The annual Fall field testing weekend that includes the Natural Ability Test, the Utility Preparatory Test, and the Utility Test test dates are August 16 - 18, 2019 and will be run at Sweet Briar Recreation Area west of Mandan, ND. Contact Test Secretary, David Hogue for more information. Currently 1 UT OR 2 NA spots are available.
Learn more about test costs/registration by viewing our Testing page.
Natural Ability Test
The Natural Ability Test is where most new trainers begin with their young dogs, as dogs cannot be older than 16 months at the time of the test. The Natural Ability Test consists of Search and Pointing, Swimming, Pheasant Track, and a Physical examination. The physical examination is part of the dog’s permanent NAVHDA record and is important if the dog is to be used for breeding. Besides the physical attributes, temperament also is noted. Additionally, the dog will be evaluated on Use of Nose, Desire to Work and Cooperation, based upon performance in the other phases. Also, two blank shots will be fired at the beginning of the search to test for any gun-shyness.
Utility Preparatory Test
The Utility Preparatory Test was created to evaluate the versatile dog at the mid-point of its training. It is the logical bridge from Natural Ability Testing to the Utility Testing of a finished gun dog. In the field portion of this test, the intermediate dog is required to find and point birds. The dog is expected to allow the gunner to flush the bird and to remain steady until the gun is fired. The dog is expected to retrieve within one step of the handler. The water portion of the test consists of a short heeling segment followed by a 40-yard retrieve of a thrown duck. Also included in the water portion of this test is an independent water search for a dead duck that has been concealed in vegetation. The last portion of the Utility Preparatory Test involves the tracking and retrieving of a dead bird that has been dragged 50 yards out of sight of the dog. This portion of the test is a test of the dog’s cooperation and obedience. Throughout the entire Utility Preparatory Test, the dog is being evaluated for nose, desire, obedience and cooperation.
The Utility Test is designed to test the finished hunting dog. In field work, the dog is required to search for, find and point game and to retrieve shot birds to hand. It is expected to be steady to wing, shot and fall. It is required to track and retrieve a 100-200 yard drag. In the water sequence, the dog demonstrates heeling through a serpentine course to a blind and then remains by the blind while the handler leaves, goes out of sight and fires two blank shots. After the handler returns to the blind, the dog must remain steady through a sequence of shots and then retrieve a thrown duck from the water. The final test involves a blind search for a live duck across water with emerging vegetation. During the entire Utility Test, the dog is scored on use of nose, desire, stamina, cooperation and obedience.
For more information on these tests or to register your dog, please refer to the Test Information Page for registration information, fees, and forms. Slots have been filling earlier each year, so sign up early to ensure a spot for yourself.
NATURAL ABILITY TEST, UTILITY PREPARATORY TEST, UTILITY TEST EVENT