What Comes Next
With our NAVHDA Natural Ability tests behind us, here is what's in store for the rest of the year. It seems like all I have done for the last year has been in preparation for our NA tests. Of course we have done much more than that, like tried dock diving, but the NA test has always been in the back of my mind. Now that they are behind us, it feels a bit... weird. So what's next?
If you're not familiar with NAVHDA, there are two main (but technically 3) divisions: Natural Ability and Utility. Natural ability is just that, testing a dog's natural ability and doesn't require a whole lot of training, just exposure. Utility involves a little of everything: steadiness, retrieving to hand, duck searching, a lot of obedience, and more. It's a huge jump from NA to UT. I'd like to think that I have set Blitz up to be more prepared beyond just NA, but there's no doubt we aren't anywhere near ready for UT. That is our ultimate goal, but I don't have a timeframe.
AKC Hunt Tests I don't know a lot about the AKC tests, but I do know that I would like to try them! Again, this is a huge jump from what we have been doing, but I think it's realistic to set our sights on it for some point in the future!
Wild Birds Wild birds are next on our list! Neither of us have had any exposure to wild birds and that is a huge goal of mine. We don't have a ton of opportunities here in North Carolina, but we are scheduled to go woodcock hunting in December! Blitz has yet to have birds shot over her, so I would love for that to happen soon. I certainly have no idea what I am doing so I will have to enlist the help of someone who does to make that happen...
This winter will be the perfect time to keep working on what I can at home, which is a lot of obedience. Retrieving to hand is a big part of both NAVHDA and AKC Hunt Tests, so we will be working on retrieving as much as possible.
The winter weather here in NC shouldn't hinder Blitz's condition too much, but it is good to keep up with is so that we aren't too far behind next year. We will be doing a lot of body awareness, conditioning, and stretching inside.
Of course, taking some time to rest and have fun will also be a priority these next few months! But as any GSP owner knows, there really is no such thing as rest with these dogs ;). What are your plans for the rest of this year?