Conservation Education Initiative

NAHRA Educational Foundation

(NEF)

 

Skills List - Master Hunting Retriever

  1. Mastered all the skills of a basic Hunting Retriever
  2. Advanced Obedience- solid obedience skills are the foundation of the Master Hunting Retriever; they include basic commands such as: come (here), heel, sit, stay, hold and leave-it; and, more advanced commands such as:
    • Remote Sit-Stay - place the dog in a remote location like a mutt-hut or platform stand.
    • Ignore Diversions - ignore falling birds, calling & shooting while making a retrieve.
    • Honor another Dog - the ability to hunt with another dog and watch quietly as it makes a retrieve.
    • Take a Line - the ability to be pointed (lined) in a direction and search that direction for a downed bird.
    • Remote Whistle -Sit - a quick sit following a sharp whistle blast when away from the hunter- used in handling or upland hunting.
    • Casting - the ability of a dog to be redirected from a remote location - used to correct a line on a blind or marked retrieve.
  3. Complex Multiple Marked Retrieves on Land & Water - the Master Hunting Retriever quietly watches where all the birds fall, remembers their location, runs or swims directly to each bird, and retrieves it to the hunter. These can be up to three birds (triple marked retrieve) retrieved from rough cover (thick grass, tall weeds, and brushy briars) and challenging water (cattails, stick-ponds, rough open water).  The Master Hunting Retriever is competent with complex marking problems like: in-line falls, wipe-out birds, shore-line falls, and delayed falls (birds that fall when making another retrieve).
  4. Blind Retrieves on Land & Water – the Master Hunting Retriever can quickly retrieve birds it did not see fall or forgotten marked falls. A blind retrieve includes a series of commands in which the hunter and dog work together to locate and recover a downed bird.
  • The blind retrieve starts with the dog being pointed (called Lined) in the direction of the bird.
  • The dog is then sent and runs or swims along the initial line towards the bird.
  • If the dog drifts off-course the hunter stops the dog with a whistle-sit command.
  • The dog turns and looks towards the hunter for a new direction.
  • The hunter cast (redirects) in a new direction using both hand signals and voice commands.
  • The hunter stops and re-cast the dog as many times as is necessary to locate and retrieve the downed bird.
  1. Steady to Flush, Shot and Fall for Upland Birds - the Master Hunting Retriever will work within gun range of the hunters and is steady (stops quickly) when a bird flushes and stays steady (sitting or standing) while the bird is shot at and while it falls. A Master Upland Hunting Retriever that is steady to flush shot and fall is a pleasure to hunt over because there is no fear of the dog being accidentally shot while chasing a low flushing bird. A dog that is steady to shot and fall will also be able to mark the location of the downed birds more accurately.  
  2. Master Hunting Retriever is a pleasure to hunt with anywhere & the Master Hunting Retriever adds to the quality of the hunt.

Skills List - Master Hunting Retriever

  1. Mastered all the skills of a basic Hunting Retriever
  2. Advanced Obedience- solid obedience skills are the foundation of the Master Hunting Retriever; they include basic commands such as: come (here), heel, sit, stay, hold and leave-it; and, more advanced commands such as:
    1. Remote Sit-Stay - place the dog in a remote location like a mutt-hut or platform stand.
    2. Ignore Diversions - ignore falling birds, calling & shooting while making a retrieve.
    3. Honor another Dog - the ability to hunt with another dog and to watch quietly as it makes a retrieve.
    4. Mark off the Gun – the experience and control at a time of heightened excitement to watch where the gun(s) are aimed and to move as necessary to keep falling birds in sight.  
    5. Take a Line - the ability to be pointed (lined) in a direction and search that direction for a downed bird.
    6. Remote Whistle -Sit - a quick sit following a sharp whistle blast when away from the hunter- used in handling or upland hunting.
    7. Casting - the ability of a dog to be redirected from a remote location - used to correct a line on a blind or marked retrieve.

  1. Complex Multiple Marked Retrieves on Land & Water - the Master Hunting Retriever quietly watches where all the birds fall, remembers their location, runs or swims directly to each bird, and retrieves it to the hunter. These can be up to three birds (triple marked retrieve) retrieved from rough cover (thick grass, tall weeds, and brush) and challenging water (cattails, stick-ponds, rough open water).  The Master Hunting Retriever is competent with complex marking problems like: in-line falls, wipe-out birds, shore-line falls, and delayed falls (birds that fall when making another retrieve).
  2. Blind Retrieves on Land & Water – the Master Hunting Retriever can quickly retrieve birds it did not see fall. A blind retrieve includes a series of commands in which the hunter and dog work together to locate and recover a downed bird.
  • The blind retrieve starts with the dog being pointed (lined) in the direction of the bird.
  • The dog is then sent and then runs or swims along the initial line towards the bird.
  • If the dog drifts off-course, the hunter stops the dog with a whistle-sit command.
  • The dog turns and looks towards the hunter for a new direction.
  • The hunter casts (redirects) in a new direction using both hand signals and voice commands.
  • The hunter stops and re-casts the dog as many times as is necessary to locate and retrieve the downed bird.

  1. Steady to Flush, Shot and Fall for Upland Birds - the Master Hunting Retriever will work within gun range of the hunters and is steady (stops quickly) when a bird flushes. He stays steady (sitting or standing) while the bird is shot at and while it falls. A Master Upland Hunting Retriever that is steady to flush, shot, and fall is a pleasure to hunt over because there is no fear of the dog being accidentally shot while chasing a low flushing bird. A dog that is steady to shot and fall will also be able to mark the location of the downed birds more accurately.  
  2. Master Hunting Retriever is a pleasure to hunt with anywhere & the Master Hunting Retriever adds to the quality of the hunt.

 

 

How does CEI Educate the General Public?

  1. Educational outreach to local sportsmen’s clubs & conservation organizations 
    • Gun Dog Demonstrations, Youth Events and Training Clinics
    • Display Booths at Hunting Shows & Outdoor-oriented events.
  2. Support the formation and expansion of local retriever training clubs.
    • Local retriever training clubs and groups provide the local venue for informational seminars, training clinics, and field tests.
    • Local clubs also provide access to experienced trainers that can mentor new trainers.
    • Local clubs promote the merits of a well-trained hunting retriever as an important conservation tool. 

Skills List - Basic Hunting Retriever

  1. Positive Attitude towards Thick Cover, Water & Birds – most retrievers from hunting stock naturally love to explore thick cover, cannot stay out of the water, and are crazy about chasing birds. Combine this natural ability with basic obedience and field training, and the basic Hunting Retriever becomes an effective conservation tool.
  2. Reasonably Obedient- basic obedience skills are the foundation of the Basic Hunting Retriever; they include: come (here), heel, sit, stay, hold and leave-it. The basic marked retrieve (the dogs sees the bird fall) is simply a series of basic obedience commands:
  • Come over Here beside the duck blind;
  • Heel beside the blind so you are looking over the decoys;
  • Sit and Stay until after the shooting is done;
  • Go get the bird and Hold it until you get back to the blind; and,
  • Deliver the bird to the hunter and Leave-it in their hand.
  1. Basic Marked Retrieves on Land & Water – are the primary job of the basic Hunting Retriever; the dog watches where the bird falls, remembers its location, runs or swims directly to the bird, and retrieves it to the hunter. These include single and double (2 birds) retrieves in rough cover (thick grass, tall weeds and brush) and challenging water (cattails, stick-ponds, rough open water).
  2. Patiently and Quietly waits for Birds – the basic Hunting Retriever can sit and wait with reasonable patience while being quiet as the birds are spotted, flagged, and called into gun range. The basic Hunting Retriever does not spook or flare birds and does not interfere with the success of the hunt. 
  3. Steady to Shot and Fall – the basic Hunting Retriever stays beside the blind while the birds are called into range, stays while the birds are shot, and stays while the birds fall and until the hunter releases the dog to make the retrieve. Called “steady” or “steadiness” this a basic safety skill that is required of any hunting retriever. A steady dog is also far less likely to flare birds and is able to mark the locations of the downed bird better, resulting in quicker recovery and fewer lost birds. Hunters who claim they want their dogs to break (not be steady) because they get to the birds faster are rationalizing a major flaw in the dog’s training. The basic Hunting Retriever does not spook or flare birds and does not interfere with the success of the hunt.  
  4. Deliver to Hand without Delay – the basic Hunting Retriever quickly, but gently, picks up the downed bird and returns directly to the hunter without dropping or mouthing the bird. The dog delivers the bird to the hand of the hunter and only releases the bird when so ordered by the hunter. The basic Hunting Retriever will quickly fetch both dead and wounded (but alive) birds, promptly delivering them to hand.
  5. Seek and Trail Wounded and Crippled Birds – one of the primary jobs of the basic Hunting Retriever is to seek, trail, and recover wounded birds that may otherwise escape, only to die and be wasted. This function is at the center of the conservation mission of the Hunting Retriever. A basic Hunting Retriever is able to locate birds in thick cover, gnarly swamps, and dauntingly big open-water; and has the ability to trail a bird for hundreds of yards.
  6. Hunt Uplands Cover in Gun Range (Optional for Upland Hunting) - the basic Hunting Retriever is also a capable upland hunting dog. It will work within gun range of the hunters: 30-35 yards in open pheasant and sharp-tail cover; and 15 – 25 yards in grouse and woodcock thickets. It will check-up (turn and hunt back to the hunter) on moderate whistle and voice commands. The basic Hunting Retriever will not chase fly-a-way birds (misses or hens) and will not chase non-target species (deer, foxes, jackrabbits, etc.).     

Summary of Educational Outreach Programs

Indoor Presentation – 45 to 60 minute PowerPoint Presentation

  • Importance of Hunting Retrievers as conservation tools
  • Basic & Advanced Skills of Hunting Retrievers
  • Importance of Basic Obedience for Hunting Retrievers
  • How to get started Training Your Own Hunting Retriever

Outdoor Demonstration- 30 to 45 minute Outdoor Demonstration

  • Importance of Hunting Retrievers as conservation tools
  • Basic Obedience for Hunting Retrievers
  • Basic Marked Retrieves (steady, marking, retrieving, & delivery)
  • Advanced Marked Retrieves (doubles, triples, & diversions)
  • Blind Retrieves (lining, stopping, & casting)

Junior Dog Camp- 4 Hour Training Seminar for Junior Dog Trainers

Junior Dog Trainers (ages 12 to 18) join with experienced trainers and dogs to experience training a Hunting Retriever, including:

  • Basic Obedience for Hunting Retrievers
  • Basic Marked Retrieves (steady, marking, retrieving, & delivery)
  • Advanced Marked Retrieves (doubles, triples, & diversions)
  • Blind Retrieves (lining, stopping, & casting)

The Junior Dog Trainers will run dogs, throw birds, setup & run training drills, design training scenarios, and will learn techniques to encourage wanted behaviors and to discourage those that are unwanted. .

Hunter Dog Camp- 6 Hour Training Seminar for Hunter & Dog

Hunter and Dogs work together for an entire day at one of the following levels:

Basic Training Camp for Hunting Retrievers

  • Basic Obedience for Hunting Retrievers
  • Introduction to Birds
  • Basic Puppy Retrieves (Mark-Hold-Return-Give)
  • Steadying (Stay put until you are sent)
  • Basic Marked Retrievers on Land and Water
  • Dead-bird Trailing & Recovering Birds

Intermediate Training Camp for Hunting Retrievers

  • Introduction to Fresh Kills and Cripples (Shackled)
  • Basic Doubled Marked Retrieves on Land and Water
  • Diversions Birds and Switching Birds
  • Basic Upland Hunting with No Fly-Away Chasing
  • Advanced Dead-bird Trailing & Recovering Birds

Advance Training Camp for Hunting Retrievers

  • Introduction to Blind Retrieves
  • Handling Drills (Lining, Stopping on Whistle, & Casting)
  • Sight Blinds, Pattern Blinds & Cold Blinds
  • Advanced Upland (steady to Flush, Shot, & Fall)
  • Advanced Live-bird Trailing & Recovering Birds

How can I learn more about the NAHRA Educational Programs?

Contact: Tom Johnstontjohnston@skellyloy.com or 717-444-3691