Our first NAVHDA training day

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Cheeky, and how she feels about taking turns!

This picture says it all! This was Cheeky after trying out field work and tracking and having to wait for a second turn at a track. Let’s just say, she was cracked! But how did we get here? You’ll remember a couple weeks ago, Cheeky & Louie did a NAVHDA seminar. Well, that day was an introduction to what we did today — real training in a bunch of stations. Bo & Louie couldn’t make it today because Lauren was coming in town for Spring Break from grad school — no complaints there, we know Louie was going to be so excited to see his Mom!

Back to stations — today, Cheeky’s schedule was field, tracking, obedience, whoa training, and retrieving.

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Cheeky on the stake out line before field work — none of the puppies had figured out what was coming there way yet!

Since Cheeky had some bird experience (back at 10 weeks) she was the last one to take a turn in our rotation today. And her turn couldn’t come too soon! As she was watching all the other puppies get a turn at chasing down a chukar, she became a bit vocal on the stake out! As soon as she was clipped up to her check cord, she was released and started hunting with enthusiasm. She found the bird, pointed, and then moved in, flushing the bird and having a ball. Safe to say we can probably start breaking her to the pop gun. Our station leader, Jack, even commented that he was glad we were ending the field portion with Cheeky because you could see the progression of a dog that is passed the curiosity phase and has moved on to a ton of enthusiasm and excitement for hunting. We’ll take that praise!

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The cutest little Cheeky baby!

Next up was tracking. Cheeky LOVED it. She has never seen a pheasant before, so sniffing the big pile of feathers, she got all amped and then sniffed her way to the great big bird! She was SO interested in the ginormous bird she found! We headed back to the stake out line and waited to see if we had time for a second track. When we did, she totally improved! Stuck that nose straight down and PULLED me to that bird! The guys leading this station were so impressed with her tracking skills, that they extended out a track to see if she could get it done; and she did! At this point, I was super sad I didn’t enter the NAVHDA test! The test is already full, so we might try to get on the waitlist instead.

After tracking was obedience and Cheeky is a star at that aspect. We’ve been working on her sit stay at home and in agility class, plus, she has been a natural free stacker since 8 weeks old. This makes for an easy “whoa” training rotation!

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Cheeky bounding out and picking up the bumper!

Finally, we rounded out our day with retrieving, and Cheeky was FANTASTIC!!! She retrieved with a TON of enthusiasm! The guys at that station were so impressed, asking how we already had such a good retriever. Our dogs have always had a natural retrieve and we work really hard to nurture that instinct and perfect that skill. We’ve been lucky that Cheeky has always been very toy driven, especially for tennis balls! Retrieving those with Halo has become a nightly game and it translated really well to bumpers!

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Cheeky, running full tilt back with her bumper!

Next training day is in a month and we absolutely can’t wait!! And FOR SURE filling out that entry form when we get home! Hopefully, the waitlist is short!

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