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Del Bay Retriever Club
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Training Days






The very best handlers seek to simulate hunt test or field trial conditions when

they train.  As appropriate they use holding blinds, a mat, judge's chairs, white

coats or calls , dead birds, popper guns, and live flyers.  Still, often this is not enough.  The excitement of a hunt test or field trial is missing.


On hunt test and field trial days, dogs are just different.  They lunge on lead to the holding blind, they whine in the blind, they beat the handler to the line, they refuse to look at the long gun (preferring to stare at the flyer station), they break, freeze on birds, or parade unendingly in front of the judges!


What to do? 


Corrections are impossible during a hunt test or field trial and dogs "only" misbehave during an actual hunt test or field trial.  Your best bet?  Run a picnic trial.


Dogs behave differently at a picnic trial than at a regular training day.  Dogs see many trucks, hear many dogs,  sense the excitement and listen to multiple

shots as they wait their turn in a crate or holding blind.  Dogs are permitted to wear the collar if desired and handlers carry the usual tools of the day for corrections.  Veterans of the game  are available to offer seasoned advice to newcomers as dead birds are thrown, flyers are shot, and each set-up  modified to fit a particular dogs training needs.  Handlers can run singles (if head swinging is the problem), retire a gun (if memory needs to be worked on), shoot a flyer out-of-order (if control is needed), and so on.  Appropriate corrections can be applied and training enhanced while colleagueship is strengthened.


Participants at a Del Bay Picnic Trial divide into two groups (hunt test and field trial) and set up scenarios appropriate to a test or trial.  Del Bay offers six picnic trials a year under all kinds of weather conditions.  Each picnic trial seeks to simulate a hunt test condition (Group I) or a field trial experience (Group II). 


It is not unusual for forty to fifty dogs to be trained at a test/trial over two series with blinds .  Just what is needed to convince your dog that this is the real thing!  Picnic trials are the perfect situation to improve your handling/training skills, meet new club members, and reacquaint yourself with colleagues.  Costs are minimal and all profits go into the club mowing and maintenance fund for the C&D Canal.












The schedule for Del Bay Picnic Trials is as follows:


                        The first two Saturdays in February.


                        The first two Saturdays in March.


                        The third and fourth Sundays in November.

                             (Usually Thanksgiving weekend, and the

              weekend prior.)


                        For specific dates, check the Del Bay's event schedule.


All picnic trials are held at the Summit Retriever Training Area and the Sporting Dog Area at the C&D Canal.  Entrance to these areas is off Chesapeake City Road

just past the Delaware Veteran's Cemetery immediately past Frazer Road.  Chesapeake City Road is off of route 71 which, in turn, is off of route 896 just north of Summit Bridge.


So, coming from Newark take 896 south till you hit route 71 (on the left, just before crossing Summit Bridge). Turn left unto route 71, travel a few hundred yards, turn right unto Chesapeake City Road.  Then travel a mile or so (past the cemetery), and turn left into the C&D Canal Wildlife Area.  There is usually plenty of dog truck traffic and we meet between 8:30 and 9:00.  Club and non-Club members are welcome … see you there!             

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