Clinic Info

Training Clinic Information

If you are new to NAVHDA, you may be wondering what happens at a training day. Hopefully the following information will you give you an idea about how our training clinics are run, and how the day goes. If you are interested in finding out about NAVHDA, you are more than welcome to come check it out. Families/kids are welcome to attend. It’s a great way to see different breeds of dogs, and learn about training. It’s great for puppy socialization, too. We are always glad to see new people with interest in furthering their dog’s hunting ability. Come out and join us and get to know your dog better.

How the day begins

Our training days usually begin around 9:00 am. at Sharpe’s Farm in Hopkinton. First, you will need to sign in and pay the training fee and for the birds you will be using. Handlers will be divided up by the skill or test level they will be training their dog for. Natural Ability (puppies/ young dogs) or Utility (advanced older dogs).  Turns in the field are based on a running order and at the discretion of a clinic trainer.  We ask that everyone honor this system and any issues that arise should be brought to the attention of the Director of Training, Chris Doherty.  Once registration is done, a clinic trainer will give an overview of the day’s activities and how the day will proceed. NAVHDA’s Natural Ability and Utility Tests will be broken down into field, water, and tracking stations.  At each station, your dog will be run through the course, explaining the test rules, and best practices for handling your dog. NAVHDA test criteria can be found in the AIMS book on NAVHDA’s website and can downloaded HERE.

Everyone is encouraged to get involved in the day’s activities. While waiting for your turn in the field, it’s a great opportunity to continue training. There are plenty of distractions, so it’s a great opportunity to work on obedience. Set up scenarios you want to work on, and ask other handlers to throw a bumper, or provide a distraction, etc. Assist other handlers with their training, help plant birds, help out with lunch, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are trainers and experienced handlers that can offer assistance. You can expect to have fun with your dog, and enjoy the camaraderie of a great group of people who share their experiences and knowledge with training a hunting dog.

Remember, we are not training your dog for you, we are assisting you in training your dog. We are here to help you train and develop your Versatile Hunting Dog, whether to train for occasional hunting, or becoming a Versatile Champion.

Training/bird costs


  • Training fee: $10 (for use of the fields, port-a-potty, etc.)
  • Quail: $8
  • Chukar: $10
  • Pheasant: $21 (when available)
  • Ducks: $16 (usually just available for water clinic)
  • (usually 2 or 3 birds are sufficient for a training day)

Bird costs are subject to change without notice.

Bird Purchasing Policy

Chapter members will receive an email, asking for their training bird order, approximately 10 days prior to the training clinic.  All bird order requests must be sent to Chris Doherty at no later than the Sunday preceding the training day. We strongly recommend pre-ordering birds, to ensure that everyone has enough of them for training.  Those who have not pre-ordered birds, must wait until those members, whose orders are completed, sign-in.  Due to time constraints two or three birds is enough for field training. There simply is not enough time for each dog to hunt with more birds.  It is expected that everyone who orders birds for training  will pay for their order.  We will try to accommodate anyone that comes for training that did not pre-order birds, but can not guarantee the number of birds available.
After checking-in and paying for the birds, you will be expected to claim your order.  Birds must be picked-up from the bird trailer before the start of training.  You will need a bird bag or a bird crate for your birds. If you do not have a bag, you can borrow one from the equipment trailer. There will be one or two assigned volunteers, at the bird trailer, to hand you your order.  Once you are in possession of your birds, we will no longer be responsible for them.  Please do not remove any birds from the trailer without one of the trailer volunteers assisting you.
Any questions concerning bird purchasing can be sent to Chris Doherty at


Lunch is not provided on training days, bring your own lunch and refreshments.

There is a Dunkin Donuts about 15-20 minutes away and a convenience store slightly further if you forgot to bring something.  We strongly encourage everyone to bring enough water for themselves and their dogs.

The Chapter also holds a 50/50 raffle with tickets sold throughout the morning and will draw the winner sometime mid day.

What to bring

Training days are held rain or shine, so come prepared. For you, weather appropriate clothing, bug spray, sunscreen, drinks, snacks, etc. The fields can be wet, so waterproof boots are recommended. There is some shade and a shaded pavilion at Sharpe’s with some seating. Folding chairs might come in handy. There is very limited shade at the UT water site parking area.There is no shade at all at the water. A tarp/pop-up shelter to provide shade for yourself and your dog is recommended there.

For your dog, bring plenty of water. It can get really warm and there is no drinking water at the training site. Bring whatever training gear you use. Leash, check cord, e-collar, whistle, dummies,etc.The Chapter has some equipment available like retrieving bumpers, place boards, blinds, heeling stakes, etc. A crate or stake-out is recommended. Unless your dog is in the field, they should be leashed, crated, or tied out. Training time is limited and we need to be considerate to other dogs and handlers in the field. Dogs running loose could interrupt others training time.

Any questions regarding Training Clinics can be addressed to Chris Doherty, Merrimack Valley Chapter’s Director of Training.
Phone: 603-479-9178

Emergency Vet Information

AVC Concord – Center for Advanced Veterinary Care
22 Bridge St. (I-93, Exit 14 Loudon Rd. in Ralph Pill Building)
Concord, NH 03301 1-603-227-6109


Capital Area Veterinary Emergency Service 24hrs.
1 Intervale Rd. (Exit 1 off Rte. 393, straight at light)
Concord, NH 03301  1-603-227-1199