The Rappahannock Bird Dog Training Club (RBDTC) formed Aug., 2012 is an organization of bird dog enthusiasts, hunters and hobbyists with the goal to the develop hunting skills of their dogs and of each other as trainers.
The Club is open to any breed of pointing and flushing dog. We started our second year of membership with 53 members with dog breeds such as (Boykin Spaniel, Labs, Vizslas, GSP, Gordon Setter, Poodle, GWP, Spinone, Weimaraner, English Setter, Munsterlander, Wire Hair Vizslas, Brittany, French Brittany and many more!) and end the season with a membership of 115 member.
The first premise is that no two days are exactly the same, but we do have what we could call a typical training day.
Typically, Jim will have sent an email round one Monday or Tuesday asking for your bird order (number of birds and/or chukar/quail). If you don’t respond and order birds, then there won’t be any for you, unless someone has extra, but don’t count on this to happen.
The running order is first determined by the order of arrival. Many of us who are training our dogs at an advanced level (yes, the hard core types, ha ha) know to arrive early in order to get placed at the beginning of the list. First come, first run so to speak. This doesn’t mean that we run our dogs and leave, but rather that we get to go early and then either rest our dog(s) for the next time when the order circles around. We’ll usually plan on being there the full day and support everyone who shows up. We’re only “hard core” in that we absolutely love being out there working dogs, both our own and supporting everyone else that shows up.
Typically, several (3-5) of us will arrive pretty close together after sun up (yes, the hard core types, ha ha). We’ll conference among ourselves to get a “feel” for what each is trying to achieve with their dogs and how best and most efficiently make use of each other’s talents, dogs, birds and time. We ask:
• Are you just starting the dog on birds? A new puppy for example.
• Is your dog steady on point? Or having a problem with rushing in and seizing the bird.
• Is your dog steady on flush? Or having a problem with breaking and chasing.
• Will your dog honor a brace mate? Or is this an issue for practice.
• Will your dog retrieve to hand?
• How many birds do you want placed in field to achiever your training objective?
Typically will be 3-5 per run.
• Will it help if two dogs run together?
• Can you gun for me and others?
• The list goes on....
As more folks and their dogs arrive, they get worked into the schedule in various ways depending upon the training needs of the dog and handler. The club is not in existence to train your dog for you. If this is your desire, then hire a professional trainer. You must come with an open mind and attitude of learning from everyone. If you do, then everyone will help you be successful. Don’t be embarrassed by any well intentioned comments that are made to help you be a better trainer. We’re all about continuous improvement, both in our dogs and in or ability as a handler. After all, training a bird dog is about team work – you and your four legged partner!