Sat 25th May 2019, Biddulph Moor

Level 1: Judge - Dolores Palmer

1 Rob Warman – Bella – 99.75
2 Rachel Richards – Wispa – 99.5
3 Julie Nelson – Ricco – 99.5
4 Jess Martin – Ruby – 99.5
5 Rachel Richards – Chip – 99.25
6 Cath Seddon – Reaper – 99.25
7 Natalie Wakelin – Jenson – 94.75
8 Baz Tomlinson – Chester – 94.5
9 Debbie Goodwin – Fab – 80

Thank you to Tracy Ridgway for asking me to judge Level 1 at Biddulph Moor. This is a beautiful part of the country and your venue is lovely and spacious.

This was a different trial to judge in that 5 dogs were on cloves and 6 dogs on truffle oil. In addition two of the latter were second dogs. Tracy was a very efficient & organised trial manager shown by her plan to make the trial flow smoothly. Tracy’s plan, which worked fabulously, was that the second search was started whilst the different scent was cooking on the first search. How Tracy kept all the change-overs in her head I don’t know. I totally relied on her pointing me in the direction of the next search to be judged. The following gives a flavour how it worked.

We started with tables & chairs and the dogs on cloves. Then it was onto vehicles for the clove dogs whilst the truffle oil was in situ on a chair for the required 10 minutes. Then back to table & chairs for the truffle oil dogs, with a change over for the second dogs. Then back to vehicles for all the truffle oil dogs. All the competitors were very happy with Tracy’s plan and it meant there was no wasted time.

The standard of handling was excellent for level 1. I would like to mention Debbie Goodwin who spent a lot of time at the end of each search really playing and praising her dog. So often I see handlers who give their dog one treat and minimum praise. If I could have, I would have given Debbie extra marks for letting Fab know he had done a great job & was the best dog in the world.

So onto the individual searches. In Table and chairs unsurprisingly all the dogs chose to go straight on from the start cones meaning that the dogs search the top end of the table/chairs before searching the first longer side. All but two dogs correctly found the scent. One handler had called the alert too soon whilst her dog was investigating one chair, her dog continued to work round the chairs whilst we spoke and found the scent on a different chair – a lesson to be learnt there! Three dogs were really fast in finding the scent in this search: Ricco, (21 seconds) handled by Julie Nelson; Ruby, (28 seconds), handled by Jess Martin and Reaper (21 seconds) handled by Cath Seddon.

In vehicle search the wind seemed to help a lot of dogs in searching, so all dogs found the scent and there were quite a few fast searches. In fact one dog ran from the start line to the front of the vehicle and then started to search, finding the position of the scent hidden for the 2nd dogs very quickly. I can’t remember whether this was Rachel Richards’ Chip, (25 seconds) or Julie Nelson’s Savvy, (17 seconds). Other fast searches were Rob Warman’s Bella (25 seconds), Baz Tomlinson’s Chester (31 seconds), Julie Nelson’s Ricco, (29 seconds), Rachel Richards’ Wispa (17 seconds), and Marie Tomkinson’s Daisy, (16 seconds). One owner/dog who would have had a fast search was Debbie Goodwin’s Fab but unfortunately, just as Fab was searching the wheel containing the scent, the sound of a football drew his attention away. Fab’s attention was then divided between searching for scent and the sound of the football, (which he loves). Debbie kept her cool, moved him on and got him searching the sides of the car where Fab couldn’t see the ball. So when he came round to the scented wheel again he was able to concentrate and locate the scent. Well done!

Then it was onto judging the last two searches. Boxes and luggage has a reputation for being hard for some reason. Actually all but two dogs found the scent and there were some amazing fast searches: Baz Tomlinson’s Chester, (9 seconds), Julie Nelson’s Ricco (11 seconds) and an amazing 4 seconds by Rachel Richards’ Wispa. Once again the handling was good. Something to watch in your handling is making sure you never block from your dog’s vision any item to be searched. If you are able to circle the search area round the outside there is never a problem with this.

Last was the exterior search. The wind was very changeable in the open area where the search was set up. So I was particularly looking to see if owners would check the wind before starting. If the wind blows into your dog’s face then it will blow the scent towards your dog making the search easy. Most people lost marks for forgetting to check wind direction. However all but one dog found the scent with two super fast searches: Julie Nelson’s Ricco (11 seconds) and Rachel Richards’ Wispa an incredible 4 seconds.

Of course its not the fastest dogs that necessarily get placed. Time is only of importance if two or more people are on the same high score. This happened with second, third and fourth place at this trial. So time decided that Jess Martin & Ruby came fourth, Julie Nelson and Ricco came third and Rachel Richards and Wispa came second – congratulations all! And our outright winner was Rob Warman and Bella – many congratulations! I have judged this team before and was impressed with the partnership between Bella and Rob. So it was no surprise to me that this team also achieved their Level 1 Excellence Rosette. It was touching to see how much this meant to Rob – his little dog having has had a major spine operation meaning she now has a metal plate in her back. Scentwork is the one safe sport that Bella can do and she does it so well. I shall watch her career with great interest.

And congratulations to everyone else who qualified, you all did your dogs proud, many gaining clean sweeps. Commiserations to the two people who didn’t qualify this time – your turn will come so keep going!!
Finally thank you to Helen Taylor and Nancy Chalmers who took turns in being scribes and runner. You were brilliant! And also thank you Marie Tomkinson for all your hard work on refreshments.

  T&C - A/FT&C - HT&C - TES - A/FES - HES - TVS - A/FVS - HVS - TB&L - A/FB&L - HB&L - TMarksTime
A/F = Alert FindH = HandlingT = Time (seconds)
Tables & ChairsExterior SearchVehicle SearchBoxes & LuggageTotals
Level 1A/FHTA/FHTA/FHTA/FHTMarksTime
1Rob Warman – Bella20544204.7533205252053699.75138
2Rachel Richards – Wispa20532205420517204.5499.557
3Julie Nelson – Ricco20521204.511205292051199.572
4Jess Martin – Ruby20528204.576205402055199.5195
5Rachel Richards – Chip20550204.2537205252055499.25166
6Cath Seddon – Reaper204.7521204.564205772058299.25244
7Natalie Wakelin – Jenson204.757220026205462055494.75198
8Baz Tomlinson – Chester200131204.512920531205994.5300
9Debbie Goodwin – Fab2056505920512520517180370

Our first trial at Biddulph Moor Village hall was a great success, we had a lovely sunny day which was a bit breezy at times.

We saw lovely work from all the dogs and their owners and competition was tough, we also saw some competitors on a different odour and working multiple dogs.

A massive Congratulations to Rob Warman and Bella who not only won but gained his excellence and to all the participants who joined us to make the day a successful one.

Special thanks to our wonderful Judge Dolores Palmer, and wonderful scribes and runners Helen Taylor and Nancy Chalmers and to Marie Tomkinson for supplying all the refreshments.

Looking forward too seeing you gain more successes, good luck all x

Biddulph Moor Village Hall, Hot Lane, Biddulph Moor, Stoke-on-Trent, ST8 7HP

Start:- 10.30am
Entry Fees: £22 per dog. Entries capped at 20 per level. Only one dog per handler.
Contact: Tracy Ridgway 07793 210116
Download Entry Form to book a place.