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Newfoundland Water Test Committee's Toolkit

Timeline- Before the test

Important Dates:

Application submitted- 4 months prior to test

Premium lists out - 6-8 weeks prior to test

Closing Date - at least 12 days before the test

Catalog Advertising close date - confirm with catalog printer

Confirmation Letters mailed - at least 10 days before the test

Form Your Team

Water Test Committees should be formed by enthusiastic fanciers who have good organizational, communication and people skills. The test chair, secretary and one other member of the test committee must be NCA members. First priorities for a test committee are to select a site, choose a date, and select a judges panel. Once these issues have been determined, an application can be filed with the NCA

A Water Test Committee from a recognized regional club of the Newfoundland Club of America (NCA) may apply to the Working Dog Committee (WDC) of the NCA for permission to sponsor a water test. Application must be made using an approved WDC application. Application packets, which include a list of approved judges, are available from the designated Working Dog Committee member who processes water test applications. The completed application and a required fee (payable to NCA) must be mailed to the designated Working Dog Committee member a minimum of four (4) months, but not more than twelve (12) months, prior to the date of the proposed test. A self-addressed, stamped postcard must be included if verification of application received is requested.

The WDC's approval or rejection of the Water Test Application is usually communicated to the water test chairperson by the designated Working Dog Committee member within forty-five (45) days following the receipt of the completed application. When the Working Dog Committee is considering a regional club's application for an NCA Water Test, the committee considers any past violations of the regulations at its previous tests.

There is no fee to apply to host an NCA Water Test

Judging Panels can be made up of a number of combinations of judging levels - mentor/mentor; mentor/partner; partner/partner and mentor/provisional panels will be automatically approved. Panels made up of partner/provisional judges

Judge's Compensation:

While the majority of NCA regional clubs compensate the judges they invite to judge their NCA Water Tests and Draft Tests, the NCA Working Dog Committee is encouraging all regional clubs to adopt a compensation plan that meets at least the following minimal standards.

Since NCA judges are frequently traveling outside their geographical areas to judge events, and national specialty draft tests are becoming the norm, the NCA Working Dog Committee believes that every NCA Judge is entitled to receive a similar compensation package from a regional club.  Our NCA Judges expend the same time and effort as AKC Judges, and we can show our appreciation by establishing a standard NCA compensation and hospitality plan.

To help your club establish an appropriate guideline for compensating NCA Judges, the Working Dog Committee offers the following suggestions:

  • Provide meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) while the judges are in the regional club’s care.  This includes:  the day before the test when the judges are to be on site and the day or days of the test.
  • Provide lodging the night before the test and the following night if the test runs for two days.  If a judge is unable to obtain a flight until the next morning, the host club should provide lodging for the additional night.  Many NCA Judges have enjoyed staying with a member of the host club or camping out along with the entrants at the test site.
  • Provide travel reimbursement:  gasoline mileage if a judge drives or an economical plane flight booked 21 days in advance if the distance is too far or too costly to drive.  The current government gasoline allowance is .34.5 cents per mile.

If the judge is traveling a distance that requires air travel, the host club should offer to make the flight arrangement only after approval has been established with the judge that the time schedule is convenient for both the judge and the host club.  Some clubs may prefer to let a judge schedule an economy flight and then provide full reimbursement.

If air is the means of travel, a member of the host club should pick up and return a judge to the airport at arrival and departure times.

Perhaps your test chairperson might prefer to call the potential judge to verify availability for judging the assignment.  If the person accepts, this would be an appropriate time to discuss transportation and housing arrangements.  Follow up the phone call with a letter verifying the compensation and commitment for the test event.  On the back of this memo is an example of a letter your club can elect to adopt or modify if your club has not developed a commitment letter.

The NCA Working Dog Committee would like to see all regional clubs provide a consistent level of compensation to our NCA Judges, and we hope that this guideline helps your club adopt a standard plan.  If you have any comments or questions, please call any member on the Working Dog Committee or write to the Draft Test Application person or Water Test Application person.


Water Test Application You must apply not more than 12 months and not less than 4 months prior to the date of the proposed test. When you apply to hold a water test, you must enclose the following:

  1. Completed application form (all members of the water test committee must be current members of the NCA)

  2. Judge’s Acceptance Forms (each judge must fill out and sign  a form)

  3. Profile information for Provisional Judge Form (provisional judges must fill out and sign this form)

  4. Detailed site map with descriptions of the beach conditions if test site has not been previously used.

  5. Stamped, self-addressed postcard if you wish for the Water Test Applications Person to notify you via the US Postal Service that your application was received.   

The NCA Board has approved a system of late fees to be paid by the regional clubs in a manner similar to that used by the AKC for dog shows and performance events.  The following scale will be used for both Water and Draft Tests from now forward:

Fully completed test applications received up to 5 days after the deadline due will be assessed a $25 late fee.  Fully completed test applications received 6-30 days late will be assessed a $50 late fee.  Test applications received more than 30 days after the deadline due will not be approved.  Late fees must be paid by the regional club prior to approval of any further working events.

Important Working Dog Contacts

Build Participation

Once your test has been approved, it is time to spread the word with potential volunteers. stewards & entrants. Premium Lists, Newsletter Articles, formal and informal training groups are all good ways to build interest amongst potential entrants. Remember to have your test advertised on the NCA Website Calendar, and in Newf Tide. Contact your clubs' webmaster to have the premium list posted on your Regional Club's website homepage- this will be linked directly from the NCA events calendar. Premium lists may be distributed via email, hard copy (snail mail), and club newsletters. Announcements to various fancier online mailing lists (Newf-L, Newf-Tech, NCA-DL, etc.) are useful to inform potential entrants when your preium list is available for download from your Regional Club's website.

The Water Test Committee will prepare a premium list for the water test to distribute to those who request it. The premium list must include the following information:

The date and location of the water test with a detailed description of the test site and other features specific to the test site. This must include information regarding water conditions and the distance from shore where the average Newfoundland dog begins swimming.

The judges' names.

The entry limit, that there will be an alternate list if the entries exceed the limit, and the method for determining alternates as specified in Section 12 Entry Limitation.

The beginning date for accepting entries, which must be no less than ten (10) days after the mailing date of the premium list.

The closing date for accepting entries. Remember that confirmation letters must be mailed 10 days before the test.

A statement regarding entrant's responsibility for obtaining the current NCA Water Test Regulations.

The name and address of the WDC Publications Secretary from whom entrants can order the NCA Water Test Regulations and notification that the Regulations are also available on the NCA website.

The name and address of the Water Test Secretary to whom the entries shall be sent.

Additional information such as the following: officers and directors of the NCA and regional club; awards; accommodations; directions to test; advertising; any special events and additional activities.

An official NCA entry form containing the notice that a copy of the entered dog's AKC, ILP, or foreign registration paper must be attached.

The Premium List must not be mailed before the regional club receives approval from the NCA WDC to conduct the test.


Assign Tasks

Many hands are required to hold a successful water test. Hospitality can include breakfast, lunch, judges transport and accomodations and a pre- or post- test dinner. A photographer on hand to record the day is always appreciated by entrants. Equipment set-up is required for the beach area and a basic control ring. A Safety Officer needs to be on hand for the duration of the test to interact with spectators and exhibitors in a calm and efficient manner. Remember to gather a clean-up crew for the end of the day when everyone will be hot and tired. Stewards must be recruited and trained. To avoid conflicts with calling stewards, these positions should be recruited early in the training season, and stewards should know what exercise(s) they will be used for, so they can avoid training with dogs entered in those divisions. Remember to make sure that all stewards have appropriate footwear and lifevests.

Stewards assist the judges, and they may act only on the judges' instructions. Stewards will not give information or instructions to owners and entrants except as specifically instructed by a judge, and then only in such a manner that it is clear that the instructions are those of the judge. Exhibitors are not permitted to give instructions to the stewards. Any harassment of stewards must be reported immediately to the judges.

Care must be exercised to ensure the calling steward(s) are not overly familiar with a dog being tested. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

The steward(s) has cared for the dog within the past year.

The steward(s) has trained with the dog frequently within the past year.

The steward(s) has trained the dog for obedience, conformation, or working events.

In no case should a member of the owner's or handler's immediate family steward exercises for their own dog, a dog they co-own, or for one with which they are overly familiar.

For consistency in the test, calling steward(s) should be prepared to steward for the entire test. Changes of stewards should be limited to substitution for a steward that is ill or in distress.

Instructions for making Marker and Mooring Buoys to mark test area and distances

Test Secretary's checklist:

The test secretary is responsible for the paper trail of the event - premium lists, entry forms and test reports are all handled by the Secretary. The official NCA test entry form must be used, and should be printed in the premium list in it's entirety. Once entries are open, the secretary should track entries by postmark date to assign entrant numbers and avoid conflicts should the maximum number of entries be reached before the closing date. After entering all of the pertinent information from the entry form/ AKC Registration these papers should be filed for sending on to the Working Dog Committee following the test.

It is very easy to set-up a small spreadsheet to track entrants information- Download a Sample

Once your entrant information is listed in the spreadsheet you can import the data into the other required forms to produce clean, professional copies for your test

Individual Entrant Record Catalog Entry Pages (sample) Confirmation Letter (sample)

A number of the forms used at the Water test require multiple copies. The most efficient way to do this is to get No Carbon Required (NCR) copies made at your local copy/print center. Typically they will provide 2 or 3 page NCR's with a white, yellow and pink sheet. This allows the judges to fill out 1 page and have copies available for record keeping and for the entrants to take home following the test.

Entrant welcome packets - before the test compile a welcome packet for each entrant, typically this is a bag or envelope containing: a catalog; their entrant number (if your club has the entrants wear a display number); a test evaluation form; and a small entrants favor. It is thoughtful to include a dog biscuit/treat and poop bag.


Confirmation Letters should be sent to all exhibitors, including information about spectators. Contact local news outlets with a press release about the event, including logistical information, as well as any specific details about spectator behavior such as on-leash unentered dogs, parking, seating availability, etc. Be sure to have a photographer on hand to record the events of the day for the club newsletter, website, Newf Tide article and other publicity.

After the closing date for entries, the Water Test Secretary will notify each exhibitor, at least ten days before the test, of the following information: water test location (including a map and/or written directions), judging time, judges' names, exhibitor number, and any changes in the water test information that occurred since the premium list was sent. If entries exceed the published entry limit, the Water Test Secretary will notify alternates of their position on the alternate list.






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