So I managed to persuade my Wednesday & Thursday scentwork groups to come along to the ‘Scentwork UK’ first trial and amazingly 11 people agreed to take part.
Our Judge was Sally Smith, ably assisted by Chris Gregory the steward, and Leslie Mack who kept the scores and organised everyone for when it was their turn.
The test comprised of 4 sections and 3 sections had to be passed to qualify. The content of the trial was to find one scent (Birch oil) in the 4 following areas:
a) 4 tables and 8 chairs
b) Boxes & Luggage (12-15 items)
c) Vehicle search (the outside of one vehicle)
d) Exterior Search (12-15 items)
Each section carried 25 marks with 20 points allocated for finding the swab and 5 marks for handling.
Handling marks were deducted for handler pulling the dog away from the swab, getting in the dogs way, dog spending too much time away out of the search area etc.
Each section was timed and the judge allocated between 3-5 minutes according to how complex she thought the search was.
There was a draw for each section to make it as fair as possible although before each section started a ‘white dog’ (an experienced dog) did the search so that the judge could tweak the test if necessary.
We started with ‘4 tables & 8 Chairs’ and the swab was hidden underneath one of the chairs towards the back. Most dogs did this well although nerves seemed to get in the way of one team with the handler accidently pushing the dog past the area where the swab was hidden, such a shame.
In the ‘Boxes & Luggage’ the scented swab was hidden in the side pocket of a gym bag. Milly the working cocker in her enthusiasm pushed the bag right up against the wall to convince her mum that the swab was definitely hidden in this bag. All teams past this section.
Next up was the vehicle search and as it was raining some of the dogs weren’t all that keen to start having to tip toe around the puddles. Also the judge decided to place the swab within the wheel arch of the vehicle so that it wouldn’t get wet which could possibly change the odour. Kathryn and her enthusiastic black Labrador Pepper knew where the swab was hidden even before the test started and rushed around the back of the vehicle doing the test in less than 20 seconds!
Lastly was the ‘exterior search’ which comprised of 15 items laid on a gravel area just outside the village hall. The recent rain seemed to have freshened up smells in the gravel area making it rather distracting for alot of the dogs and this was the sections that most teams struggled with. However 4 teams successfully found the swab hidden in one end of bicycle handles.
So out of 11 entries 9 teams past and the results were as follows:
1st Katheryne & Pepper – 98 points
2nd Carolyn & Milly – 98 points
As there was a tie for 1st place the team that who completed all 4 sections in the fastest time was awarded the first place.
3rd Ann & Maisie – 97 ½
4th Karen & Charlie – 96 points
Also certificates of merit were awarded to Val & Indy 95 points Ali & Chase – 73 ½ , Annika & Rena 73 ½, Nigel & Beazer 73 points and Jenni & Mischief 71 points.