**TENTATIVE** Friday, September 17 – Spaniel Hunting Test Judging Seminar at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD, taught by AKC’s Tom Meyer. This is still very tentative — far from definite — and many details would need to be worked out. However, if you’re interested, please complete the form below and we’ll be sure to let you know when more information is available.
**NOT YET APPROVED** Saturday September 18 & Sunday September 19 – AKC Spaniel Hunting Tests for all flushing breeds at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD. Entries are not open yet. We may be planning other activities for this weekend as well.
For updates, if you don’t already receive our monthly newsletter, please sign up for our general mailing list.
Saturday, July 24 2021 (Rain date 7/25) 10:00 am – 3:00 pm 8809 Slate Quarry Rd Dickerson, MD 20842 Hosted by Alex and Steve Roth
This event is for MSDA club members, their families, and their guests. Dogs, too, of course! We’re aiming to make this an entirely Covid-Free Zone, so the party this year is limited to those who are fully vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2.
Planning to attend? RSVP using this form so we know how many to expect.
MSDA will provide grilled hamburger & chicken and cold non-alcoholic drinks. Attendees should bring a side dish or dessert to share for lunch. Other than bringing food to share, there is no fee for attending.
For field-trained dogs, or those who might be interested, there also will be opportunities for informal field training on the property. For all dogs, it’s just a great place to run around, sniff, play and swim.
In late July, it can be be Hot! For cooling off, we’ll have the pool, of course, but also plenty of shade, extra cooling tubs for the dogs, plus hoses and misters.
The pool will be open all day. Dogs are allowed in the pool, subject to careful adult (human) supervision. Bring your floating dog toys and bumpers! To prevent damage to the pool’s edge, dogs should only exit the pool using the stairs at the shallow end.
The Roth’s property is fenced but is not totally escape-proof and the gates must be opened when cars enter or exit, so please make sure you keep an eye on your dogs at all times and bring a leash to use as necessary.
Whether on-lead or off, in or out of the pool, owners are reminded that they ultimately are responsible for their own dog’s behavior.
The house will not be open to guests this year, but there will be a port-o-potty at the top of the driveway.
Directions: From I-270, take exit 22 onto Rt 109 South toward Poolesville. After about ¼ mile, branch right onto Slate Quarry Road. It’s about 1 ½ miles to #8809 on the left. Slate Quarry Rd is paved, but it’s also narrow with curves and no center line. Stay to the right and drive slowly.
It hardly ever rains on MSDA’s Summer Pool Party, but just in case, we’ve set Sunday 7/25 as a rain date this summer. If you’ve RSVPed, we’ll let you know by e-mail or phone if the party must be delayed.
Not an MSDA member? Learn more about us, how to join the club, and sign up for our e-mail list. If you’ve attended one of our recent events, you’re probably eligible, and it’s not too late to join in time for Summer Pool Party!
Spaniels were originally bred to hunt, find, and flush upland game out of their hiding places – pointers and setters did the pointing, and retrievers did the retrieving. Today’s upland dogs are expected to hunt, find, point or flush, be steady to wing and shot, and reliably retrieve or respectfully honor another dog’s retrieve.
MSDA is pleased to hold a late-June training workshop led by professional trainer/handler Jordan Horak. The workshop is a two-day program for dogs and handlers who are beginning upland work, or who want help taking their dogs to the highest level.
The workshop will be held on Saturday June 19 and Sunday June 20 at Thornhill Farm in Woodbine, MD. A limited number of private lessons will be available on Monday, June 21.
ABOUT JORDAN HORAK
Jordan Horak is an accomplished upland dog professional trainer and handler, winner of both the National Open and National Amateur Cocker Championships, and the inventor of the Cato Board placeboard (named after his English Cocker Spaniel).
Jordan will be offering a 10% discount on Cato Boards to all registered handlers, working teams and auditors alike. This discount is in addition to the quantity discounts presented on his website.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
Saturday and Sunday will be “hands-on” sessions limited to 12 Working Teams (dogs and handlers) and 14 Auditors/Spectators. Working Teams will receive instructional guidance directly from Jordan both days. The workshop will include interactive discussions with all attendees, so auditors are highly encouraged. Plus, video cameras and still photographs are permitted.
For Working Teams and Auditors, there is an optional third day of up to 8 private lesson slots with Jordan on Monday for those who want an hour focused on their specific training needs. This would effectively turn the event into a 3-day workshop for 8 attendees. (All handlers that register for Private Lessons will be asked if they mind if other Private Lesson registrants watch their session.)
The two-day workshop will present the fundamentals of yard training for sporting dogs focusing on:
Foundation-building exercises and drills in the yard geared to puppies through adult dogs.
Using Cato Boards, speed leads and no leads to teach basic upland commands, e.g., place, casting-off, quartering, hand signals, steadiness, whistle commands (get out, hup, turn, draw-in and recall), and gone away.
How to transition from yard work to field work.
There will some field time using live birds, probably pigeons, on the second day (Sunday). Dogs that demonstrate a certain level of competence with foundation work on Saturday may be asked to participate in a demonstration using live birds on Sunday.
Handlers and owners of all levels of experience and interest are welcome. Ideally, participating dogs should have a demonstrated desire to retrieve. The ideal human attendee isn’t looking for a quick fix, but is instead looking for ways to build a strong upland relationship with their dog.
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
Saturday, June 19 — 8:00 am to approximately 5:30 pm
8:00 am: Check-in; enjoy coffee and a light breakfast.
8:30 am: Assemble in the yard. Introductions. Overview from Jordan about upland training and spaniel hunt tests. Each working team will describe to Jordan and the group where they are in their training and their workshop goals. Based on this information, Jordan will begin calling forth handler teams and tailor a drill for them based on further one-on-one conversation on each team’s upland level and experience.
12:00 pm: Break for lunch.
1:00 pm: Assemble back in the yard; working teams continue to run drills with Jordan.
5:00 pm: Session ends with Q&A.
Immediately after seminar: BBQ dinner/get-together with Jordan at Thornhill Farm.
Sunday, June 20— 8:00 am to approximately 4:30 pm
8:00 am: Assemble in the field. Light breakfast while Jordan answers questions and discusses previous day’s work.
8:30 am: Yard vs. Field Training discussion. Intro to field concepts and field demonstration.
12:00 pm: Assemble back in the yard and break for lunch.
1:00 pm: In the yard, working teams continue to run drills.
End of day: Q&A, discussion and final comments from Jordan at the conclusion of the workshop.
Seminar Fees are:
Working Team (Both Days): $300
Auditor/Spectator (Both Days): $175
Auditor/Spectator for One Day Only: $100
Private Lesson: $95
Registration fees range from $4.50 to $8.00 per entry.
Current MSDA members were offered a $25 discount if they register for both days as either a Working Team or as an Auditor/Spectator.
Seminar fees include morning coffee and pastries, lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and a BBQ dinner on Saturday evening.
REGISTRATION AND DEADLINES:
Registration is now closed.
There will be no refunds for cancellations by registrants before or after the closing date. Registrations are transferable to others if approved in advance by MSDA. Contact the Event Chair, Steve Surprenant if you need to cancel. If the entire workshop is cancelled for any reason, all entry fees will be refunded in full.
On a “first come, first served” basis, Private Lessons are only available to 8 of the 12 Working Teams and Auditors that register for the two-day Saturday/Sunday Seminar.
Working teams are limited to one handler and a maximum of two dogs; only one dog can be worked per concept/drill.
Workshop activities will be entirely outside. This event will be held rain or shine.
Covid precautions will be as required by CDC, Maryland, Howard County, and Thornhill Farm.
Registrants will have to sign liability releases for both MSDA and Thornhill Farms.
Video and still photography is permitted.
WHAT TO BRING
Clothing/footwear appropriate for dog training and appropriate to the weather forecast
Pad of paper, a pen, and a highlighter pen
Chair and a clip board or something else to write on
E-collar (optional; there will be no specific e-collar training)
Workshop topics and schedule may be adjusted based on the needs of the working teams, the weather, or other factors. Topics listed here are representative and not meant to be all-inclusive as every dog is different.
MSDA has not worked out special hotel rates with the hotels listed above and is not endorsing these particular hotels.
There are other dog-friendly hotels in Frederick, Ellicott City, and Baltimore, Maryland that are further away from the workshop location. Please check directly with hotels regarding rates, dogs in room, and deposits that may be required.
Coffee and pastries will be provided each morning, and lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. Liquid refreshments will be available during the day. No lunches will be provided during private lessons.
On Saturday evening, a BBQ get-together with Jordan will be held immediately after the seminar at Thornhill Farm.
At MSDA, we often receive inquiries about whether or not a whistle has to be used in training, which whistle is best for training, and do different sporting dog breeds need different whistles?
In answering these questions, this article assumes:
That the reader has already decided to use a whistle in field training, hunting, hunt tests and/or field trials, and they need to make a preliminary decision about which whistle to use.
That the reader will not use a whistle as a command or while handling until after the dog has already learned that command without a whistle.
A sporting dog’s ability to hear There is a hearing difference among dog breeds – those with floppy ears covered with hair won’t be able to hear as well as those with erect ears. But there is no material difference in the hearing between any of the sporting dog breeds.
Humans can hear a frequency range between 20 and 20,000 Hz; dogs can hear 40 to 60,000 Hz. The smaller the number the lower the sound; the higher the number the higher the pitch. This explains why a dog can hear a silent whistle, which emits a sound above 20,000 Hz, yet the sound is inaudible to most humans.
People need to train their dogs before incorporating a whistle There are many dog owners who have exceedingly high expectations of a dog whistle. A toot on a whistle has no inbred meaning for a dog. A dog may be interested the first few times he hears a whistle’s distinct and/or unusual sound. The dog may even approach you to investigate, but the effect is typically temporary. Over time, the dog will lose interest in the whistle unless he begins to associate the sound with something that he has been already taught to do.
Do you need a whistle to train a sporting dog? Strictly speaking, the answer is “no”. You can teach any dog a command with voice alone. Once a command is learned, you can add hand signals to help a dog understand the command at a distance. But, out in the field, a dog may not be able to hear your voice or see your hand signal. During hunting, a hunt test or a field trail, using a whistle will be appreciated by fellow hunters, handlers and judges, and is much more dignified than yelling at your dog from the top of your lungs.
A whistle for sporting dog training is helpful for three primary reasons.
A whistle is easier to hear – the human voice does not carry as effectively as a whistle over distance, especially on a windy day.
A whistle is clear and unambiguous – the human voice is variable in pitch and easily distorted by environmental factors. A good quality whistle will not alter in pitch when you are angry or tired.
A whistle is less disturbing to most wildlife – the human voice is very disturbing to wild game, and sporting dog work should be carried out with a quiet hunt whenever possible.
A whistle is not always the answer in every situation. Sometimes, you may want to work a dog in almost complete silence; for example, in close quarters a hand signal, or whisper voice, may be more appropriate.
In practice, most sporting dog handlers should first teach voice commands and then add whistles and hand signals as training progresses and the dog has already learned the voice command.
Choosing a whistle A whistle choice often comes down to the handler’s preference as the specific pitch doesn’t make any difference to the dog. Once you have bought your first whistle, you are likely to use that whistle “type” for the rest of your life. However, no two dogs are exactly alike which can make it more difficult to choose the perfect whistle from the beginning.
Most people have to experiment to see which whistle is just right. Some handlers will buy a half-dozen or more of the same whistles at a time to test each one for the exact sound they want. Other handlers, even if they have been around for a long time may switch whistle preference with some regularity.
Whistles for sporting dogs The breed of sporting dog and the type of training can impact which whistle you may choose. Spaniels tend to work closely and you may not need to use a whistle with a large sound radius even if cover is thick. A pointer will spend a lot of their time air scenting at a distance, but once on game, they will get into the undergrowth; you may benefit from a whistle which can cut through thick groundcover at a distance. And, retrievers work over long distances so you need a loud whistle for giving instruction and a reliable recall.
Additionally, if you have a retriever that runs in retriever hunt tests as well as spaniel hunt tests, or a spaniel or a pointer that runs in retriever hunt tests as well as spaniel or pointer tests, it’s nearly impossible to pick one whistle that works well in two different test types. Just because a dog has learned to recall on three toots on one type whistle, does not mean they will recall well with three toots on a different whistle type. There are some combination dog whistles (aka dual-tone whistles), but they still yield different tones on different frequencies as if you were using two different whistles.
Many of the dog whistles have a “pea,” a small cork ball inside the whistle shell. A pea allows you to “trill” the whistle and make different combinations of sounds. However, the pea in a whistle can freeze in cold weather from your saliva. For cold weather training and other reasons, many handlers use a pealess whistle which are also better at making quick blasts. And a metal whistle that works well in most seasons, can freeze to your lip in below freezing temperatures.
Making the final decision Even though some whistles are better suited for different situations, in the end, it’s your choice. No matter what whistle you choose, to get the most out of it you must know how to blow it and be consistent with your tones.
If you’re interested in learning more about choosing and using a whistle, the following links may be of interest to you:
MSDA held two days — two separate events — of AKC Spaniel Hunting Tests at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD. Junior, Senior and Master stakes were available each day and there was Working Dog (WD) testing on Sunday. Many thanks to our judges John Dunn, Steve Surprenant, Jeffrey Thomas and Jim Zimmerman and to all the many volunteers who made this weekend so successful.
Not just for spaniels, the hunting tests were open to all eligible flushing breeds. Look who participated! We had one of more of the following breeds entered: Airedale Terrier, Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and Welsh Springer Spaniel.
We love seeing pictures! If you took some photos that you would be willing to share, please send them (or a link to where they can be retrieved or viewed) to the Hunt Test Secretary (Pamela) at Secretary@mdsportingdog.org. If you’re a member of our private Facebook Group, we also invite you to post photos there.
More Pointing Group photos, taken by Field Day participant Carolina Johnson:
Retrieving Group photos:
Field Day is always divided into groups according to hunting style: Flushing, Pointing, and Retrieving. Our hard-working group leaders and volunteers included very experienced handlers, hunters, hunt test judges, trainers and gunners. Group activities and individual attention for handlers and dogs were based on each individuals’ training goals for the day.
To keep all working groups small, Field Day was further split into morning and afternoon sessions, with a midday lunch break for all groups.
Field Day is designed to accommodate everyone from true beginner dogs (who have never met a bird) to experienced master hunters. Though activities are targeted at Sporting Group dogs who are interested in hunting, hunt tests, and field trials, Field Day welcomes all “birdy” dogs. Look who came! We had one or more of the following breeds this year: Barbet, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Clumber Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Red and White Setter, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Poodle, Standard Poodle, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
Field Day is set up to be attentive to each dog’s experience and needs, rather than running all dogs through a standard set of drills. We keep the groups small so that everyone gets plenty of time and attention. Birds and gunners were provided.
Due to the continuing risk of Covid-19, Field Day was a bit different this year, with more health-related precautions and much less mingling among the different groups. Despite that, it was a great day. We are looking forward to bringing back many extra Field Day activities, such as clubhouse use, the fabulous potluck lunch, and shared activities such as CGC testing in Spring of 2022.
Offered Two Days Saturday October 24th and Sunday October 25th, 2020 10 am – 3 pm Dickerson, MD
These days offered an introduction to field work for all sporting dogs. Handlers and dogs were dispersed among multiple fields and simultaneous activities. There was no live fire and no shot birds. Some people came for both days and some just for one or the other. We had 18 dogs signed up for Saturday and 19 for Sunday, including one or more of the following breeds: Barbet, Clumber Spaniel, English Setter, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Many were beginners.
Photos are below. (Special thanks to Ken Harringer for some really good ones!) Click on any photo to expand and click through the gallery.
The weather cooperated nicely for Saturday, but Sunday was cooler with some light rain. Still, we had two relaxed and fun days to work on some basic training, and we hope that everyone went home with happy and tired dogs, and having a better idea of what they need to focus on over the winter months.
The trainers for the weekend were: Ken Harringer, Betsy Harringer, Steve Roth, Brian Schmidt, and Steve Surprenant. Topics included: introducing dogs to bird scent, basic pointing and flushing techniques, obedience commands essential to field work, e-collar conditioning, and yard work with placeboards.
Since this occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, activities were entirely outdoors and safety protocols including social distancing and masks were required.
Saturday, July 25th 2020 and Sunday, July 26th 2020
10:00 am – 3:00 pm each day Dickerson, MD Hosted by Alex and Steve Roth
This event was for MSDA club members, their families, and their guests. Dogs, too, of course! MSDA provided the meats for grilling and attendees brought side dishes and desserts to share. Split between two days, the event had fewer attendees each day and this allowed for social distancing. As always, the pool was a hit, and there was even a bit of field training in the shade.
Here are pictures from both days. Click on any photo to enlarge.
MSDA’s annual pool party is limited to members and their family and guests. Not an MSDA member? Learn more about us, how to join the club, and sign up for our e-mail list.
MSDA holds two of the largest sporting group conformation shows in the U.S. and, along with those, three days of all-breed obedience and rally trials, breed specialties, bird instinct clinics, and other activities. In 2020, the dates and major activities for MSDA’s events at the Howard County Fairgrounds (just south of I-70) in West Friendship, MD were February 28th – March 1st.
THANK-YOU participants, judges, stewards, trophy sponsors and all volunteers!
MSDA Membership Meeting, dinner, and seminar on Saturday evening.
Also on the schedule were sweepstakes, owner-handled, junior handler, and best bred-by-exhibitor competitions. There was puppy and veteran sweepstakes, a dog show tour and new exhibitor briefing, and morning coffee & doughnuts.
Official results are available at the AKC website:
The following clubs supported entries at the shows: Capital City Cocker Club, Capital Region Flat-Coated Retriever Club, English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America, Irish Setter Club of Greater Richmond, Irish Water Spaniel Club of America, Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac, Lower Susquehanna Irish Setter Club, Maryland Brittany Club, Mid Atlantic Field Spaniel Club, National Capital English Setter Club, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club – USA, Potomac Valley Golden Retriever Club, Susquehanna Valley English Springer Spaniel Club, Sussex Spaniel Club of America, Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America, and Wilderness Pointer Club.
A big THANK-YOU to all who answered the call to work as volunteers and to those who sponsored trophies for our 2020 Spring Event!
The Sharp Shop,
Salty Dog & Sweet P’s Swag,
MFD/Digi-Art Photography and Portraits,
Sunflower Trading Company,
K-9 Fun-Fit, LLC.
More Information: Once again, the chair of this event was Richard Jackson. Please contact him directly with any questions or comments.
We also invite you to learn more about us, and sign up for our e-mail list to be updated (mostly via a monthly newsletter) on all club activities:
MSDA held six Bird Instinct Clinics during the 2020 MSDA Spring Event at the Howard County Fairgrounds. For a bird dog with little or no field experience, this was a great way to get started.
Instinct Clinic is a fun, relaxed, and encouraging activity. The session 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. There is no gunfire and flushed birds fly away. 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 were 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 and in 2020 they were fully booked. All potential bird dogs are welcome at our Instinct Clinics. We had one or more of the following breeds participating: Barbet, 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.