Fri 13th Sep 2019, Hayes

Level 1: Judge - Jennie Fairweather

1 Ruby Blake & Leo – 100
2 Lyn Church & Tero – 100
3 Helen Hankins & Hazel – 99.95
4 Stacey Robinson & Bella – 99.9
5 Alison Jones & Finn – 99.7
6 Michael Tooley & Frankie – 98.35
7 Caroline Nicholson & Gus – 79.95
8 Anne Vellenoweth & Iris – 79.85
9 Ed Coda & Beau – 79.8
10 Hannelore Onkelbach & Henry – 79.6
11 Margaret Deuchar & Time – 59.8

I would like to thank Lynda Bowers from Best Paw Forward Dog Training Club for inviting me to judge their Level 1 Scent Trial. Also my Scrimmer: Jackie and Runner: Janet, for all their help throughout the day and making everything run so smoothly.

I had a lovely day watching some fabulous teams working so well together. We had several for who this was their first competition and despite their nerves all the competitors but one qualified – so very pleased and felt for the lady whose dog was not ready on the day. Next time it will be better so don’t lose heart. There was also a couple of NFC’s on the day. All dogs found the searches well within the 3 minutes so very well done.

With each exercise the handlers confidence in their dogs grew and the dogs recognising what they had to do, so less distractions and more searching. The handlers need to trust their dogs more but at this level it is so hard to do and lacking experience doesn’t help!

I found that some handlers waited far too long to call the ‘Alert’. Their dogs had clearly found the scent and were indicating but they waited to say alert, saying they wanted a more positive indication from their dog. I think at this level that when you are competing do call ‘Alert’ when you recognise the dog has found the scent. It is possible that some dogs can lose confidence if you leave it. They have found the scent and are waiting for their reward, if you withhold the reward they are not going to want to search for it again. Please do not train when competing but do train for this away from the competition.

We started the day off with the vehicle search. I would not normally start with this exercise but it was explained to me that the earlier we did the outside exercises the better as in late morning and the afternoon we have distractions from dog walkers and the children when they came out of school.

The vehicle search I think is quite a hard exercise for the dogs. Their handlers can make it easier by taking into consideration the wind strength and direction. Just one dog failed to go to source, the rest all easily within the time limit. Some dogs quickly picked up the scent downwind then going to source. Experience will help you to recognise when the dog picks up the scent and when it is at source. There were lots of distracting smells on the ground and well done to all the handlers who managed to keep their dogs on track.

All the dogs worked much better for the Tables and Chairs exercise. The air flow in the hall moved the scent around and it took a while for the dogs to go to source. Some handlers called too early on the wrong chair, had they left it for just a little bit longer they would have seen the dog was trying to locate the source. When this happens if the handler steps away from the dog making sure they don’t pull on the lead and the dog stays in position then you can be fairly certain it has found the source. If the dog moves away then it is uncertain but remember where and possibly go back to that area if the dog doesn’t find the scent else ware. Some dogs will know where the scent is early on in the search but have to check everything out, to make certain. This can cause confusion in the handler. As the handlers gain more experience they will be able to recognise how their dog works. Remember to keep moving – ‘tread water’ if necessary but don’t pull the dog off the scent. By standing still you could be telling the less confident dog the scent is there and result in a false indication.

I always feel sorry for the dogs that run late in competitions. The scent has been in place for maybe as long as an hour or more and in that time the scent will have spread out. Visualise a dart board and the source is in the centre, over time some of the scent moves away from the centre caused by the air flow in the hall or outside and can cause some confusion in beginner dogs. Again training and time will help the dog to go to source but it does take time.

Most of my comments are very common mistakes by inexperienced dogs and their handlers so do not despair, training will certainly improve in the team’s ability to locate the source. The following are what I observed on the day:

Lack of attention by the dog – sniffing else where, looking at e.g. a leaf falling or a child crying, sometimes this can sometimes indicate a lack of confidence by the dog.

The handler pulling the dog off the scent when the dog has found it but the handler not recognised it has done so.

The dog trashing the articles (mostly the boxes) or mouthing the scent mostly doing the Boxes and Luggage exercise,

Handlers body language giving the dog the wrong idea

Trusting your dog more.

  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
1Ruby Blake & Leo2051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19701001st Jan 1970
2Lyn Church & Tero2051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19701001st Jan 1970
3Helen Hankins & Hazel2051st Jan 1970204.951st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 197099.951st Jan 1970
4Stacey Robinson & Bella2051st Jan 19702051st Jan 1970204.91st Jan 19702051st Jan 197099.91st Jan 1970
5Alison Jones & Finn2051st Jan 19702051st Jan 1970204.851st Jan 1970204.851st Jan 197099.71st Jan 1970
6Michael Tooley & Frankie2051st Jan 1970204.91st Jan 1970204.951st Jan 1970203.51st Jan 197098.351st Jan 1970
7Caroline Nicholson & Gus051st Jan 19702051st Jan 1970204.951st Jan 19702051st Jan 197079.951st Jan 1970
8Anne Vellenoweth & Iris051st Jan 19702051st Jan 1970204.851st Jan 19702051st Jan 197079.851st Jan 1970
9Ed Coda & Beau2051st Jan 19702051st Jan 197004.81st Jan 19702051st Jan 197079.81st Jan 1970
10Hannelore Onkelbach & Henry04.951st Jan 19702051st Jan 1970204.91st Jan 1970204.751st Jan 197079.61st Jan 1970
11Margaret Deuchar & Time051st Jan 19702051st Jan 19702051st Jan 197004.81st Jan 197059.81st Jan 1970

Best Paw Forward DTC, Hayes End Community Centre, Kingsway, Hayes, UB3 2TZ.

Start: 9.30am,
Entry Fees: £23 per dog, capped at 20 entries, only 1 dog per handler
Contact: Lynda Bowers,
Download Entry Form to book a place.