NA Test

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Tests

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Re: NA Test

Postby flitecontrol » Thu May 30, 2019 8:08 am

ryanr wrote: And yeah, when I tested my latest GWP it was 96 degrees with a blazing sun when we got to the water, a spring-fed pond. Sure enough she went right into the water, grabbed the bumper and then turned and looked at the judges and I as if to say, "it's nice and cool in here, you can come in but I'm not coming out." Hello 3 in cooperation. I wasn't upset in the least, heck I was laughing. Even more funny is she's a thousand times more cooperative than my drahthaar and he got 4s in everything at his NA.


flitecontrol responded: So how long did she stay in the water? Did she bring the bumper to you when she got out? How long did she stay for the repeat swim? Knocking a dog down in cooperation for lingering in a cool pond on a hot day when the dog could be overheated isn't good judging IMO, unless there was somethig else that justified it.

ryanr wrote:Isn't good judging? The judging was spot on. She didn't want to come out and was playing games not to come out. Of course some of it had to do with the hot weather and nice cool pond but I called her a couple times and she didn't come out. Textbook not cooperating. The judges can only judge what they see and what the dog does but people always want to look for excuses.

My point about comparing my two dogs NA Test wasn't to call into question the judging, it was to demonstrate that on any given day a any pup can do something you don't expect. Blaming the judges though is the least constructive reaction and does nothing to help you and your dog. I took that moment of uncooperativeness for what it was, something I needed to give a little more attention to.


From the limited description in your first post, I stand by my response. Your expansion as to what all went on explains why the dog was rightfully marked down in Cooperation.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: NA Test

Postby Don » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:02 pm

The NAVHDA , Aims and Rules are clearly documented. Why beat a dead horse? The judges will tell you they only see your dog for a very small snapshot of their life and they judge what they see. People are always trying to change things to suit, and make excuses. I do it until I realize it was probably my inadequacy.
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Re: NA Test

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:00 pm

Don wrote:The NAVHDA , Aims and Rules are clearly documented. Why beat a dead horse? The judges will tell you they only see your dog for a very small snapshot of their life and they judge what they see. People are always trying to change things to suit, and make excuses. I do it until I realize it was probably my inadequacy.


Moses did not bring the AIMS document down from the mountain and notions it is not to ever be questioned is not a healthy culture for any organization to have.
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Re: NA Test

Postby Don » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:06 pm

So Average you would like to provide video tapes of what your dog had done and reserve judgement until the pup is at least 2 years old in case you can justify a better water performance.........LOL.....good luck with that.
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Re: NA Test

Postby AverageGuy » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:56 pm

Don wrote:So Average you would like to provide video tapes of what your dog had done and reserve judgement until the pup is at least 2 years old in case you can justify a better water performance.........LOL.....good luck with that.


No idea what you are talking about now Don.

I posted a video of my dog at 4 and 8 months boldly retrieving birds from water, to provide a visual illustration of what we were discussing in another thread which I did not want to hi-jack. The dog hunted in 6 states before he was a year old and earned a Prize 1 UT at 17 months at the most difficult duck search water I have seen out of 6 test sites.

I am comfortable the dog needs no justification.

Public Forums are for discussion and I tee'd one up relative to another thread. Simple as that.
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Re: NA Test

Postby jlw034 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:55 pm

A lot of interesting thoughts.

Looking at the test as a whole: the dog shouldn't need to see a bird to search a field, shouldn't need to see a bird to run a track. Should it need to see a bird to go in the water?

And I don't know if its such a steep penalty. A dog could get a 102 prize 3 if it needed a bird. That's not so bad.
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Re: NA Test

Postby KJ » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:13 pm

AverageGuy,
I certainly get your point, but here are a few things to think about.

If you took 20 dogs that swam willingly for a bumper, and another 20 dogs that would only swim for a bird (but not a bumper), I would bet money that the first group would be full of better water dogs and probably just better dogs in general. That is why I am in favor of the scoring, but I know there are always individual exceptions.

Dogs that won't swim for a bumper almost always lack at least one of the following: water love/confidence, desire, cooperation, or a strong natural retrieve. Retrieving is mostly cooperation (but not completely) and NAVHDA doesn't judge it anyway. I always prefer a dog that pounds the water for a bumper twice and wants more because it shows that the dog is pretty solid in all of the areas above. Most dogs won't retrieve from the water because they lack water love/confidence, or desire, even though the owners think "they just don't like the bumper" and it almost always shows up later in the duck search. Occasionally it is cooperation or retrieving instinct. While water love and desire seem to continually grow with age; cooperation is something that goes through various peaks and valleys as a young dog matures. I usually find that cooperation is at its lowest after the dog has completed hunting season and is in that 12-16 month old stage (teenager!), which is why I would much rather run a pup in the 6-10 month window, when possible.

I have tested a few dogs that I worried some about them retrieving the bumper on test that were elite in the water love and desire areas, but they either lacked cooperation or a strong natural retrieving instinct. They weren't interested in the bumper, but they would swim fine for a rock splash, or if I just went to the edge of the water, pointed, and said "Go get a bird!" and they would take off swimming looking for a duck to chase.
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Re: NA Test

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:04 pm

Yes I expect the majority of the dogs which need a bird to swim are lacking something at that point in their development.

I think Judges should have the same discretion to score what they see in this area as they do all other areas of the test vs a predetermined edict ceiling, but do not expect to carry the day with that point of view.

In the bigger scheme of breeding better dogs it may be better to error on the side the rules currently call for even if a few individual dogs get shorted in the process.
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Re: NA Test

Postby JONOV » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:06 pm

AverageGuy wrote:I pinged a Senior Judge on this. Answer was the moment a bird enters the equation you are judging prey drive. Certainly an element of truth in that.

However It does not eliminate the ability to make a judgement as to the pup's desire and confidence in entering and swimming in water. What you see is what you see. The birds used in the test are dead so it's not like the pup is presented with a live struggling bird to heighten it's prey drive to a max level.

This photo illustrates why that does not dismiss my questioning of the Judging standard in this area. It is not an innate love of water that drives any dog to enter ice water on a swift running river to retrieve 30+ head of waterfowl in a day. Prey drive and training are what does that. And it is prey drive that produces dogs which score the 4 needed to get a Prize 1 in Duck Search.

So if prey drive is in play in judging a puppy's genetics I fail to see the wisdom in discounting it severely in ALL cases as a matter of policy vs leaving the Judges with the normal level of discretion to score it based on their actual observations of the puppy being evaluated.

The issue has been cussed and discussed before and probably will again. When Hunt tests wander from core hunting objectives I start asking questions is how I roll. Appreciate the discussion.

I see where you're coming from, however, I think that "desire and confidence" and "prey drive" are a little like cooperation and obedience. In that, they're intertwined but certainly wholly separate. I've seen very few dogs that refuse to swim that showed no interest in the dummy; I can think of one that was simply more interested in investigating the shoreline than what was going on with the handler. No, they dance and whine at the shore, take plaintative steps towards it, but don't make the bridge into swimming. The Dummy just isn't enough motivation to do what you're asking. You're asking the dog to step out into a different medium and explore.

Similar to obedience and cooperation. Obedience isn't judged at the NA test. But I don't think I'd want to enter a dog that didn't have a decent recall.
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Re: NA Test

Postby AverageGuy » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:30 am

The WPG that prompted this discussion in another thread was an example of no interest in the bumper and much more interesting things to explore along the bank vs trepidation over entering water. Its water entry and swimming was head and shoulders better than a couple of dogs over twice its age, which took 5 minutes of begging to swim a yard for a bumper and got higher scores and Prize 1 overall. That a bird was involved causes some folks to dismiss this difference entirely but I am not in that camp.

This is not a crusade for me, just a topic which came up and I had time to comment on.

The true 4 puppies are easy to score (at least in this area) as they leap right in and retrieve the bumper at least to the bank. I think we all easily agree on those puppies.

If I was running the show I would include that natural retrieve to the bank as a criteria for a 4. A strong genetic natural retrieve is a critical skill in a Vdog's tool kit and makes developing and training them a pleasure, so including no measure or notation of it in a NA test geared towards breeding better dogs does not make sense to me.

It is sorting through the 0-3 scores that become more subjective. Dogs which take 5 minutes of teasing to swim tentatively for short distances would be a 2 on my card. Dogs which need a bird would be a 2 or 3 depending on what I saw vs a rule telling me it must always be no higher than a 2. I will not test enough puppies in my remaining years for this to be an issue for me personally.

On the whole I see NA scoring becoming perhaps too lenient to best serve it's core purpose of breeding better dogs (I see some gifts awarded in the area of tracking fairly often, we all do not agree on what we want to see in a puppy's search ...) and then we have this specific area in the water test where the scoring edict lacks flexibility to score based on each puppy's specific performance.
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Re: NA Test

Postby Urban_Redneck » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:39 am

The stated goal of the NA test (without looking it up) is to identify those pups that are worthy of further training. Using a bird at water substitutes a pup's prey drive for the desire to follow a command at water. You certainly can argue the bumper does the same to a lesser degree ;)

After a few years of volunteering at tests and training days I'm pretty confident many folks (including me) miss the early window that pup can breeze through the NA. In my case it was the common desire to test with my "home chapter" at the time. We still prized 1, but 4 or 5 months earlier, would have been easier and probably brought a 112 vs 108.
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