out if there are holes in your dog's performance or ability. I always enjoy having my dog, and my training ability, evaluated by a group of judges who have likely forgotten more about bird dogs than I'll ever know.

NA tests seem to be the least accurate in terms of measuring a dog, as there's a big range in the ages of pups tested, and it's easier for a young dog to have an off day and blow the test. I wouldn't get too discouraged about a disappointing NA score, as that same pup might ace everything if it were to be tested again the next day.

The UT is pretty challenging, as the dog is asked to perform a wide variety of tasks and the bar is set fairly high. You're working with a more mature dog, and should be able to expect a little more consistency than you would from an NA pup. If you get a dog through the UT, you'll have a pretty well-behaved hunting companion.

The Invitational is really nerve-wracking, as you've spent a lot of time and a fair amount of cash (chukars / pigeons / ducks / shells / gas / lodging / etc) to get there, and the pressure is pretty high. You pull into the test and see rigs from all over the US and Canada, and it hits you that this is a really big deal. Your dog has to show a lot of prey drive along with pretty impeccable manners, and it's very easy for the wheels to come off at some point during the day. I put in a lot of work in getting ready for that test, but the satisfaction of hearing the judges say "...and NEW Versatile Champion....." at the end of the day was an incredible reward. I left that test with a Pointer that can nail blind and double-marked retrieves, is steady and quiet in a duck blind, backs reliably, is consistently obedient, and can really tear things up in the field.

Best part of NAVHDA is the friends you'll make, and the knowledge they'll share with you. I had several very experienced and talented handlers open their homes to me to help me train for the Invitational, and was able to pick up tips from those guys that would have taken me years to learn from books or videos. I'm 400 miles away from my chapter, so I usually can't take advantage or training days or seminars , but I can pick up the phone at any time, call some of the veterans, and get an enthusiastic and valuable answer to whatever questions I might have. NAVHDA is great in the sense that most everyone pulls for each other. You'll probably run into another handler or two along the way who wouldn't be your first choice for a hunting companion, but by and large you'll encounter like-minded folks who will often become good friends. I have a whole new set of folks to train and hunt with as a result of my involvement.

Get signed up with the organization, jump into a training day or attend a test or two to get a feel for what it's all about, and chances are you and your dog will have great experiences.
 

JeremyS

New member
400 miles? I guess I just lost my excuse for not participating as much. I'm only 90. I'm guessing you are in Midwest Tri-State too.
 

ckirsch

Member
I belonged to the now-defunct SD chapter that was based in Freeman. I need to get signed up with Tri-State now. Hope to meet you at a test there some time....
 

Uncle Buck

New member
I wrote a very long, POSITIVE post about NAHVDA and it did not take. Told me I was not signed in just after I sucessfully posted a comment on a different thread. Anyway, if you have a new pointing puppy you cannot go wrong with NAVHDA. The Midwest Tri-State Chapter in Sioux Falls is one of the best, but check out the easy to use Chapter Locator on the national site for one near you. Member since 1987 and have tested 20+ dogs. Lots of fun club events too.
 

mmelton

Member
This sounds great I'm going to check out the next event or training day I can. Looks like I can go to two different locations each only an hour and a half away in either Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo. Thanks for the input guys !!!
 

birddog456

New member
I was a member for 3 years when my boys were pups. Traveled 60 - 80 miles one way depending on site. Enjoyed every minute of it! I joined for the training aspect of it, never participated in any of the tests. I wasn't in it for the titles, that's great for those of you solidifying your breeding program. I did volunteer at many of the tests, amazing to see great dogwork and handling! Ckirsh nailed it in his post as to what NAVHDA is!
 

mmelton

Member
I got a hold of a Tom Forton who is the Vice President of the Michigan chapter of NAVHDA. He was very pleasant to talk to and says they get to doing a lot of dog work once a week starting some time in April and through out the summer. I'm looking forward to going to watch some of this stuff and probably join up. This way when I get a new pup in the near future I will hopefully be comfortable enough around some of these guys to ask for some tips on making a great bird dog.
 

mmelton

Member
weekly training

All of you guys were right. I went to a couple of the weekly training sessions that this chapter does and all of the people there were very nice. When I get my new pup I also will get a one year membership included. I will check out as many of these sessions as I can this summer. I will be ready next spring to take my new dog back to get help in training for sure.
 

mmelton

Member
Had a great time at the NA test yesterday. Was neat to see all the young dogs and first time handlers like myself running the young dogs. I just wish I could have went today to watch the UT test but I'm stuck here at work. NAVHDA put on a great lunch and dinner for us and the judges were good people. I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend with my chapter after June was over but I can say I have never had a bad experience with any NAVHDA training days I went to. I will stay a member for the rest of my life. Maybe run the UT test ?? Will have to wait until after the hunting season for that decision. I would need a whole lot of help for that and a whole lot of planning this thing out. Seems like to get a winner in the UT test would take a lot of work for me.
 

Deuce

New member
How did the NA go? I'm glad you're enjoying your experience with NAVHDA. I've become very involved in my chapter and I really enjoy it. I get to "hunt" almost year round because of dog training.
 

rascal

New member
NAVHDA is full of GOOD people...EXCELLENT organization from top to bottom. I've spent countless hours at NAVHDA events..tests....training days...seminars ect. All great times.
 

Uncle Buck

New member
Very well said my navhda number is 001217----can anyone beat that!
Seriously, it's like having a free trainer and you do not have to run around finding birds
i've been a navhda member for ten years or so, and have nothing but good things to say about the organization. I've tested five dogs in na, and took one through the ut and the invitational.

The tests obviously include a component of luck, but by and large they do a nice job of helping you find out if there are holes in your dog's performance or ability. I always enjoy having my dog, and my training ability, evaluated by a group of judges who have likely forgotten more about bird dogs than i'll ever know.

Na tests seem to be the least accurate in terms of measuring a dog, as there's a big range in the ages of pups tested, and it's easier for a young dog to have an off day and blow the test. I wouldn't get too discouraged about a disappointing na score, as that same pup might ace everything if it were to be tested again the next day.

The ut is pretty challenging, as the dog is asked to perform a wide variety of tasks and the bar is set fairly high. You're working with a more mature dog, and should be able to expect a little more consistency than you would from an na pup. If you get a dog through the ut, you'll have a pretty well-behaved hunting companion.

The invitational is really nerve-wracking, as you've spent a lot of time and a fair amount of cash (chukars / pigeons / ducks / shells / gas / lodging / etc) to get there, and the pressure is pretty high. You pull into the test and see rigs from all over the us and canada, and it hits you that this is a really big deal. Your dog has to show a lot of prey drive along with pretty impeccable manners, and it's very easy for the wheels to come off at some point during the day. I put in a lot of work in getting ready for that test, but the satisfaction of hearing the judges say "...and new versatile champion....." at the end of the day was an incredible reward. I left that test with a pointer that can nail blind and double-marked retrieves, is steady and quiet in a duck blind, backs reliably, is consistently obedient, and can really tear things up in the field.

Best part of navhda is the friends you'll make, and the knowledge they'll share with you. I had several very experienced and talented handlers open their homes to me to help me train for the invitational, and was able to pick up tips from those guys that would have taken me years to learn from books or videos. I'm 400 miles away from my chapter, so i usually can't take advantage or training days or seminars , but i can pick up the phone at any time, call some of the veterans, and get an enthusiastic and valuable answer to whatever questions i might have. Navhda is great in the sense that most everyone pulls for each other. You'll probably run into another handler or two along the way who wouldn't be your first choice for a hunting companion, but by and large you'll encounter like-minded folks who will often become good friends. I have a whole new set of folks to train and hunt with as a result of my involvement.

Get signed up with the organization, jump into a training day or attend a test or two to get a feel for what it's all about, and chances are you and your dog will have great experiences.
 

Fred74

New member
I am a NAVHDA member and have been to the events, but have not participated a lot, mainly due to distance. The main draw to NAVHDA is that you get a ton of good help training your dog from people who know what they are doing. My experience has been that the people are great and want to see you succeed.

As far as the tests being easy or hard, that kind of misses the purpose. I like to look at NAVHDA tests as more of an evaluation of where you and your dog are at. The natural ability test mostly shows whether or not your dog had "the goods" to be a good hunting dog. The utility test shows that your dog has been well trained to an advanced level and is a finished, polished brag dog. A prize 1 utility dog is going to be the real deal.

In my opinion, it is definitely worth joining just for the knowledge you will gain in training. The tests give you something to work towards and a good little reward knowing you were successful in what you were doing.

I would agree with most of what you're saying, but there are PRZIII dogs that have aced the UT and gone on to become VC's.
 
Top