Berg Bros Setters
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Berg Bros Setters

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Performance Testing

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Our performance testing consists of several different elements. We do not employ them in a segmented fashion. We utilize all of the elements as the dog advances through our selection process as needed for each individual dog. The elements and approximate chronology are as follows.

Phase I starts at 14-16 weeks on liberated birds. Each year we start 20-30 pups.  We keep a couple hundred quail and do not use them until they are well conditioned for flight.  We release and push these quail nearly every day and they fly almost as hard as wild birds. I mention this because really strong birds contribute greatly to this process.  The pups don't form bad habits and we don't have to worry about them catching birds.  This allows us to let the pups go unrestricted and we can evaluate their tendencies around game.  It also helps that we have 54 acres fenced with 5ft high woven wire so we never have to worry about a pup getting on to a road or neighboring properties.  All of this allows us to get young pups into a ton of birds very young while maintaining a natural environment.   We do very little that resembles formal training at this stage. We are observing their innate abilities and traits at this point. This stage lasts until approximately 26 weeks of age.

Phase II is light yard training and we get started on wild birds as the time of year dictates. We really prefer they have very little contact with liberated birds from this point until they have had substantial contact with wild birds. 

We also introduce the whoa command during this phase.  With most dogs we combine whoa training with a game of fetch.  It reinforces fetching and makes a game out of whoa training.  The dogs are still quite young so mixing in the retrieving keeps their attention and keeps it fun for the pup.  We are looking for early signs of biddability and how well they take training. 

Phase III is the start of a variety of wild bird work. Evaluating dogs on a variety of species and various terrain is very helpful in determining intelligence, biddability, bird finding ability, and natural ability to handle wild birds.  Our prospects will be exposed to wild birds in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Missouri, and Canada. Listed below is a rough break-down.  This varies dependant on available bird numbers. We go where we can find good bird numbers! The break-down on wild bird work is listed below.  We are looking for dogs that figure it out quickly and demonstrate a superior ability to handle wild birds.  The variety also shows their natural tendencies in terms of adapting their range to the terrain.   Depending on the dogs age this phase will usually go up to the spring woodcock migration.   

35% - Ruffed Grouse - Minnesota & Wisconsin
35% - Sharptail & Huns - North Dakota and Montana
20% - Quail - Missouri & Texas
10% - Pheasant - Minnesota, North & South Dakota

Phase IV is polishing of manners.  Very few hunters are going to demand that a dog be steady to wing and shot, stop to flush, and honor another dog on point 100% of the time.  However, a dog’s willingness to take this type of training and advanced manners around game should be an important part of determining if they are suitable candidates for breeding.  At this stage the evaluation becomes much more advanced. We demand above average to superior ability in the following areas.

1) Intelligence
2) Bird finding ability.
3) Pattern – adaptation of range / pattern to the cover and
intelligent search of objectives.
4) Ability to get birds pointed and hold them.
5) Manners around game
6) Stamina
7) Handling.
8) Style running and pointing.

Phase V, the final phase, is testing the dogs in a competitive environment. At this point we have a strong opinion about the dog’s bird finding skills. One 30-60 minute session is not proof of bird finding ability. However, trials are a very good place to test attributes like stamina, drive, intelligence of pattern, handling, style and manners around game relative to other dogs. We believe walking trials are an ideal environment for unbiased evaluation of a class bird dog. About one-third of the dogs that make our program will have the extended range required for trials. The other two-thirds will have range and perhaps slightly less drive but they will possess all of the other attributes of our winning trial dogs.

Listed below is our field trial record for 2004-2008. We retired CH Berg Bros Jack in 2007 after an injury. We also elected to suspend trialing activity for the Fall of 2007 with CH Berg Bros Hytest and CH Berg's Head Turner so that we could produce litters in Q1 of 2008.

2008 Field Trial Placements

4/25-27 Izaak Holtan SD Classic Milaca, MN
Winner - I.H. SD Classic Berg’s Head Turner
R/U - I.H. SD Classic Berg Brothers Hytest
1st Place - Open Derby Berg Brothers Blazin Bess
2nd Place - Open Derby Berg Brothers Frankie
2nd Place - Open Puppy Berg Brothers Tyra

4/12-13 Minnesota Bird Hunters Minnesota
1st Place - Open Derby Berg Brothers Silky Smooth
2nd Place - Open Puppy Berg Brothers Tyra

3/15-16 Northern Lights FTC Kensal North Dakota
2nd Place - Open Derby Berg Brothers Frankie
3rd Place - Open Derby Berg Brothers Blazin Bess
1st Place - Amt Derby Berg Brothers Blazin Bess
3rd Place - Amt Derby Berg Brothers Frankie
2nd Place - Open Puppy Berg Brothers Silverado

2007 Field Trial Placements

March 17-21 USCSDA National CH
3rd - National Puppy Classic .... Berg Brother’s Silky Smooth

March 31 Wisconsin Bird Hunters
3rd - Open Puppy ................. Berg Brothers Stone Cold

April 14-15 Wisconsin Bird Huners
2nd - Open Puppy ................ Berg Brothers Front Page

April 27-29 North Country SD Classic
1st – Shooting Dog Classic .... Berg’s Head Turner
1st – Open Puppy ................ Berg Brothers Silky Smooth

2006 Placements

April 13-15 USCSDA NC Regional Championship
> Open Champion ............... Berg Brother’s Hytest

April 8-9 Minnesota Bird Hunters
> 1st Open Shooting Dog ..... Berg’s Head Turner

March 31-April 2 Region 5 Amateur Championship
Amateur Champion ............. Berg’s Head Turner

March 24-26 KS/MO/NE USC Regional Championship
Open Champion ................. Berg Brother’s Jack
Runner-Up Champion .......... Berg Brother’s Hytest


2005 Field Trial Placements

Sept 13-14 Namekogan Sharptail Classic
> 2nd Shooting Dog Classic ....... Berg Brother’s Jack
> 3rd Shooting Dog Classic ........ Berg Brother’s Hytest

May 7-8 - Hawthorne Open
> 1st Open Shooting Dog .......... Berg Brother's Jack

April 30-May 1 NWFTC
> 2nd Open Shooting Dog ......... Berg Brother’s Hytest

April 22-24 Minn. State Classic
> 1st Minn. State Classic .......... Berg Brother’s Jack
> 1st Open Puppy .................... Berg’s 3rd Edition

April 16-17 Eastern Iowa FTC
> 1st Open Shooting Dog .......... Berg’s Head Turner
> 3rd Open Shooting Dog ......... Berg Brother’s Jack
> 2nd Open All-Age .................. Berg’s Head Turner
> 3rd Open Derby ...................... Berg’s Guided Missile

April 9-10 Minnesota Bird Hunters
> 1st Open Shooting Dog .......... Berg’s Head Turner

March 3-5 ABHA National CH.
> 1st Open Derby ..................... Berg’s Head Turner

February 18-20 USC Regional CH.
> 2nd Open Derby .................... Berg’s Head Turner


2004 Field Trial Placements

Nov. 11-14 Iowa State Classic
> 1st Amt. Classic ................... Berg Brother's Hytest
> 3rd Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner
> 3rd Amateur Derby ............. Berg’s Head Turner

Nov. 6-7 Iowa Bird Hunters
> 1st Open Shooting Dog ........ Berg Brother's Jack
> 1st Amt Shooting Dog .......... Berg Brother's Hytest
> 1st Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner
> 2nd Amt Derby .................... Berg’s Head Turner

Oct. 22-24 North Country OSD CH
> 1st Open Championship ....... Berg Brother's Jack

Oct. 16-17 Lake Superior PDC
> 1st Open Shooting Dog ........ Berg Brother's Jack

Sept. 16-19 Grand Valley Classic
> 1st Mich. State Classic ....... Berg Brother's Jack

May 7-8 Hawthorne Open
> 1st Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner

May 1-2 Minnesota Bird Hunters
> 3rd Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner

April 17-18 Minnesota Bird Hunters
> 1st Open Shooting Dog ....... Berg Bros Hytest
> 2nd Open Shooting Dog ...... Berg’s Head Turner
> 1st Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner

March 27-29 US Complete Reg Championship
> RU/Open Champion .............. Berg Brother's Hytest
> 2nd Open Derby ................... Berg’s Head Turner

March 21-22 Iowa Bird Hunters Association
> 1st Open Shooting Dog ....... Berg Bros Jack
> 3rd Open Derby .................. Berg’s Head Turner