2020 Sporting Dog Instinct Clinics

** Update: As of 2/12, all Instinct Clinic sessions are full (and, in fact, slightly overbooked), so we are no longer accepting online registrations. Conformation, obedience, and rally ring schedules are likely to be available around Feb 20th. If you have signed up for Instinct Clinic and need to switch to another session due to a schedule conflict, please contact Pamela DeSmidt and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you have signed up for Instinct Clinic and will not be able to attend, please let us know. We do slightly overbook in anticipation of cancellations but, if space becomes available, those slots will be opened in the hour or so before individual Instinct Clinic sessions. Please visit us at the Field Activities table in the Main Hall to check on availability. All Instinct Clinic registrants will receive an email from us with more information during the week before the Spring Event. See you there!

** Even if you are not signed up, you are absolutely welcome to come watch any of the Instinct Clinic sessions. Check at the Field Activities table in the Main Hall for the exact location. And, please consider the following outdoor activities: Barn Hunt “Try-It” and Flyball demonstrations at the Spring Event, and MSDA’s Field Day on May 2nd.


MSDA will hold Bird Instinct Clinics on  Friday February 28th, Saturday February 29th, and Sunday March 1st during the MSDA Spring Event 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!

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!!

There will be a total of six identical clinics, at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm on Friday 2/28, Saturday 2/29, and Sunday 3/1.

All potential bird dogs are welcome. Your dog does not have to be entered in any other dog show events to participate in the Instinct Clinic.

The clinic fee is $20 per dog – cash or check, payable the day of the clinic. The number of registrations for each session is limited to ensure that each dog gets plenty of attention. As noted above, all sessions are now full. (Once conformation, obedience, and rally judging schedules are posted, in case of conflicts, we will do our best to accommodate those who are pre-registered if you need to switch to a different session.)

Look who’s coming! We have one or more of the following breeds signed up: Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, French Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Saint Usuge Spaniel, Spinone Italiano, Standard Poodle, Vizsla, Weimaraner and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Spring Event parking at the Fairgrounds is $5 per day.

The Instinct Clinic is held outside, so please dress for outdoor fun! Your dog only needs a collar and leash (not just a slip lead) . We’ll provide a very long lead and all other supplies. Dogs are never off-leash during these sessions.

Live birds are used. There is no gunfire; flushed birds fly away.

For more information, photos, and videos, see our Instinct Clinic page for 2019. Questions? Please contact Steve Roth.

And, if you and your dog have fun at the Instinct Clinic, consider attending MSDA’s late-spring Field Day for an introduction to field training your bird dog.