Aims & Rules Clinic

The Aims & Rules Clinic is an educational tool developed by NAVHDA to help dog owners and handlers understand the testing system. The clinics are conducted by designated NAVHDA Senior Judges and Clinic Leaders. Aims & Rules Clinics cover a variety of topics over two days, including informal classroom style instruction on the NAVHDA philosophy, test mechanics, and the scoring system for each test.

Participants will also take to the field and water to judge and score dogs being run in a mock test setting. After each section the participants and the Clinic Leader will discuss the dog’s performance, where the performance would fall in the NAVHDA scoring system, and any strengths of weaknesses in training and handling. Many clinic leaders also include helpful tips and tricks on handling dogs in NAVHDA tests.

Who Should Attend and Why?

  • People with their first dog will see how other dogs work and gain insight into what their dog is doing and why. This will help to develop their pup’s talents and improve performance.
  • Novice handlers will learn how NAVHDA evaluates versatile dogs, and thus will be better prepared to handle their dogs in a test.
  • Experienced handlers will gain a deeper, more technical knowledge of how the team of dog and handler are judged.
  • Breeders will learn what to look for in their breeding stock and their progeny, and how to use NAVHDA records obtained through our Search Test Records service for selective breeding.
  • Aspiring NAVHDA Judges are required to attend an Aims & Rules Clinic and is one of the first steps in our Apprentice Judge Program.

To Find a Clinic

Aims & Rules Clinics are sponsored by Chapters across the U.S. and Canada. Call or e-mail the event secretary of the clinic you are interested in for information. The entry fees for Aims & Rules Clinics are determined locally. You can find a list of upcoming Aims & Rules Clinics here: Upcoming Aims & Rules Clinics

To Host a Clinic

If you belong to a local NAVHDA Chapter and are interested in hosting a clinic, please see our the Chapter Guide to Hosting a Handler’s Clinic below to assist you with the process of planning, funding, promoting and hosting a sanctioned NAVHDA Aims & Rules Clinic.





Clinic leaders explain NAVHDA test rules and philosophy.



Attendees go into the field to judge.



Attendees break into groups to come up with a consensus score.



Clinic leaders answer questions as they are posed.

Are you a Senior Judge who is interested in becoming an Aims & Rules Clinic Leader? If so, click here.