It was lovely to be invited to judge at ‘Scentwork Wessex’ first ‘Scentwork UK trial’. Rick & Kate (Scentwork Wessex) had attracted a very good entry of 14 with 4 of those having two dogs entered so it looked to be an interesting day.
The day started promptly with the judges briefing and whilst I set up the first test Kate did the draw and wrote the running orders on a white board so that everyone was clear when they were to run which was a brilliant idea as at no time was I kept waiting.
Rick ran ‘Paddy’ as the ‘white dog’ after the 10 minutes, to see if the scent was good and if I thought there would be any potential problems for me for judging the test. As all seemed well the first dog was ready to run. The table & chairs didn’t seem to cause too many problems, but owing to handler nerves with some competitors being a bit too quick to call the alert, not everyone passed this section.
We then went onto the vehicle search where I hid the scented article for the first group on a step area on Rick nicely washed landrover. Again we saw some really nice searches and some really good handling from Pippa & Billie who after searching around the vehicle anti-clockwise then turned the dog around and worked the dog in the other direction enabling this team to find the scented article with ease.
We quickly moved indoors to do the ‘boxes & luggage’ search where the scented article was hidden in a blue bag for the first group and a cardboard box for the second group. Again this proved to be the hardest test with unfortunately 5 wrong ‘alerts’ and with Cilla and Tumble giving us all a heart stopping moment searching for over 2 minutes but with Cilla holding her cool Tumble eventually found the correct piece of luggage.
Lastly was the exterior search which would have seemed ideal being on tarmac but in the incredibly unusually hot May conditions it seemed to affect some of the dogs. It seemed that some of the dogs, Karen’s two GSD’ Zsa Zsa & Malic, and Julie’s Ben didn’t want to hang around in the hot weather too long and found the scented article within 30 seconds.
So we came to the end of trial and out of the 14 runners we had 10 qualifiers and the results were as follows:
1st Sue & Skye – I was very impressed with this team. I later learned that they had gained full mark. Lovely quiet handling from Sue as Gordon Setters aren’t always the easiest of breeds.
2nd Julie & Ben – Again a very good partnership between these two and great attitude from Ben a collie x who didn’t want to hang around and did all the tests in the fastness overall time.
3rd Annette & Summer – So thrilled for this team as they didn’t pass at the trial last month but this time Annette held it together and showed excellent teamwork.
4th Karen & Zsa Zsa – Lovely to watch this keen GSD bitch, well done.
Also qualified: Pippa with Billie & Becky qualifying two dogs; well done, as did Rob with Warwick & Jack the elderly GSP who also went on the win ‘Judges Special’, Cilla & Tumble and Ren & Dudley. Commiserations to those that weren’t quite ready this time but the fact that all they all passed a section shows that they can do it but just didn’t have that bit of luck on the day.
Also a huge thank you to my scribe David Halls for scribing for me and the Sue, Ren & Kim who made all the delicious food (I can definitely recommend the delicious cheese scones) and of course to Rick & Kate for arranging a brilliantly organised first trial, with Kate giving each competitor a lovely ‘dog treat’ gift, which I thought was a lovely touch. Well done Rick for keeping your cool, watching your brilliantly trained newbies which is terribly nerve wracking as I know.
Heather Donnelly (Judge)