Fri 28 Oct 2022, Cannock Wood

Levels 1 & 3: Judges - Kate Wilkes & Julie Bytheway

Cannock Wood & Gentleshaw Village Hall, Buds Road, Cannock Wood. WS15 4NB

Start: 9am and 12.30pm
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Kate Wilkes

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

I would like to say a big thank you to Kate for asking me to judge at our Level 1 trial, Cannock Wood is quite a new venue for us and it is a great place to hold trials.
I would also like to say a very big thank you to Emma Rogers for being a great scribe (first time too!) and to Ceris and Olga for keeping things running smoothly, as always.
After a drizzly, blustery start when we were setting up, the weather was really kind to us; it turned into a beautiful sunny autumn day, although there was a bit of a swirling breeze that our teams had to contend with.
After a few teams dropping out for different reasons, 6 teams competed in the trial. Most teams had competed in a Level 1 trial before, it was the first time for one team but we made sure they were well looked after.
A white dog – Alfie – was used to check the scents before each exercise began.
We started the trial with the tables and chairs search. Eight chairs surrounded two tables and the scent was placed on the top right hand chair, just underneath the outer edge of the seat. All dogs searched the chairs well and most teams found this easily, the quickest time being Allan and Missy in 20 seconds. It was good to see some strong indications from dogs at this level.
We then moved on to the vehicle search and by this time there was quite a swirling breeze in the area where the car was parked. The scent was placed on the front of the car, on a grill to the left, underneath the number plate. The dogs had to work hard on this one, with many retracing their steps several times to try to locate the scent as it was being buffeted around. Most handlers read their dogs well and gave them time to work out where the scent was and most were rewarded with correct finds. Olga with Ted and Martyn with Evie did particularly well here; their dogs were really busy around the car and showed a lot of interest in different spots – you obviously know your dogs well and waited for their usual indication before you called correctly.
After this we moved back inside for the boxes and bags search where the scent had been placed on the hinged opening on the side of a briefcase, which was standing upright just to the left of centre in the search area. All dogs searched the area really well but this exercise, as is often the case, sorted the dogs out with half of them false indicating on different boxes and bags. Jan with Onyx made it look easy with a beautiful search and find in 26 seconds. Wendy showed a lot of patience (and nerve) on this search when Zeus really gave each bag and box a
thorough sniffing before eventually telling her (correctly) where the scent was. The final search of the day was the exterior search, which took place in an enclosed area to the side of the main hall. The area had a hedge to one side and a gate to the back with a field beyond. Halloween articles were used for this search and the teams were given the choice of a skull, a cauldron and a wicker basket, with the scent being placed on the latter. Some of the dogs were a little distracted with the leaves to the side of the search area and the field beyond. Handlers did really well to keep dogs on task or to refocus them if they became distracted. Olga had to work particularly hard on this one, as Ted thought that the skeleton’s hand and the plastic chainsaw were great fun and he couldn’t resist taking the basket to his mom. I, unfortunately, had to take some handling marks off for Ted’s exuberance but these were the only handling marks lost in the trial, which shows how good the standard of handling was. All dogs searched the items well and all teams successfully found the scent, with Wendy and Zeus finding it in the fastest time.
I really enjoyed judging this level 1 trial and, as already stated, I was really impressed with the standard of handling and the indications that the dogs gave when finding scent, this is really encouraging from teams working at this level.
You all have beautiful dogs and should be really proud of the way they worked for you.
I would like to say a huge well done to all handlers and their dogs, but a particularly big well done to –
1st Place – Wendy and Zeus – a great team, Zeus is a slow and steady lad but he gets the job done. – a well deserved clean sweep for you both today. His indications have come on a treat Wendy – well done!
2nd Place – Jan and Onyx – a really calm and steady partnership who were a joy to watch. Jan is really in tune with Onyx and gives her dog time to search – lovely handling Jan. Another well deserved clean sweep. 3rd Place –Allan and Missy – Great teamwork, a happy girl who enjoys her searching. Pause and watch for a few seconds before calling Allan – this will give you time to see if she changes her mind or not.
4th Place –Martyn and Evie – A last minute entry and a great result for your first trial – Evie is a keen little girl who loves searching. I’m sure your rosette will be the first of many.

I really enjoyed judging all of you and your beautiful dogs and I hope to meet up with you all again in trials in the near future.
Happy training! Julie

Judges Report for Level 3 – Kate Wilkes

Thank you to Julie Bytheway for completing TM’s duties on the afternoon of the 18th Oct to allow me to judge L3. I am sure I had a more relaxing time than you did Julie. Thank you also to Olga for scribing and to Ceris and Helen who were competing and helped to tidy up in between exercises to make sure we all got away by 4.30pm.

We started L3 with Tables/Chairs and Perimeter. Cloves were hidden on a table leg and gun oil on the bottom of the steps leading up onto the stage. The chairs were arranged in pairs on the corner of the tables to allow access to the table legs and underside of the table. Few handlers encouraged their dogs to go through the space that we had created and under the table. Most of the dogs detected the clove scent on the table but could not get to source and were indicating on the chairs next to the table leg. With a little bit of extra help and encouragement to go under the table more teams would have got this one. I think many forgot that at L3 it could be on the table as well and when I pointed out where the scent was many knew their dog was not quite on source. This is a big room, and we excluded the radiators and associated pipework to limit the area to be searched. Most teams searched the articles around the perimeter before searching the perimeter itself. Remember to send your dogs into corners and search at different levels. Well done to Ceris with Alfie, Jo with Milo and Irene with Toby who took their time and waited for a definite indication on the table leg before calling – all of these teams found both scented articles.

We did a wall search instead of a vehicle – 25m of wall which included the side of a shed, brick wall, two doors and edges of two large planters. The wall was within a child’s play area which was securely fenced. The scent was hidden on the edge of the shed at the very start of the wall and on the side of the planter. All dogs missed the first scent at the start of the search, cutting the corner and not searching the first few feet of the wall. Start your search a little out of area to ensure your digs nose is on the wall at the beginning of the search area and send your dog into corners. There was some very impressive searching from Ann with Izzy, who made us smile all day with her extremely loud snuffling. Izzy is small a takes her time but was the only team to find the planter on the first pass, taking her time. Unfortunately, she missed the second scent which was a little higher. Helen with Marcus had the fastest time on this one with lots of encouragement and some great teamwork.

Containers – fourteen containers were laid out randomly and included cardboard and plastic boxes and rucksacks. The scents were hidden on two sturdy cardboard boxes (shoe box and smaller gift box). Some really lovely handling notably from Brenda with Maggy and Ann with Izzy. Both handlers stayed out of the search area only stepping into the area to give help when needed. Ann and Izzy had the fastest successful search of the day with this one. Some handlers forgot that the scent could be on two boxes or bags or one on either – and after finding the first scent concentrated on the bags – despite their dog indicating on the other correct box. Please read the rules.

Final search of the day was the Exterior items – within the child play area and securely fenced. There were some environmental distractions and Irene with Toby worked really hard to keep Toby focused on the items and was rewarded with two successful finds. All teams found both of these finds, the first full house of the day with some very fast times.

We set a challenging but fair trail and not all of our teams qualified today. The wall and Table/Chairs and perimeter caught many of the teams out – practice searching at different levels and sending your dogs into corners and please read the rules. All of your dogs have great indications and just need a little bit of extra help times when they can’t quite get their nose on source.

I really enjoyed watching you all work today and wish you all success in your future trails.

Comments are closed.