Dogs in the Sporting Group, sometimes called Bird Dogs or Gun Dogs, were bred to instinctively have a desire to hunt small game. This drive also is what makes a dog happy to chase and retrieve a ball or other thrown object.
MSDA held its first “Instinct Clinic” in conjunction with its spring dog show, allowing dogs without previous field training or experience to discover their basic instincts for hunting. 26 dogs participated in the March 2017 Instinct Clinic. Photos and videos are included below.
It was a brisk sunny day and we were outdoors in a grassy field on the show grounds (Howard County Fairgrounds). First, there was a brief demonstration by a Master Hunter dog using a training bumper and basic field obedience commands. After the demonstration, each dog participating in the clinic was worked individually with bird wings and bumpers, and then given an opportunity to find and flush a live bird. (The bird flies away.) All dogs remained on lead at all times. Each participating dog was worked on a long field line, one dog at a time. Four AKC-licensed hunt test judges ran the clinic, providing guidance to the handlers and encouragement to the dogs. The atmosphere was fun, encouraging, and supportive.
Instinct Clinics for all sporting dog breeds (flushing, pointing, retrieving) were offered in 2018 at MSDA’s spring dog shows and obedience/rally trials.