Sat 08 Aug 2020, Great Rollright

Level 6: Judge - Ali Brannen

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Judges Report – Level 6

First off I would like to thank Karen for asking me to judge this trial and to Hazell for allowing us to use her venue yet again.

It is the first trial I have ever judged where no one qualified, it was a bit of a shock to be honest and a tad disappointing. The dogs really seemed to struggle that day, whether it was down to the heat over the last couple of days or just rusty dogs and rusty handlers, who knows. A level 6 team was used to white dog all the areas (blind) and had no problem with finding all the hides, so the fact that teams struggled was a real surprise.

Anyway on to the first interior search. This was held in half of the dog barn. The hides from left to right were a bolt on a table which was gun, pipe under a toilet sink – truffle, bottom of a cupboard draw – gun and a gap in the skirting board which was truffle. 1/7 found 3 hides and that was Helen & Chip, 4 teams found 2 hides and they were Alison & Dylan, Liz & Thomas, Peter & Dolly and Yvonne & Drac. 2 teams found 1 hide and they were Melanie & Rowan and Tracey & Billy. The hide everyone missed was the draw, closely followed by the bolt although Helen & Chip were the only team to find this, so credit to Helen for handling so well.

On to the exterior which was based around a mobile home and paving area. The hides from left to right were a tow hitch – truffle, a gap in the paving – truffle, the bottom of a door crack – cloves and a support under the building – cloves. 4 teams found 3 scents and they were Helen & Chip, Alison & Dylan, Melanie & Rowan and Yvonne & Drac. 1 team found 2 and that was Liz & Thomas and 2 teams found 1 hide and they were Peter & Dolly and Tracey & Billy. The hide no one called was the gap in the paving, despite me putting an article nearby to draw the teams into investigating that area. Although some dogs did show interest, handlers weren’t convinced so they never called it.

Lastly was interior 2, this was held in the other end of the dog barn and the hides from left to right were cupboard door – truffle, sleeve of a jumper – gun, the side of a bucket – truffle and a tyre in the middle of the search area – truffle. 2 teams found 3 and they were Melanie & Rowan and Helen & Chip, 2 teams found 2 hides and they were Liz & Thomas and Alison & Dylan, 3 teams found 1 hide and they were Yvonne & Drac, Tracey & Billy and Peter & Dolly. The most missed hide was the tyre in the middle of the search area, handlers either forgot about the middle or failed to ensure their dog had checked the item properly. This search also saw 3 teams eliminated in the morning session.

So all in all a disappointing day all round. Helen & Chip put in the best effort of the day, they worked great as a team and Helen even had the confidence to call hides that Chip had moved away from, so keep up the good work.

I do hope to see you all in the future, keep working hard and challenging those dogs.

Ali Brannen

Trial Manager’s report

It was a boiling hot day for our Level 6 trial at Great Rollright with temperatures reaching 27 degrees. The trial went ahead anyway as planned due to a majority vote.

I have competed in, judged and trial managed quite a few high level trials where only one competitor has qualified but unfortunately the stars didn’t align for any of our seven dog teams and, as a result for various reasons, nobody qualified. I guess it was always going to happen one day.

For some of the dogs it was the first time venturing out since the Covid lockdown and they found the experience of the new environment much more rewarding than searching for SWUK odours. One or two dogs put in a good show but the handlers missed their efforts and didn’t give as much assistance to them as the dog needed to perform well. Remember that the dog is the driver but the handler is the map reader and together they make a team.

Clearly the heat did have some impact on a couple of the dogs who just weren’t in working mode on the day
but it was relatively cool for dogs and handlers under the shade of the trees with a welcome breeze blowing across the grounds at Hazell’s lovely venue. It was us who were baking hot all day!

Ali set a fair but challenging test but none of the dog teams found the tyre, the slab or the kitchen drawer although many knew they were in the scent pool. Handlers didn’t insist their dog check there when the dog took no notice. However, the white dog, who ran blind, had no trouble at all with any of the hides.

Helen’s Chip almost qualified only missing out by 0.75 of a point. Bad luck Helen.

Thanks once again to everyone who attended and for your good humour despite your disappointment. Each trial is an opportunity to learn and reflect.

Many thanks to Hazell for her venue and to Ali for judging. We hope you will be up for the challenge again soon and will have taken some guidance away that’ll help for the next time.

Best wishes
Karen Denton

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