Training starts at a young age and continues to the finished gundog. Training is broken down into beginning training, intermediate training and advanced training. Puppies are introduced to the hunting elements and encouraged thru training techniques to learn pointing and steadiness thru the flush, tracking, play retrieving, and swimming. With these foundation skills a pup is ready for the NAVHDA Natural Ability test.
Intermediate training starts when a pup is around 12 months old or when they have completed the NAVHDA NA test. Trained retrieve is the first step in the basics for intermediate level training. Retrieve training is broken down into several basic elements: hold and carry, reach for an object and pick it up, extended distance retrieves, dead game retrieves and live game retrieves. The average time required to go thru this level of training is around 3 months. Some dogs will progress faster and some will require additional sessions.
At the same time the retrieve training is going on, the dog will also going thru steadiness training. Steadiness is also broken down into elements: steady in the presence of game, steady to flush/wing, steady to shot and steady to fall. This training is done without the dog pointing birds in the field. Steadiness training is administered without pointing so the dog does not associate corrections with pointing game in the field. At the end of steadiness training we move to the field where the dog will find and point game and minimal corrections are needed to maintain the steadiness training already learned.
The objective of doing the retrieve training and steadiness training in the same time-frame is to bring together at the end of the 3 months. Steadiness on game and retrieving game come together in a simulated hunting environment where birds are pointed, flushed, shot and retrieved to hand.