MSDA held Sporting Dog Instinct Clinics on Friday March 1st and Saturday March 2nd during the MSDA Spring Weekend at the Howard County Fairgrounds (2210 Fairgrounds Rd, West Friendship, MD 21794). For a bird dog with little or no field experience, this is a great way to get started.
This is a fun, relaxed, and encouraging activity. The clinic includes a brief introductory discussion followed by individual work with each dog and handler. Trainers get the dogs excited about the birds, and then the dogs are able to scent a bird and find a bird, triggering their basic hunting instincts. Clinics are run by AKC hunt test judges and experienced handlers for flushing, pointing, and retrieving breeds. There is lots of fun, and great information, too!
It was chilly for our first day of clinics on Friday, but we were able to protect a section of the field from snow the night before, and the dogs didn’t seem to mind the weather at all. Saturday was warmer. Altogether, we ran 52 dogs in five clinic sessions. Here are some pictures, and one video (on YouTube), from the 2019 sessions.
Instinct Clinic also is a wonderful stepping stone for you and your dog to get involved with training for your parent club’s WD or WC program or the AKC Hunt Test programs, or to simply see how much fun you can have when your dog gets turned on to birds!!
Participating breeds this year included the following: Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Spinone Italiano, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
Live birds are used. There is no gunfire. (Flushed birds fly away.)