Newsletters

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

MSDA newsletters are sent out approximately monthly to over 600 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 .

Sign up for our e-mail list: 

    (Fields with an asterisk * are required.)



    Interests: ConformationField WorkObedience/Rally

    By signing up for our updates, you agree to receive occasional e-mails from us regarding events, meetings, and other MSDA news. Your dog breeds and interests determine which e-mails are sent to you. We do not share our "opt-in" e-mail list with other organizations.

    Please review your information and check here*



    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 https://mdsportingdog.org/join/. Or, email Secretary@mdsportingdog.org for information and a membership application as a PDF. Attendance at an MSDA meeting or event generally is required before joining. All members are asked to volunteer at a club event at least once per year.

    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 $25 per dog for MSDA members and $30 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.

    So far in 2022, there have been five sessions, in March, April, May, June and September. The next Training Day for Flushing Dogs will be Friday, November 11 at Thornhill Farm in Woodbine, MD. The November session will be land-only and focused on quartering, flushing and retrieving.

    Open registration won’t start until late October and emails will be sent out announcing the registration time and date.

    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.



      If you're not already on our general mailing list, we'll add you to that as well. Our monthly newsletters include general updates on the Training Days as well as information about other club activities and news. You may unsubscribe at any time.
      MSDA does not share email addresses with any other organization.


      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 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 general advice, 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 16-18 dogs, usually divided into two groups. If time allows, we will train on land and water. There will be a mix of dogs and handlers (Newbies, Junior, Senior and Master) in each group. 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.  People with two or more dogs may be required to work in the field first before running their dogs in each setup.

      • 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 and Friday, June 17th at Mount Ararat Farm in Fort Deposit, MD.

      MSDA Upcoming Field Activities Dates:

      • There will be no Training Days scheduled during July and August, to avoid the hot weather.
      • Friday, September 9 (the week before MSDA’s Fall 2022 Hunt Test Weekend). Training Day for Flushing Dogs, at a location yet to be determined
      • 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.

      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 $20 per dog for MSDA members and $25 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.

      Fall 2022 Hunt Test Weekend

      Saturday, September 17th & Sunday September 18th
      9 am – 4 pm
      Rebel Ridge Farms
      295 Woods Road, Elkton, MD 21921

      Something for everyone, including:

      • AKC-licensed Spaniel Hunting Tests (two days, two tests) on Saturday and Sunday.
      • WD (Working Dog) hunt tests for selected spaniel breeds on Sunday only.
      • On Saturday only:
        • Mock Junior Pointing Hunt Test
        • Mock Junior Retrieving Hunt Test
        • Open House for all MSDA members and potential members.

      The rest of this web page is about the Pointing and Retrieving Mock Hunt Tests and the Open House, all on Saturday. Follow the link for information about the Spaniel Hunting Tests and WD Tests.

      MSDA’s Fall Hunt Test Weekend has traditionally been focused on flushing breeds. In 2021, we added an “open house” for members and prospective members. This year, we expanded further to provide Mock Junior AKC Hunt Tests for pointing and retrieving breeds. For those who have done some hunt training, including perhaps at MSDA’s Field Day, and were either curious about pointing or retrieving hunt testing, were getting ready for a first hunt test, or just needed a bit of extra practice (and some feedback), this was a great opportunity. The mock hunt tests were no-pressure, fun and great learning experience.

      21 dogs entered the Mock Hunt Tests with another half dozen signed up for Open House. This included one or more of the following breeds: Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Clumber Spaniel, English Setter, Epagneul Breton, Flat-Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Vizsla, and Weimaraner.

      Here are some photos. (Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the slideshow.)

      Of the Pointing Mock Junior Hunt Test:

      Of the Retrieving Mock Junior Hunt Test:

      And, of course, thanks to all the Pointing, Retrieving, and Open House attendees who contributed… the potluck lunch buffet!

      If you’re on Facebook, more photos are posted on MSDA’s private group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mdsportingdog.

      If you have questions about:

      Last, but not least, if you are an MSDA member, and you learned something or just had a great day with your dog, please consider sharing your progress via our new “Member Milestones“.

      Fall 2022 Spaniel Hunting Tests

      Saturday September 17 (AKC Event #2022441909) and
      Sunday September 18 (AKC Event #2022441910)
      at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD

      ALSO this weekend:

      Mock Junior Hunt Tests for Pointing and for Retrieving breeds and an Open House on Saturday 9/17, and Spaniel Working Dog (WD) tests on Sunday 9/18

      The rest of this web page is about the Spaniel Hunting Tests and WD Tests. Follow the link to learn more about the Pointing and Retrieving mock hunt tests and the Open House.

      MSDA held two days — two separate events — of AKC Spaniel Hunting Tests at Rebel Ridge Farms in Elkton MD. Rebel Ridge provides spacious grounds, ample ponds, and excellent fall cover. (They let the grass grow extra tall just for our hunt test weekend!) Thank-yous all around to the judges, George Cacchio, Noel Cacchio, Mary Lou Dunn and Jean-Marie Tate as well as the gunners, entrants, committee members, other organizers and the many volunteers who make this happen!

      There were 37 entries on Saturday and 34 on Sunday. Also on Sunday, seven dogs participated in Working Dog tests for selected spaniel breeds. In all, we had one or more of the following breeds entered: Boykin Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel, Labrador Retriever , Standard Poodle and Sussex Spaniel.

      Here are some photos. (Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the slideshow.)

      Taken by Ken Harringer:

      A few more:

      And some of the happy recipients of ribbons this weekend:

      If you’re on Facebook, more photos are posted on MSDA’s private group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mdsportingdog.

      If you have questions about these MSDA Spaniel Hunting Tests, please contact Steve Roth via HuntingChair@mdsportingdog.org .

      Last, but not least, if you are an MSDA member, and you learned something or just had a great day with your dog, please consider sharing your progress via our new “Member Milestones“.

      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: