~What I Imagined
I remember when I first heard about the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) Natural Ability Test, I imagined you didn’t prepare. You took your young Weimaraner (or whatever Versatile Hunting Dog you had) to this event–and the experts discovered if you had a natural hunter or not.
This approach would be like flushing time and money down the toilet. These guys who participate work hard to prepare their hunting companions. There are several elements (or disciplines) involved in the process–you have to have them ready for each (and all). There are seven critical inherited abilities: nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire, and cooperation.
It might seem wrong to work at developing these abilities, but it is the opposite. It is a bit like exercising a muscle–it gets stronger when worked. This preparation works.
Our Discovery and Placement Test
We test pups at six-weeks realizing that we are pushing the envelope at that age–at seven or eight weeks would be apt to test more easily. Nevertheless, we have had success at six-weeks when the pups are prepared and mature enough to engage in the activities. Below are some photos from a recent litter of Longhairs who were visiting the Three Cliff’s Sanctuary in preparation of the Discovery and Placement Test.
As with the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test process, preparation is essential. I am sure people wonder we are doing. We are exposing the pups to different locations, and expanding their world. We are showing them toys, and interacting with them in small groups and sometimes on a one-on-one basis. This preparation is an essential part–and all the while we are not gathering information or sizing up the pups. That might be hard to believe but one thing we have learned–don’t come (to the test) with preconceived ideas. Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by anything–not clients, not what we seen before, etc. We are taking a fresh look–trying to get pure information or findings. At six-weeks these pups don’t do all that much– we hope to have them ready to engage with us as well as the exercises as they are presented.
One Year Old
Hard to believe that Maverick turned 1-year old last week. He is a little tazmanian devil, always on the go, full of energy! Right when you think he is tuckered out, he is up and ready to go again! 🙂
Natural AbilityMaverick has been on at least 4 pheasant trips this past season. Each time he did better and better. Bill has high hopes for him in the coming years. He has such a hunt drive that he likes to stalk insects, butterflies, squirrels, etc. If it moves, game on!
Fun to WatchHe is so much fun to watch prance around the yard with his toys, tossing them up in the air and then bolting around at lightning speed. He cracks us up! He also still loves to knead his favorite pillow and cuddle up with me when he does.
Sawyer and MaverickOur old timer Weimaraner, Sawyer, now 12, tolerates him. Luckily our next door neighbor recently adopted a puppy and he and Maverick get along so well together. They can both go multiple rounds and wear one another out.
The Basics and Still LearningHe has been crate trained from the get go and knows several commands, both verbal and hand. It is lots of fun watching him learn new things.
Thank you for another wonderful dog from Owyheestar!
Jennifer, Bill, Ethan, Owen, Sayer & Maverick
Discovery and Placement Findings
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The Best Pup In The Litter
What defines the best pup in the litter? What attributes are necessary to earn such a label? Shock–this is often a relative thing. The best pup for a particular person or a family is the more apt description.
- Coat Color
- Coat Length
- Size–weight, height, body shape, etc.
~Lifestyle and Activity Considerations
- The Hunter
- Upland game birds — pheasants, quail, chukar, etc.
- Water fowl — ducks and geese
- Small animals — rabbits and other small fur critters
- Sheds –castoff antlers
- Each of these disciplines require a certain skill set. Natural ability will need to be developed. Nevertheless, the pup with the nose to ground is going to be able to develop a a good search. Some pups are more interested when presented with a bird. Some are natural pointers; some take to the water with ease. The right mix of traits makes a big difference.
- The Non-Hunter
- Family Companion
- Short Distance Running Companion
- Long Distance Running Companion
- Dock Diving
- Etc.–the list of options is lengthy
We have a process– it involves our Discovery and Placement Test. Each pup goes through a series of exercises. This allows us to get a glimpse of their potential skill set. All of these findings are that–just a discovery of what is there that can be developed with patience and time well spent.
Every Weimaraner has potential. Some excel at certain things. Much of what they become will depend upon their Forever Family’s investment and ability to develop their talent. Nothing is more important than a relationship; however, on-going socialization is vital. Understanding this breed and the many pitfalls can save you from making a wrong turn. Despite what many say, there is no magical formula to success. It is day by day as well as one step at a time. The journey should unfold naturally and you will build success upon success. We suggest you forego setting a timeline to accomplish things. Instead focus on your relationship, socialization, and achieving the basics–the solid recall, the loose lead walk, and such. This will serve you well.