Sat 29th Jun 2019, Canvey Island

Levels 1 & 2: Judge - Jenifer Pirie
Level 1

1 Paula Puncher – Crumpton – 80
2 Kimberley Hampsheir – Wallace – 79.95
3 Maureen Crouch – Amber – 79.75
4 Becky Elvidge – Lola – 79.55
5 Tracey Cole-Wilkin – Flynn – 79.25

Level 2

1 Natalie Kemp – Marley – 79.9
2 Karen Marsh – Gunner – 79.4

The day dawned bright and warm but we weren’t quite expecting the soaring temperatures of the day ahead.

It was unbelievably hot and keeping our judge and our competitors cool and as comfortable as possible was the biggest part of the day. Ice lollies, cool showers, cool coats, a dip in the pool and this was just for our lovely Judge, Jenifer Pirie.

The competitors were all well prepared for warm weather and it didn’t dampen their spirits but by the end of the day every person and every dog were flagging.

Thank you to our lovely judge, my great team of scribes and runners who all helped to make for another great trial day.

Level 1
Firstly I would like to thank Jo and her team for inviting me to judge today, but also for being caring and thoughtful scribes, runners and carers for the dogs and humans on such a hot day. Canvey Island is a lovely venue, where all dogs are catered for. The team is very understanding and knowledgeable about reactive dogs in my experience and the venue is an interesting challenge for dogs from out of area with new smells and varying substrates to work on. I always enjoy competing at Canvey.

We started Level 1 indoors with a Tables and chair search. The hide was half way through the search on a chair as you turned a corner to the table. This allowed plenty of open area for the dog to move in to the odour, many of the dogs fell out of the search area on this corner it was important that the dogs were put back onto the search area where they had moved off, many achieved this successfully. Luther was very busy around the area but was very focused on his job and found the hide in good time. Some dogs, such as Lola offered a lot of interest and weak indications initially on the hide but these were not seen by the handlers and they were moved off. Crumpton was very fast, alerting strongly on the hide.

We then moved onto the vehicle search.

The hide was run by the white dog and was situated in the front number plate, very near the start of the search. In part this was to encourage quick finds due to the heat, but that does require confidence on the handlers part. As at almost all trials the car used was owned by an attendee and there was an amount of dog odour at the rear, many dogs were interested in this enough that the handlers wrongly called it. We saw a lot of dogs go for a walk off the car and when redirected on the front end of the car was skipped. Some focused on the wheels of the car only. After a urination incident the handlers worked very well to avoid the area (away from the car) and keep the dogs focus on the job in hand.

We had some fantastically quick and confident searches, Wallace was exceptionally fast and confident in his indication.

We moved to the exterior search area. The weather was getting rather warm at this point and the dogs were less focused in this area. The hide was on a wide drain pipe. Many of the dogs found this item quickly Crumpton and Wallace were notable again in their speed and confidence. Many of the dogs only searched the centre of the pipe, which could not provide scent. Ambers knock onto the odour was impressive, almost tripping herself over to get to the source.

Boxes and Luggage was the last of our 4 searches. The item was hidden and protruding a zip on a bag in the middle of the search area. We had a couple of false indications in this area on various items within the search. However those that found the item did so quickly. Many of the dogs spent time well outside the search area but the handlers did well to bring them back in or decided to put them on the lead to help them.

Some fantastic handling and searching was seen in this level, for many this was a first trial and it certainly wasn’t the easiest with the increasing heat of the day. All did very well, those that didn’t qualify showed great understanding and bond with their dogs I’m confident they will do very well in the future.

Level 2
By this point it was really rather warm and all the dogs had been treated to showers, pool dips and the handlers had been treated to a tasty ice lolly.

We started with the exterior search.

The two items were hidden in a pipe and a kettle. I feel in this search both handlers and dogs struggled to maintain focus but the handlers worked well to consider the search and keep the dogs away from the edges. We did have several urination incidents along the fence line of this area and one in the centre which was then covered by a tyre and competitors were aware that this was not a search item. Of course this resulted in interest in the area but handlers did well to move the dogs on and regain their focus. No one found both hides in this area.

Table and chairs
For many this was the first trial at level 2 and so their first trial experience of a perimeter search. The item was hidden on a chair near the start cones and on a pair of shoes on the perimeter. Most were more successful in this area finding both hidden scents. One handler called the find when her dog was away from the chair, as this was done within the time and the dog had switched off from the search. She was correct, I really liked the way this handler dealt with this situation.

Vehicle search
The vehicle search was run on three cars in a line nose to bumper. Many handlers spent a lot of time focusing on the blank vehicle. But the dogs in this level mostly ignored the dog odour that must have been on all vehicles. We had a couple of false alerts where the dogs were outside the 6 inch rule, which was a real shame, but confidently called.
Some fantastic handling was seen here, with dogs quickly put back onto vehicle if distracted by the perimeter area, handlers were very aware and cleverly thinking about where odour could be hidden. Marley was exceptionally fast on his vehicles, his focus was to be applauded.

Boxes and Luggage
Both of the levels today took some time to work through and by this point many of the dogs appeared quite tired, as did the handlers.

Boxes and luggage found one item hidden on a large box and one hidden on an item of luggage. The handlers all worked really hard to keep focus from the dogs and the searching seen was good. We had a few false alerts again in this area, on various items. Gunner really found his strength here after a tricky vehicle search and gave the most confident and striking correct indications leaving Karen in no question of where the item was.

Competing in warm weather is never easy and all handlers did so with grace and understanding of their dog and their needs. Although we had a relatively small number of qualifications the work seen under trial was brilliant, unlucky in places but the scores on the sheet really only reflected the finds on the day all of the dogs clearly knew their job and were happy and interested in the search despite the weather.

  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
1Paula Puncher – Crumpton205202051905492052380111
2Kimberley Hampsheir – Wallace204.95312052120528051479.9594
3Maureen Crouch – Amber204.91062056604.851592057279.75403
4Becky Elvidge – Lola204.841204.758705932056279.55283
5Tracey Cole-Wilkin – Flynn204.511920537204.751360511279.25404
Level 2
1Natalie Kemp – Marley20543105742053104.96679.9186
2Karen Marsh – Gunner20543104.9102104.552054279.4192

K9 Scent & Search UK, 1a Tavistock House, Charfleets Road, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 0PQ.

Start time – 10am
Entry Fees: £25 per dog, Capped at 12 entries. One or two dogs per handler per level.
Contact: K9 Scent & Search UK, Tel: 07776 334481,
Download entry form to book a place. Fully booked