If you are new to dog training or NAVHDA, we welcome you to come and check out any of the training clinics throughout the year. Families and kids are welcome to attend and participate as well; all of our clinics are designed to help handlers and dogs from novice to advanced and are a great way to learn all the aspects that go into owning and training a versatile hunting dog. If you are thinking about getting a versatile breed, then clinics are also great way to check out the different breeds and chat with owners and breeders before you buy. The Chapter holds one indoor clinic in February and 5-8 outdoor clinics throughout the training season, generally starting in April and ending with the Fall Pre-Test Clinic in September. We have many talented and experienced dog trainers and handlers who volunteer at each clinic not to train your dog but to help you learn how to train your own dog through a variety of activities that address the many skills your dog needs to become a successful versatile hunter, whether or not you plan to test in the NAVHDA program. We also encourage all handlers, novice through advanced, to lend a hand at each clinic – it’s a great way to learn more and to interact with the many great members of our chapter.
We meet at the Smithfield training grounds at 8:45 where you’ll need to sign-in and pay for any training birds you want to purchase for the day. This check-in order determines the running order for the field and water sessions, although volunteer field/water leaders may adjust this to fit their own dogs in when they can break from helping. Clinics officially start at 9:00 a.m. with introductions, chapter announcements and deployment of the training teams by training level and training site (field or water). Advanced water work is conducted at the Charles Farm in Rome, (courtesy of Malcolm and Evelyn Charles) and all field work and novice water work is conducted in Smithfield. The clinics conclude only when all dogs have completed training for the day at both the water and field (usually mid to late afternoon). In the field session, dog/handler teams will be accompanied by the volunteer field trainer for work over birds. Dogs will be shot over depending upon age and training level. Only designated chapter members may serve as gunners at the clinics. Anyone accompanying a dog in the shooting field must be wearing an article of blaze orange. While you wait your turn in the field or water, take advantage of other opportunities to train. Ask other handlers who are also waiting to help run drills with you and your dog. Throw marked retrieves, practice healing and the basic obedience commands, do table work, and run drags. The controlled chaos of a training clinic helps expose your dog to other dogs and to the test environment. We only ask that all dogs remain on a leash or long lead unless it is their turn to run in the field/water. While you wait, you can also take the opportunity to help out, see volunteering.
Your first clinic as a non-member is free to attend. All clinics thereafter are $25, UNLESS, you become a Sebasticook Chapter member, whereby you can train at all clinics for FREE and take advantage of discounted bird prices below. You can also enjoy an additional discount on birds for volunteering. Prices for non-members are additional $2.00 per bird/duck. Bird prices may vary throughout the year depending on availability and may be subject to change to cover fluctuating market cost. We price our birds only slightly above cost to cover feed. The number of birds sold to each handler is determined at each clinic by the Director of Training. If there are unsold birds remaining at the end of the clinic, they may be sold to handlers who wish to take birds home, only at the discretion of the Director of Training.
*Pheasant prices vary by time of year
The Sebasticook Chapter does not offer lunch at clinics. So it is important to make sure to bring your own lunch/snacks and drinks. There are also two stores nearby where you can purchase sandwiches and snacks. Please note that there is no running water at any of the training sites so please bring enough water for you and your dog for the day.
Clinics are held in rain or shine so make sure to be prepared!
Don’t forget these items for your dog:
Don’t forget these items for yourself: