There was a very good entry for Scentwork UK’s 11th trial attracting 16 runners with 11 in Level 3 and 5 in Level 4 for our judge Susanne Jaffa.
Susanne arrived bright and early which gave us a chance to go through the vehicle and exterior searches which were to be judged first this time before the cricket club arrived in the afternoon making the car park too overcrowded. It wouldn’t have been the first time that I had accidentally hidden a scented article on a complete strangers car who wasn’t anything to do with the trial!
We started with the Level 3’s and the first scent was a hidden behind a grid area on the front of the car near the number plate. All of the dogs found this scented article really quickly which was brilliant providing a quick motivational find for both the dog and handler. The second scent was hidden within one of the wheel nuts and again didn’t seem to cause too many problems for most dog and handler teams.
Next up was the Level 4 search and all the cars were parked on the grass to provide further scent distractions for the dogs as the field is used by most of the local dog walkers. Most of the teams worked this well although unfortunately two of the competitors wrongly alerted on the bonnet area of one of the decoy cars.
Susanne brought some really interesting and practical items for the exterior search including a kid’s toy car, chimney pot, and tea/coffee urn. Again most of the Level 3s did very well but unfortunately a couple of L4 dogs fell fowl to Susanne’s newly washed dog’s toy which was hidden between 2 flower pots.
We then set up the boxes and luggage to give them a chance to cook whilst we had a half an hour break for lunch. Although most of the L3 dogs correctly alerted on the orange box most of the dogs missed the purple piece of luggage with most dogs not even appearing to search it. It seemed that this piece of luggage, being slim line when laid flat on the ground, was either dismissed or just skimmed over by some of the dogs. However two teams, Karen and Zsa Zsa and Ali & Maya, through very good handling, encouraging their dogs to search the bag more intently, enabled their dogs to find the hidden envelop with ease. The L4 fared well with Pepper convincing his mum Katheryne that he had found the correct item by doing a brilliant retrieve with both the box and bag.
So last up was the table & chairs and the perimeter search and Susanne cleverly hid one of the scents on a broom at the junction of the handle and brush before placing it around the perimeter. Again most of the Level 3 dogs after finding the correct chair, went on to correctly alert the broom although most of the handlers didn’t quite believe them.
The Level 4’s, also had their work cut out as although Susanne had hidden one of the scents in a filing cabinet in the committee room she had also placed a stuffed basset hound in the room as a doggy distraction scent. It was lovely hearing the competitors shrills of excitement coming from the small room when the dogs had found the scent though.
So after this last test we ended up with 9 out of 11 qualifiers in the Level 3 and 4 out of 5 qualifiers in the Level 4. So big congratulations especially to out winners Susan & Lyla (L3) for all your hard work at being a brilliant team and Karen & Charlie (L4) especially for Karens skill and persistence with handling Charlie, a terrier who isn’t always the easiest of dogs.