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training your labrador retriever
american kennel club
labrador retriever
loud noises
strong commitment
birds
hunting
dogs
Training Your Labrador Retriever-Retriever Field Trials
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Training Your Labrador Retriever-Retriever Field Trials

Training your Labrador Retriever to run field trials requires a unique set of behaviors. To get started with this rewarding sport you need to work on a few things with your dog. A reliable recall, a compulsive retrieve, and a desire to work are all necessary things that a working retriever needs to know. Getting these under your belt will allow you to compete.

Retriever field trials can be administered by several groups. The AKC (American Kennel Club) has certified Retriever Field Trials. There is also a group called NAHRA (North American Hunting Retriever Association) that administers Retriever Field Trials. The AKC trials can be difficult to compete in unless your dog is absolutely perfect in its behaviors. NAHRA is a bit more lenient.

NAHRA has three levels of competition, Started, Intermediate and Senior Trials. The Started trial is for beginning dogs that have learned the basics of retrieving. The test starts with two runs on "marked" birds. This means that the dog has seen the birds fall. In order to complete these runs the dog must be able to handle gunfire. Loud noises should cause no distress with your dog. The dog must mark the fall, go out and pick up the bird and return it to within 6 feet of the handler. When these are complete, 2 additional marked retrieves in the water are required. The dog must not rough up the birds. Eating them is grounds for disqualification.

The intermediate level increases the difficulty for your dog. There are two marked retrieves on land and two in the water. There is also a blind retrieve. This means that the bird is down in the field and the dog does not see it land. The dog is blind to the location of the bird. In addition, the dog must now retrieve to hand. This means the dog needs to complete the retrieve, return to heal at the handlers side and drop the bird into the hand of the handler. Training your Labrador Retriever at this level takes a strong commitment for both you and your dog. The dog needs to know how to take a straight line, some handling is required for the dog. This means it needs to take direction from the handler. This is done with whistle commands and is trained with the Baseball Drill.

The Senior level ups the difficulty again. Marked retrieves, blind retrieves and multiple birds are thrown and shot. At least one live bird is involved. If you would like to try your hand at retriever field trials, check out the local NAHRA chapter and attend a trial to see what it's all about. The bonus for training your Labrador Retriever in this discipline is that you get an amazing hunting dog in the process. When you are finished competing, you can spend some quality time out in the woods with your pal.


Street Talk

Like you say, a lot of hard work but so very rewarding.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Hi C Just wanted you to know that I Pined this article yesterday and it was repined by five gals. I assume they were dog lovers. It's a great article and a great pic.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Very informative

Reply
  about 6 years ago

This is a well written article enjoyed learning about training retrievers.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I love labs. Such great dogs. We used to have a lab mix when we lived in a rural area. Disappeared one day. Never found him. He wasn't a competition dog, but I still miss him.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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