Believe it or not, here on the desert we have a lot of water. Irrigation canals, stock ponds, a few trout streams and if you head for the hills, alpine lakes. But finding a piece of water for the NAVHDA utility test? A tall order.
It’s gotta be a good acre or more in surface area, and swimming depth. But more importantly, it’s got to have a lot of brush, reeds and other cover for a swimming duck to hide in and a searching dog to work through.
Therein lies the rub.
The Natural Ability test required Manny to simply swim after a bumper twice. I sought, and got, permission to use a couple nearby ponds and even the puddle on BLM land held enough water most of the training season. But they reflected their desert environment (pardon the pun) in that they were sterile … no brush, no cattails, just a pristine surface. The “duck search” portion of the Utility Test requires ten minutes of aggressive work among the reeds and rushes, mainly swimming. That’s a lot of watery brush. Or brushy water. No self-respecting rancher wants that stuff in his stock tank.
I’m asking around. Got a few leads. One of my training club members has a line on a marshy patch of that trout stream I mentioned. A friend has a neighbor who built a “technical pond” for retriever training … whatever that entails, I’m hoping it has brush and I’ll get invited.
Google Earth might be of use identifying others. And other dog club members may be of help. I hope.