Imagine this: You’re standing at the edge of a field, your heart pounding in your chest. Beside you, your French Brittany is quivering with anticipation, ready to spring into action at your command. The whistle blows, and off you go, embarking on an adventure that will test your skill, your dog’s training, and the bond between you. Welcome to the exhilarating world of National Shoot to Retrieve Association (NSTRA) field trials.

A Little History

Founded in 1978 by a group of avid bird hunters, the NSTRA has grown into a prestigious organization that hosts field trials across the nation1. These trials showcase the keen hunting abilities of various breeds, but it’s the French Brittany that often steals the show.

The French Brittany: Born to Shine

The French Brittany is a compact, energetic breed known for its sharp nose and agile movements2. With their keen sense of smell and inherent desire to please, these dogs are natural stars in the field trial arena. One such example is Lexie, a French Brittany who turned heads at a recent field trial3. Lexie’s performance was a testament to her training, her inherent hunting instincts, and the strong bond she shares with her handler.

Tips for Success

Participating in an NSTRA field trial can be a challenge, especially if you’re going up against seasoned competitors. But don’t let that deter you! Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  1. Start Training Early: The earlier you start training your French Brittany, the better. These dogs are quick learners, and early training helps them develop the skills they’ll need to excel in field trials.

  2. Know the Rules: Familiarize yourself with the NSTRA rules and regulations1. The more you understand the rules, the better you can train your dog to meet the trial requirements.

  3. Commit to Practice: Regular practice is crucial. Whether it’s honing your dog’s pointing skills or working on retrieving, consistent practice will help your dog perform their best on trial day.

  4. Build a Strong Bond: A successful field trial run relies heavily on the bond between you and your French Brittany. Spend time together outside of training to build trust and understanding.

The Underdog Triumph

Field trials are not just about winning; they’re about celebrating the unique skills of our canine companions and the joy of working together towards a common goal. And sometimes, the underdogs surprise us all.

With a NSTRA field trial, any dog has a fair chance at winning. Conditions in the field constantly change and everything will eventually line up for your dog. Sometimes the fields are stacked with extra birds holding tight and hard to find which will favor a slower closer working dog. Sometimes the field conditions favor a large hard running dog. Sometimes a bracemate makes everything go your way. There are just so many variables that with a good attitude it can always be a fun game for you and your dog, and once in a while the deck will be stacked in your favor.

Join the Adventure!

Participating in an NSTRA field trial with your French Brittany is an adventure filled with excitement, challenges, and rewards. It’s an opportunity to strengthen your bond with your dog and celebrate their natural hunting abilities. So why wait? Start training, join a local club, and take the first step towards your own field trial adventure today!


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