Sat 08 Oct 2022, Slitting Mill

Levels 2 & 4:
Judges - L2 Julie Bytheway, L4 Kate Wilkes

Slitting Mill Victory Hall, Slitting Mill Road, Slitting Mill, Rugeley, WS15 2UW

Start: 9am and 12:45pm
Entry Fees: £28 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 her Level 2 trial, Slitting Mill is a great venue for trials and I always enjoy judging (and working) here. I would also like to say a very big thank you to Olga for scribing and to Ceris for keeping things running smoothly, as always.
The weather was kind to us; it was a beautiful sunny autumn day with just a light intermittent breeze – a perfect day for scenting!
9 teams entered the trial and there was a mixture of teams that had competed in Level 2 trials before but there were also some less experienced competitors who had to take some deep breaths before starting. A white dog was used to check the scents before each exercise began.
We started with the exterior search, which was situated on a patio area to the rear of the hall. One scent was placed on a small white portable step and the other was put on the handle of a dustpan and brush. Many of the dogs were really distracted by the grass and trees that surrounded the search area, even though it was fenced off, and handlers had to work hard to keep them focused. 5 teams managed to find both of the scents; Sharon and Breeze making it look easy in a time of 24 seconds. Lynda and Izzy were lovely to watch with really calm handling, just letting the dog get on with the job and reading her well.
After this we moved on to the tables and chairs and the perimeter searches. The perimeter scent was placed in a plastic hair diffuser in the nook of a pillar on the left hand wall. Another scent was placed on a chair situated at the top right hand corner of the table arrangement. Most teams found both of these scents accurately, Milo and Luther really enjoyed this one, bounding round the room, whilst searching, Jo and Clare did well to keep them both under control. Charlotte and Bailey were quick in 35 seconds for both finds on this one.
We did an external wall search next. Two scents were placed on the wall, one, which was fairly close to the start, was low down in a hole in the brick and the other was further on, in a little nook, at nose height for many of the dogs. The majority of handlers were successful with this search, although it was the search that took the longest time for most, with the exception of Lynda and izzy, who found both scents in 35 seconds. A shout out to Clare and Luther on this one, perseverance paid off and he got the find by the skin of his teeth with about 10 seconds to go. Many of the dogs took a longer time as they repeatedly searched at nose height throughout the search, working on searching at different levels will help the dogs to find scents more easily.
Boxes and bags was the final search and one scent was placed on a grey shoe box near to the start and the other was on the handle of a flowery bag, which was placed in the middle of the search area. All dogs found this search problematic and none found both scents. All dogs falsely indicated on one of the scents but their false indications were on different articles, which was really strange. Some dogs gave a strong indication on articles, but some dogs showed interest rather than an indication, especially on the bags and rucksacks.

I would like to say a huge well done to all handlers and their dogs, but a particularly big well done to –

1st Place – Lynda and Izzy – a great team, really calm and steady handling from Lynda she let’s Izzy get on with it, trusts her dog and reads her well.
2nd Place – Sharon and Breeze – another calm and steady partnership that were lovely to watch.
3rd Place –Jane and Hector – Great team work, a nice steady dog who enjoyed his searching.
4th Place –Nicola and Cara– I have seen you both work a few times now and your confidence and handling skills get better every time – well done!

I really enjoyed judging all of you and your beautiful dogs and I hope that our paths cross again in the near future. Happy training!


L4 Slitting Mill
The weather was cool but sunny and dry with very little wind.
We started with the exterior search with the scent hidden on a long Flash Mop and an agility hoop. Julie and Jess had no trouble finding both articles in 54 seconds with some excellent methodical handling – earning them their Excellence and a solid 3rd place overall. A good solid start also for Sarah Stonton and Loxi working on the lead. Loxi was a bit unsure on one of the scents but checked the rest of the articles before going back and confirming with a clear indication. The distraction scents, dog bed and shampoo, caused no problems with three teams (out of 6) finding both scents. Some teams found the environmental distractions difficult with squirrels and birds in nearby trees.
Table, chairs and perimeter – with gun oil on the corner of a table and cloves on a door (metal fire exit mechanism) about 750mm high. Only one team found both scents, Carol Phillips and Hex, with some lovely steady, methodical and independent searching from Hex. He certainly knew what job needed to be done today and was our eventual 1st place winner. The distraction scents proved too tempting for several teams and caution was needed when calling a wrong indication over a distraction scent and then automatically offering a reward (when told it was not correct – trial nerves I think :-))
Vehicle/Wall search – two cars and a wall section with items at the base were used. Gun oil was placed on one car on the underside of a sidestep and clove on one of the objects at the base of the wall in a tight corner. Helen Taylor and Clay pushed this to the wire with some fabulous methodical wall searching at different levels from Clay, he couldn’t quite get his nose on the low wall scent but finally worked it out and his hard work gained him a very well-deserved overall 2nd place on the day. Lynne White and Alize were really struggling with environmental distractions today, but Lynne persevered with lots of encouragement and was very unlucky not to score the second find (on the car) – Alize found it seconds after time was called.
Luggage and containers – two boxes were scented with the gun oil and cloves with one box right next to the start cones and the other in the far corner. Most teams swept over the nearest box, except for Hex who was tasked by Carol to check it on his way in resulting in the fastest first find of the day and the fastest completed (successful) search of the day. Rachael Fox and Esme took it steady and although not the fastest at this exercise had two very solid indications – earning them their Excellence and 4th place overall.
There was lots of independent searching today with dogs searching without much additional help from their handlers which was lovely to see, these dogs were really enjoying the work and knew what needed to be done. However, there were times where it would have been beneficial for the handlers to step in and redirect when part of the search area or articles were not searched – especially after the dog had been round a couple of times. It’s easy to see when you are watching which areas or objects have been missed/not searched but it is worth practicing – remembering where your dog has been and what he has already looked at – I still struggle with this myself when nerves play a part.
We only had six teams today and all were so very different with different handling styles, searching styles and some fabulous indications off every single dog. I thoroughly enjoyed judging you all and was very grateful to Ceris Wolfenden for taking on TM duties to allow me to do this today.

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