2022 Bird Dog Instinct Clinics

MSDA will hold Bird Instinct Clinics on Friday March 4th, Saturday March 5th, and Sunday March 6th 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 for the AKC Hunt Test programs, or to simply see how much fun you can have when your dog gets turned on to birds!!

All potential bird dogs are welcome. Your dog does not have to be entered in any MSDA dog show or obedience/rally events to participate in the Instinct Clinic.

We plan to offer a total of six identical clinics, at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Friday 3/4, Saturday 3/5, and Sunday 3/6.

The clinic fee is $20 per dog – cash or check, payable at each clinic session. Payment by credit card is also an option, with an additional $1 fee. Also, Spring Event parking at the Fairgrounds is $5 per vehicle.

There is no pre-registration for the Instinct Clinics. The number of dogs in each session will be limited to ensure that everyone gets plenty of attention. It is likely that some or all sessions will fill up, so be sure to arrive at the field well before the scheduled starting time.

The Instinct Clinics are held outside, so please dress for outdoor fun! In past years, they have been in a grassy field less than 500 feet west of the main (conformation) building, near the fairgrounds’ horse ring. Check for signs on the fairgrounds property and posters on the doors to the conformation and obedience/rally buildings for updated location information. Note that the ground is covered in grass, dirt and (some) straw, so please do not plan to run your dog in an Instinct Clinic and then go directly to the conformation ring.

One or more sessions could be rescheduled or cancelled in case of severe weather. If so, updated information will be posted here on this web page, the home page of the MSDA website, and also will be shared via MSDA’s private Facebook Group.

For Instinct Clinic, your dog 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 and photos, see our Instinct Clinic page for 2020. A few very short Instinct Clinic videos are on MSDA’s YouTube channel. MSDA member Deb Kirk also offers a longer introductory training video that includes a lot of photos and extensive video from MSDA Instinct Clinics.

Questions? Please contact Steve Roth at huntingchair@mdsportingdog.org.

And, if you and your dog have fun at the Instinct Clinic, consider attending MSDA’s Field Day (held annually in April or May) for an introduction to field training your bird dog. A specific date, location and much more information for Field Day will be available soon.