Sat 07 Jan 2023, Stithians

Levels 1 & 4: Judges - L1: Denise Pile , L4 Jackie Lawer

Stithians Centre, Church Road, Stithians, Truro TR3 7DH

Start: L1: 10 am, L4 approx. 1 pm
Entry Fees: £28 per dog.
Contact: Jackie Lawer / Denise Pile

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

This morning I was TM with Denise Pile judging Level 1 and this afternoon we swapped hats and Denise acted as TM and I judged the Level 4. We managed to dodge the worst of the showers and most of the dogs worked beautifully. Just a couple of dogs seemed a bit out of sorts and this possibly was down to tiredness. I think we can sometimes underestimate just how tiring scentwork can be.
My thanks, as always to Denise for judging – the Level 1s seemed to enjoy themselves – and to all our jolly band of helpers, who helped Denise and me keep things running smoothly!
It was a real pleasure to judge Level 4 today; it is fascinating watching all the different dogs and how the teams work together as a partnership. We started with the table, chairs and perimeter. This area presented most of the difficulties. Some of these appeared to be that the handlers stopped searching the table and chairs area and took their dogs immediately to the perimeter once they found the first hide. In this case I had scented the underside of a chair and at the far end of the long tables, had used the table leg as the second hide. There were a few items and some doors around the perimeter and handlers generally spent quite a lot of time tasking their dogs into these areas. The dogs allowed to ‘free search’ appeared to do best in this search area. The distraction scents were peppermint on a plastic cable drum and coffee underneath one of the chairs. A couple of dogs were attracted to the peppermint and this caused a couple of false calls.
We used an outside area covered with artificial grass for the exterior search. We marked off an area with cones, where a dog had urinated during the earlier trial, and the handlers were told to avoid that area and only search from the lower side of the coned off area. Unfortunately, another off lead dog decided to mark in the coned off area! Unusually, the dogs involved were both bitches. Nearly all the dogs found both scented items and all ignored the distraction scents. The find nearest to the entry point was in a metal domed length of metal with holes in it (gun oil) and the other was on the far side on a defunct bathroom scale. The distraction scents were in a small wellington boot (coffee) and a small plastic container (peppermint).
We returned indoors for the containers and luggage search. I scented the outside strap of a rucksack on the far side of the area and a large, sturdy box which tended to be first item the team came to when they started and caused some of the dogs to rush pass but to find it later on. Nearly all the dogs were successful in this search and totally ignored the distraction scents – peppermint in a small clutch bag and coffee in a small cardboard box.
For our last search, I thought I set a nice easy wall search. Everyone was successful in this one, but some took a little longer to get there. Well done to Janet and Teddy, who remained calm and collected when the local hunt, complete with hounds, rode past! There are no distraction scents in this area and the first find (CL) was immediately on the left on a down pipe as the teams entered the area, the other was on a black metal fixing plate (GO) behind the front leg of a bench. It occasionally took a little time for the handlers to call the find, as the dogs worked hard to track to source.
Many congratulations to Beccy and Pike for their win and Excellent award and to everyone else who took part today. As the next step up from Level 4 is a bit of a leap, I wanted to be as fair as possible in my marking and gave a few small deductions, as I think it is important to try and differentiate between a perfect search and where there could be some improvement. The deductions were for: fouling, dog not quite at source, handler getting in dog’s way and dog pulling out and dropping the scented article.
I hope everyone enjoyed the trial as much as I did.

Thank you Jackie for asking me to judge level 1. We started with a vehicle search in the car park while there wasn’t too many people about and it wasn’t raining, nearly every one found the scent and every one took less than 1 minute. We then moved inside for the table and chairs some of the dogs struggled a bit with this, I really don’t know why. By this time the rain started so we decided to do the Boxes and Luggage Bev and Molly took all of 5 seconds to find the right bag! with Louisa and Iona not far behind with 8 seconds. The rain stopped so we did the Exterior search most dogs managed this search even though the wind was really blowing now , poor Annie Mac couldn’t wait and had a tiddle in the search area so lost her handler 5 points. but I think every one was happy and they all took the best dog home.

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