Fri 27 Jan 2023, Wichenford

Level 5: Judge - Stacey Robinson

Wichenford Memorial Hall, Venn Lane, Wichenford, Worcestershire WR6 6YF,

Start: 10.00am
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Bridget Francis

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

I stepped in at the last minute to judge this Level 5 and so the calm efficiency of Bridget Francis as TM and the professionalism of Nikki James as scribe was much appreciated.

This is the second L5 that I’ve judged in quite close succession and I’m beginning to think that maybe this level over all others begins to sort the women from the girls. There was some excellent handling, some enthusiastic dogs, some quietly confident dogs and the combination of these skills featured at the top of the awards.

The venue was quite cold which probably didn’t help with how odour dispersed but I believe that some of the handlers and/or their dogs were not at the top of their game and I hope that they will have better days. All the dogs proved more than capable of making finds but I felt that some handlers were a little overwhelmed by the task at hand, try your very best not to be, you’ve earned the right to be here. Have confidence, the last thing that we want to do is to transfer our anxieties to our dogs.

All areas were white dogged before and after placement of hides.

Interior 1
4 hides, 4 minutes

The search area consisted of approximately 1/3 of the hall (divided with chairs on the diagonal), a small storage room and part of the kitchen. A gun oil hide 80 cms high behind a pipe in the front, righthand corner of the storage cupboard was not found by any of the teams. Even handlers who tasked to the vicinity were unsuccessful, whilst others maybe dismissed the area once they’d found the clove hide on the bottom left hinge? Another that proved tricky was the seam of a cupboard in the kitchen (gun oil). The other cupboards got the dogs attention but not the one where the hide was. Two dogs were successful here., very well done Fiona and Sage and Alison and Chelsea.

3 hides, 3 1/2 minutes.

After the disappointment of Interior 1 that some handlers may have been feeling the pressure was on and this was probably reflected in the outpouring of joy as handlers called the final hide All dogs that hit odour worked to source very efficiently. I was particularly pleased that what I felt might be tricky hide (gun oil, low, just around a corner) created no problem at all. It was great to see so many happy handlers.

Interior 2
5 hides, 5 minutes.
The rest of the hall, – this time the chairs (the backs) were included and a committee room cluttered with tables and chairs.

Gun oil on the chair closest to the wall was worked well, my dog had wanted to access it from the other side so I left a gap if that was the way other dogs interpreted the odour trail. Further down the wall at the top of a radiator, clove. There was obviously plenty of odour resulting in a few handlers calling the alert at the bottom of the rad. Just beyond the radiator, gun oil low behind a pipe. Into the committee room, clove on the frame of a large picture close to a filing cabinet, final hide, gun oil, hidden in the seam of a door.

A number of teams were in with a chance of qualifying but needed a minimum of 4 finds to do so, unfortunately today it wasn’t to be but your day will come.

The great joy of scent work is that there’s more than one way to be successful and this was definitely reflected in the attributes of my qualifiers.

1st Pauline and Maddie, Confident competence sums up Maddie, no fireworks just got on and did the job and made it look easy. The only team to find all 5 in Interior 2, and so efficiently too, brilliant!

2nd Emma and Rupert. Rupert is a free spirit, off he goes and it’s up to Emma to keep up and keep tabs whilst maintaining the impression that she has it all under control. Impressive!

3rd Sarah and Jack, a team so well matched. Jack is a steady lad and Sarah handles him so quietly and efficiently. I really enjoyed watching him catch the odour low on the radiator but then work it up right to source. Lovely!

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