Newsletters

Here’s a link to our most recent newsletter, from April 2022. (From there, you can read earlier issues also.)

MSDA newsletters are sent out approximately monthly to over 550 subscribers on our e-mail list. We invite you to sign up below. If you have an event or announcement that you would like to include in the newsletter and/or on our calendar page, please email Secretary@mdsportingdog.org .

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    Learn more about us here.

    If you are interested in joining MSDA, you can learn more about membership and fill out an on-line application at http://mdsportingdog.org/join/. Or, email Secretary@mdsportingdog.org for information and a membership application as a PDF. Attendance at an MSDA meeting or event is required before joining. All members are asked to volunteer at a club event at least once per year.

    MSDA 2022 Members’ Pool Party

    Saturday, July 16, 2022
    AND
    Sunday, July 17, 2022
    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 trying something different this year: instead of a date and a rain date. “Pool Party” will be open for both Saturday and Sunday. Choose to attend either (or both) days. If something comes up, or you don’t like the weather forecast for one day, just switch to the other one! But, sorry, no overnight camping.

    Much more information about this event is below the RSVP form, so scroll down to learn more.

    Planning to attend? RSVP using this form so we know how many to expect.

      Total number of people attending on Saturday, July 16th:

      Total number of people attending on Sunday, July 17th:

      Check out the photos from last year’s party.

      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 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 both days. 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 if the weather looks doubtful for one day, you can easily attend the other day. If you’ve RSVPed, we’ll let you know by e-mail or phone if the party must be cancelled either day.

      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!

      Training Days for Flushing Dogs

      MSDA is holding Training Days for flushing dogs. Sessions are primarily on Fridays, approximately monthly. The typical day goes from 8:30 am to 3:30 or 4 pm, but times may vary. The per-day fee is $15 per dog for MSDA members and $20 per dog for non-members. Birds are extra. Time with a professional trainer may be available for an additional fee. Advance online registration and payment is required for each session.

      The next Training Day for Flushing Dogs is Friday, June 17th, at a location to be announced. Online registration typically opens about two weeks before the Training Day date, and the link to the registration page will be posted here when available.

      Please direct questions to the Event Chair, Steve Surprenant, via Surprenant@mdsportingdog.org.

      The first Training Day of the season was March 18 and some photos, taken by Lori Taylor, are shown below. Click on any photo to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

      The second Training Day of 2022 was April 29. More of Lori Taylor’s photos are shown below. Click on any photo to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

      Much more information about these Training Days is below. If you would like to be notified when dates are selected and when registrations will open and close for each training day, just fill out this form.


        I'm potentially interested in the MSDA Training Days for Flushing Dogs. Please keep me informed.



        Overview:

        The objective of these Training Days is to prepare dogs to enter and successfully pass an AKC Spaniel Hunt Test, or for you to just enjoy time in the field with your dog. The plan is to offer fun, constructive upland/flushing training with live birds without a lot of down time, along with an opportunity to continue old friendships, make new friends, and get more involved with MSDA’s activities.

        Each Training Day will be set up as a “mock” Spaniel Hunt Test that will allow training at four levels (Newbie, Junior, Senior and Master). There will be one or more judges available in the field, but there will be no scoring. Exercises available will include land quartering/ flushing/ retrieving, hunt dead, water retrieves and a water blind. Live and/or thawed birds (pigeons, chukar, or pheasant) will be available for advance purchase.

        Each training day is expected to accommodate 20-25 dogs, divided into two groups. There will be two setups – one group will work on quartering/ flushing/ retrieving while the other group will work on hunt dead, water retrieves and water blinds. There will be a mix of dogs and handlers (Newbies, Junior, Senior and Master) in each group. Each group will run one setup before a break and another setup after the break. Handlers may only train with one group on a given day. We may have to adjust our group format depending upon the number of handlers, dogs, and abilities. There will be a maximum of three dogs per person per setup – someone can bring more than three dogs, but can only run three dogs in each setup. People with two or more dogs are required to work in the field first before running their dogs in each setup. The mock test will be set up at the Master level and will be shortened/made easier as appropriate for newbie, junior and senior dogs who come to the line:

        • Junior dogs may try hunt dead.
        • On water, retrieve distances from the starting line will be shortened as appropriate for Junior and Senior dogs.
        • Senior dogs may attempt a water blind.
        • Master level hunt dead, water retrieves and water blinds can be set up to be more difficult than one would expect in a spaniel hunting test.

        Additionally, registrants for Training Day may have an option to train with Trish Jackson, a professional spaniel/upland trainer. If you choose this option, you will spend the day in the training group led by Trish where you will not only get a significant amount of one-on-one time with her, you will also be able to listen in as she works with other dogs and handlers, and watch occasional demonstrations with Trish and her cockers. The fee for this is an additional $25. If Trish is available for a particular date, there will be an option to sign up for this via the registration form. However, the actual payment for working with Trish Jackson will be made directly to her at the Training Day. Trish is an internationally-recognized training professional. She has trained field champions and master hunters over the years and has several dogs in the ASC Field Hall of Fame. She is an active breeder, avid hunter, highly-requested hunting guide, and a firm believer in field obedience.

        Although we will take a midday break for lunch, food will not be provided. Please bring your own lunch, snacks, water and other refreshments.

        Dates:

        There will be six to eight Training Days during the year, no more than once a month on average. Due to potential heat and bird availability issues, we will most likely avoid training in late July and August; for cold weather reasons, we may avoid January and February. In general, we will try to schedule dates to avoid major holidays and conflicts with local flushing dog events as well as other MSDA activities.

        Most Training Days for Flushing Dogs will be held on Fridays. Friday was chosen so we would have less competition for property and birds with other club training days that occur on a weekend and to avoid creating conflicts with AKC Spaniel Hunt Tests that typically occur on weekends. We know Fridays may be challenging for some people that work, but we will aim to select dates several months in advance so people can plan ahead. The training calendar be a little fluid – e.g., we may initially select McKee-Beshers WMA as a training spot and later hear that a field trail will be held on the same date, so we may change our training date and/or location.

        So far in 2022, there have been Training Days on Friday March 18 and on Friday April 29, both at Thornhill Farm in Woodbine, MD, and on Friday, May 20th at Mount Ararat Farm in Fort Deposit, MD.

        MSDA Upcoming Field Activities Dates:

        • Friday, June 17 (location to be announced). Training Day for Flushing Dogs.
        • There will be no Training Days scheduled during July and August, to avoid the hot weather. We’ll resume in the fall, possibly in early September.
        • Saturday & Sunday, September 17-18. Two day – two events – of Spaniel Hunting Tests at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD. All flushing breeds are welcome to enter. These events are pending AKC approval. Much more information will be on this website once the tests are approved. Entries will be via HuntSecretary.

        Locations:

        The goal is to train at different locations throughout the year, but that’s not to say that we won’t repeat locations in any given year. The “default” training location is Thornhill Farm in Woodbine, MD. Unless we have another property lined up, the training will occur there. This allows us to have a site where we know we can train each time. Other potential locations include Shady Grove in Remington, Virginia, Rebel Ridge Farms, the C&D Canal dog training area in Delaware, McKee-Beshers WMA, Indian Springs WMA, Port Deposit and a few others.

        Fees and Registration:

        The per-day fees are $15 per dog for MSDA members and $20 per dog for non-members. If you are not sure if you are currently a club member, or would like to join MSDA, contact the club secretary, Pamela DeSmidt, at Secretary@mdsportingdog.org. Bird fees will be set based on current costs; these can vary considerably during the year. The number of birds per dog may be limited for each session. If you are unsure about whether to order birds, or how many to order, please contact the Training Days committee chair, Steve Surprenant, at Surprenant@mdsportingdog.org before you register.

        Registration and payment for all sessions will be online only and will be accepted in the order in which they are received. No email or phone entries will be accepted. Registration is not complete until payment is received and you have received your detailed confirmation email; after payment is made, there will be no refunds unless you are placed on a waitlist.

        We are using PayPal to process the online payments. Major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. However, you do not need to have, or create, a PayPal account to pay online. PayPal does not share your credit card information with MSDA.

        Registration for each Training Day will open about two weeks in advance of the training date and will close about one week in advance (so we know for sure how many birds to buy). Registration could close earlier if the day fills up.

        We will try to keep the registration page updated, but, if sessions fill up too quickly, you may be placed on a waitlist. You will be notified of this when you receive your detailed confirmation email. Depending on the training location and availability of volunteers, we may be able to accommodate a few extra registrations. However, if you are waitlisted, and do not get a spot by the time registrations close, you may choose either to receive a full refund or to roll your registration over to the next Training Day (putting you at the front of the line for that session).

        If you have any questions regarding these training days, please contact the event chair, Steve Surprenant, at Surprenant@mdsportingdog.org.

        Some Fine Print:

        All attendees will be required to sign an MSDA liability release. Most of you have already signed this on your membership form or when attending another MSDA activity. If we have your form on file, you do not need to sign again. Some locations used for Training Days also may require their own liability release. Links to these will be provided on the registration page for that date. Please read these and be sure that you are willing to sign before you register for the Training Day.

        Owners and handlers are reminded that they are responsible for their own dog’s actions and that good sportsmanship is expected at all times. If dogs (or humans!) exhibit inappropriate behavior or aggression, you will be directed to leave the Training Day immediately and may be excluded from future MSDA training sessions. Such decisions are made exclusively by the event chair, or other event committee member in the chair’s absence.

        2022 Spring Spaniel Hunting Tests

        Saturday May 7, 2022
        & Sunday May 8, 2022
        Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD

        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 all eligible flushing breeds were welcome.

        Yes, it rained on Saturday. But hunt testers are made of sturdy stuff. And, they have bright orange raincoats! Either way, the dogs don’t seem to mind. Here are some photos of the weekend, courtesy of Ken Harringer.

        Rebel Ridge Farms is a 250+ acre private property located in northeastern Maryland. Many photos and an aerial tour of the property are available on the Rebel Ridge Farms website.

        Not just for spaniels, the hunting tests are open to all eligible flushing breeds. Currently, these are: Airedale Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Poodle (Miniature and Standard), Sussex Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel. Dogs of these breeds recorded with the Purebred Alternative Listing Program/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) or dogs with Conditional Registration are eligible to participate. Spayed and neutered dogs are eligible to participate. Bitches in season are not eligible to participate, nor are they allowed on the grounds. Dogs with Limited Registration are eligible to participate. All dogs must be six months of age or older.

        Please direct any questions or comments concerning these hunt tests to the Event Chair, Steve Roth via HuntingChair@mdsportingdog.org .

        Legislative Issues Discussion Group

        MSDA has started an e-mail based discussion group using Groups.io. The purpose of the group is to share information, on a timely basis, about local and federal legislation and other regulations directly affecting dogs, especially sporting dogs, and their owners and breeders.

        MSDA’s Legislative Issues Advisor is Darin Cox. You may contact him directly via cox@mdsportingdog.org , but really, if you have something to say, you should join the group!

        Or visit the group’s home page at https://groups.io/g/MSDALegislativeIssues

        To join the discussion, if you’re new to groups.io, you will need to provide your email address, create a password, and respond to a confirmation email sent to you.

        Opinions expressed in this group are those of the individual participants and not of MSDA as an organization.

        This is a “private” group. Messages posted to the group will not be publicly available at groups.io. So, the group will not be listed in the public directory of groups on Groups.io, and the message archive will be viewable only by group members. Also, message content will not be discoverable by web search engines. However, messages will be shared with other group participants and MSDA cannot control what anyone does with the content that lands in their own email inbox.

        Currently, you do not need to be an MSDA member to join this group. However, the group’s size is limited to 100 participants. If it begins to fill up, we may give priority to club members.

        Barn Hunt Seminar

        Saturday April 23, 2022
        9 am – 4 pm
        Superpup in Severn, MD

        MSDA hosted a full-day Barn Hunt Seminar by Superpup. This seminar was targeted at beginners.

        Barn Hunt and Rat Games are the two prime rat hunting games in the Mid-Atlantic.  This seminar was designed to introduce the dogs to tunnels made of straw bales and to climbing on bales, introduce them to a rat in a tube, and introduce handlers to the basic rules of the two venues.  Along the way, the dogs and handlers practiced on both Instinct and Novice-level courses and learned some basic handling skills. 

        The seminar was lots of fun: dogs, handlers and the instructor all had a great time. Dogs attending included three Brittanys, a French Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Irish Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, Mini Wirehaired Dachshund, and a Welsh Springer Spaniel. Some pictures are posted below. Click on any photo to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

        If you’re not familiar with Barn Hunt, there is a lot more information on the Barn Hunt Association website. MSDA also has a video on YouTube (see below) in which MSDA members provide tips and share their experiences, including videos of their own dogs. This presentation was recorded at the March 2022 MSDA membership meeting, not long before the seminar.

        Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but titles can be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). Rat Games has many additional games, most of which are skills-based (i.e., tunnels, distance, speed, etc.). They also have a veterans class where the rats are hidden either on the ground or only one level up so the older dogs don’t feel like they have to climb, if they don’t want to.

        Please note that the rats are pets and were well-protected in their tubes during the seminar. They are also trained to this sport, not just stuck in a tube in a trial situation. Safety for the rats is critical to this sport and is something that is addressed during the seminar.

        Loreen Peterson was the Barn Hunt Seminar Chair and was the on-site host for MSDA. If you have questions about the seminar or about barn hunting in general, contact Loreen at Peterson@mdsportingdog.org .

        Field Day 2022

        Saturday April 9, 2022
        8 am – 4 pm
        Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD

        MSDA’s Annual Field Day — a FUN day of field work for bird dogs of all experience and skill levels — was Saturday April 9 at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton, MD. Field Day started in 2017, and this was our sixth.

        Photos are at the bottom of this page. Also, if you’re on Facebook, MSDA’s private group there (https://www.facebook.com/groups/mdsportingdog) is overflowing with pictures and comments about Field Day 2022!

        You do not need to be a club member to attend Field Day. Like most other MSDA events, it is open to all dog lovers. 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 attended! Participants included one or more dogs of the following breeds: Airedale Terrier, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Clumber Spaniel, Curly-Coated Retriever, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Epagneul Breton, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Red & White Setter, Labrador Retriever, Pointer/Llewellin Setter, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Spinone Italiano, Sussex Spaniel, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, and Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Not really “participating”, but in residence, were a pair of nesting Bald Eagles tending to their two eaglets.

        To keep all working groups small and busy, Field Day was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. CGC (Canine Good Citizen) testing also was offered midday, and this year participants enjoyed a “decadent desserts buffet” at the clubhouse. Field Day is designed to accommodate everyone from true beginner dogs (who have never met a bird) to experienced master hunters. It is mostly divided into groups according to hunting style: Flushing, Pointing, and Retrieving. Group leaders and volunteers include very experienced handlers, hunters, hunt test judges, trainers and gunners. Group activities and individual attention for handlers and dog(s) are based on your training goals for the day: 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.

        Click on any photo to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

        Photos of the Pointing Group sessions, by Carolina Johnson:

        Photos of the Retrieving Group working at the water, by Carolina Johnson:

        Photos from Tiffany Pfluger:

        Photos of the Flushing Group by Lori Taylor:

        Photos of the Pointing Group by Michelle Turton

        Even more photos from Field Day!

        2022 Spring Event

        Friday March 4 – Sunday March 6
        Howard County Fairgrounds
        West Friendship, MD

        MSDA holds two of the largest sporting group dog shows in the U.S. and, along with those, three days of all-breed obedience and rally trials, breed specialties (probably more Golden Retrievers and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers than you have ever seen in one place!), bird instinct clinics and other activities.

        The following clubs supported entries at the shows: Capital City Cocker Club, Inc., Clumber Spaniel Club of the Carolinas, English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, Inc., 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, Inc., and Wilderness Pointer Club of Virginia.

        Unofficial results are available at:

        THANK-YOU participants, judges, stewards and all volunteers!

        Once again, the chair of this event was Richard Jackson. Please contact him at ShowChairPerson@mdsportingdog.org and/or MSDA’s President Steve Roth via President@mdsportingdog.org with any comments. All feedback is very much appreciated!

        David Sombach Photography took all of the “win” photos for the weekend. Photos are available for viewing and purchase online at his website. You will need to enter an email address to view the gallery. Then click on “Maryland Sporting Dog Wknd 2022” to see all the pictures.

        If you attended the event, you also may have noticed Bryan Sirotkin roaming around taking candid photos with his cameras and (very) big lenses. Literally hundreds of his photos are available via https://bsphotography.net/ , or access them directly at: https://bsphotography.zenfolio.com/msda2022 . You will need to enter an email address to view the gallery. Then, click on “Next” and/or “Slideshow” (in the upper right corner of the screen) to move easily through the photos. All photos are available for purchase.

        Mark your calendars for Spring Event 2023 – March 3-5, 2023!

        2022 Bird Dog Instinct Clinics

        MSDA held Bird Instinct Clinics on Friday March 4th, Saturday March 5th, and Sunday March 6th during the MSDA Spring Event at the Howard County Fairgrounds (West Friendship). For a bird dog with little or no field experience, this was a great way to get started.

        This is a fun, relaxed, and encouraging activity. It’s not a test, nor a training session, but more like ultimate playtime for sporting dogs! 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.

        Some pictures taken at the Instinct Clinic sessions are displayed at the bottom of this page. Click on any photo to enlarge it and move through the entire gallery.

        Bryan Sirotkin of BSPhotography also photographed the dogs in the flushing/ retrieving breeds’ field on Sunday afternoon, March 6th. Literally hundreds of his photos of that session are available via https://bsphotography.net/ or access them directly at https://bsphotography.zenfolio.com/p1433405. You will need to enter an email address to view the gallery. Then, click on “Next” and/or “Slideshow” (in the upper right corner of the screen) to move easily through the photos. All photos are available for purchase.

        Feedback is always very welcome. Please send your comments to Steve Roth at HuntingChair@mdsportingdog.org or Pamela DeSmidt via Secretary@mdsportingdog.org .

        And, if you and your dog had fun at the Instinct Clinic, consider attending MSDA’s annual Field Day on Saturday, April 9th for an introduction to field training your bird dog.

        2022 photos:

        MD World of Pets Expo, Jan 2022

        The Expo is always fun and this year was no exception. The weather mostly cooperated and the turnout, both at the event in general and at the MSDA booth, was excellent.

        MSDA had a highly visible location near the dock diving and lots of people (and their pets) came by the booth. There were dogs for sure, and also other pets including a goat on a leash, a pig in a wagon, and even a snake! People asked questions, learned about MSDA and our activities, and picked up information about future events. Special thanks to Sally Eck, who organizes our presence at this event each year, and to Cooper the Clumber Spaniel who spent time at the booth greeting 2022 visitors.

        We plan to be back next year! If you have questions and/or would like to help with MSDA’s booth at the World of Pets in 2023, please contact Sally Eck via pointer@mdsportingdog.org