Saltgrass Retrievers participates in primarily AKC Hunt Test. There are other venues with similar formats but we feel that the AKC events are the most challenging and valuable test of a dogs abilities and training.
Hunt tests not only extend the opportunity for you to spend time with your dog outside of hunting season but also gives you a better trained and prepared partner for when season rolls back around.
These tests are broken down into 3 levels and your dog can start at any level you think he's prepared for. I will be handle your dog at these events or gladly teach you how to do it yourself and be successful. Feel free to contact Saltgrass Retrievers with any questions about getting your dog involved with hunt tests!
Dogs are allowed to be gently restrained by the handler at the line while the birds are thrown. The test consist of 2 series, each series involves 2 single marks thrown one at a time. One series is land retrieves and one series of singles are presented to the dog involving water. The dog must deliver to hand each time.
This test also is 2 series however the difficulty is increased. Dogs can not be restrained by the handler, must be reasonably steady. Each series involves 2 marks but they are thrown in sequence so the dog must remember 1 of them and complete a double retrieve, delivering to hand each time. Marks are within 100 yards each time. The dog must also run 1 blind retrieve in each series and must sit quietly and honor another working dog without interfering. Senior hunters also face other challenges like diversion shots and diversion birds. Dogs are tested on land and water.
This is the cream of the crop! Achieving this level shows that your dog can handle any hunting situation it comes across. At the master level dogs are challenged with the utmost in complexity and difficulty. The test consist of 3 series, land, water and a series that's a combination of land and water. Dogs are presented with marks and blinds that can exceed 100 yrds. and are judged much more stringently. Each series can contain 2,3, or even 4 marks and multiple blind retrieves. Dogs must be perfectly steady at all times even when honoring the other working dog. In addition to very challenging marks and blinds dogs at this level will also see diversion shots, diversion birds, and poison birds (a bird that dogs are not allowed to pick up or risk being disqualified).
This is a once a year event that Master level dogs must qualify to attend by passing 6 weekend tests during the year. The national event is a week long test where dogs are tested in the same format but under the close eye of top judges in the country and on some of the best prepared grounds available. Having a dog that passes the Master National is not only an extreme honor but a true testament to your dog's consistent performance and your hard work as a trainer and handler. Dogs that pass the national event 3 times earn an additional AKC title, Master National Hunter (MNH). This also enters that dog into the Hall of Fame and he's then qualified for life to attend any future national events.