Upland Dog Fundamentals Workshop, June 26-27

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 announce a late-June training workshop to be 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 a higher level.

Jordan Horak's dog Nattie on Cato Board

This workshop will present the fundamentals of yard training for sporting dogs with a focus on:

  • Foundation-building exercises and drills in the yard geared to puppies through adult dogs, with AKC Junior‑, Senior- or Master-level goals.
  • 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.
  • Transitioning from yard work to field work.
  • Building a solid foundation for a successful long-term relationship with your dog for upland activities.

There will some field time using live birds on the second day. 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.

The workshop will be held on Saturday June 26 and Sunday June 27 at Thornhill Farm in Woodbine, MD. This will be a “hands-on” workshop limited to 12 working teams (dogs and handlers) and 12 auditors. Working teams will receive instructional guidance directly from Jordan, and all working dogs will participate both days. For those that register as a working team, we are planning an optional third day on Monday June 28 for private lessons with Jordan.

We’re still working on some of the details, and much more information will be posted here within the next few weeks. Registration for the seminar weekend and Monday’s optional private lessons is expected to open approximately mid-March. MSDA members will be able to sign up for the seminar at a discounted rate.

Questions may be directed to the Event Chair, Steve Surprenant.