Goldens LOVE to retrieve and encouraging them in this direction is great exercise and keeps your dog’s brain active. It also builds a wonderful partnership with you and your dog! Fun for all!
The performance sport of field training encourages the development and use of the natural abilities for which golden retrievers were originally bred. The foundation for field training for the Working Certificate (WC) and Hunt Test trials is basic obedience (e.g., walking on a leash; sit; stay; heel; and reliable off leash recall) and yard work training.
The Golden Retriever Club of B.C. (GRCBC) normally holds an annual Field Work Training Workshop to introduce you and your golden to the fun of this performance sport. In addition, the GRCBC hosts Working Certificate and Hunt Tests every year that you and your golden can participate in to achieve Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Titles.
The Working Certificate program includes three levels, Working Certificate (WC); Working Certificate Intermediate (WCI); and a Working Certificate Excellence (WCX). Tests get harder and more complicated as the dog progresses. Hunt Tests also include three levels, Junior Hunter (JH); Senior Hunter (SH); and Master Hunter (MH). As with the Working Certificate program, Hunt Tests get more difficult as the dog finishes each level.
Members of the GRCBC interested in field training for the Working Certificate program and Hunt Tests often get together and work in informal training groups. Within the informal training groups there are dogs and handlers at different levels of ability and knowledge.
Your breeder can give you information, suggest books and videos, as well as field training groups in your area to help you along. Some good reference material for the Working Certificate program and Hunt Test field training includes:
Retriever Working Certificate Training by James Spencer
Building a Retriever, Drills and More by Carol F. Cassity
DVDs - Training a Retriever Puppy by Bill Hillmann (as well as his website Blog)
The Fetch Command by Bill Hillmann
Sound Beginnings by Jackie Mertens
Total Retriever Training by Mike Lardy
Volunteering at a Working Certificate or Hunt Test is a very good opportunity to learn about field training and meet owners and their dogs. No previous experience is necessary to volunteer and many volunteers are needed to host successful events. As a member of the GRCBC you will receive notification of upcoming Working Certificate and Hunt Tests and related events. You can also find upcoming events at Canuck Dogs.