Working tests are fun and exciting, and also a great way to find out what you and your dog need to train. For many people who own a retriever a working test can be a first step before it’s time to (first train a little more and then) start on a field trial. The same goes for spaniel owners.
Here is a description of working tests in Sweden. It may differ slightly between different countries, so always check with your local gun dog club so that you know what applies for your dog and you.
The results from working tests are unofficial in Sweden. On a working test (for retrievers) your dog and you go between stations, where you test different skills. If you take part in a real trail you do everything in one sweep. The dogs are then also judged on how they behave between the different stations. But in a working test the dogs are only judged at one station at a time and not on what happens between the stations.
In Sweden it’s easy to find working tests for retrievers, but tests for spaniels are very rare, even if they in theory have existed for a long time. A working test is especially fun for everybody who wants to train the spaniel to do what she was bred to do, but might not want to do it all. Even if you don’t want to train your dog to flush game and fetch game that has just been shot, a working test can be great. Your dog and you will be judged, and the judge will also take a look at your dogs ability to hunt – and you might think that it is so great that you want to continue to do gun dog training or you might be satisfied with this exercise and decide to do other things with your spaniel.Working tests for spaniels differs from working tests for retrievers – with the stations – instead it is a test you do in one sweep, which includes a hunt, a number of shots and throws, blind retrieves and casting. Therefore you can have working tests even when it is hunting season, because no game is flushed or shot.
To find a working test near you, we recommend that you contact your local gun dog club.
Please let us know what working tests are like in your country, and good luck to you on all working tests to come!