Sat 13 Aug 2022, Marston Moreteyne

Level 3: Judge - Kathy Killick

Beancroft Farm, Beancroft Road, Marston Moreteyne MK430QE

Start: Briefing 8.30am; Judging 8.45am
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Emma Conlisk

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Judge’s Report: Scentwork UK Level 3 Trial Marston Moreteyne Saturday 13 August
Thank you to Emma for inviting me to judge a level 3 at this lovely venue. There was an amber level heat warning for the day, so we agreed to start with the judge’s briefing at 7.45 and to aim to be finished by 10.00, which we managed. Thank you to Emma and Jill for your impressive organisation and efficiency and to all competitors for being so cheerful and accepting my tests and decisions in good spirits. I saw some excellent teamwork and some moments of true brilliance in the work of the dogs and the handlers, which was overall of a very good standard.
I set tests that would challenge the teams in various ways characteristic of Level 3.
We started with a 20 metre search along a very interesting wall with many different surfaces. This search proved to be the bugbear of the trial. The first hide was placed early in a tiny hole on an area of brick wall, and the other on a gate at the far end of the wall. In between were door areas that drew both dogs and handlers. Very few handlers helped their dogs to search the early brick area of wall thoroughly. One handler failed to read that her dog had knocked on odour in that area and inadvertently encouraged the dog to move away. However some teams rose to the various challenges involved with great aplomb and their work was a great pleasure to watch.
We moved on to tables, chairs and perimeter where one hide was placed low on the inside of the table leg frame, the other on a cool box. Some teams struggled to work in from the chairs to the table, those that were confident in doing so found the hide fairly easily. The one on the cool box was initially missed by some dogs either because it was the first object searched or because of the angle of approach, but the handlers’ skills were up to this particular challenge. Wendy and Ella worked systematically and skilfully to find both in an impressive time.
By the time we started the exterior search, the temperature was climbing. All teams rose to the challenges presented by my placing of the hides, one in the spout of a watering can and another tucked into the fabric of a camping stool, some, notably Ulrike and Milo, finding both in impressively fast times.
The container search gave the judging team some nailbiting moments. Both hides were placed on bags, one a ‘carry on’ airline case and the other a very unobtrusive flat handbag placed at the front of the search. The latter was not searched by some teams and this led to false indications on other items when dogs became frustrated. One handler did not notice when her dog had found the hide on the handbag because she was walking away from the dog at the time, and called the dog away. Handling points were also lost by 2 teams for taking insufficient steps to prevent their dogs from returning to the first find more than once. When the handlers encouraged their dogs into the area with the handbag the dogs had no trouble knocking the odour and going to source.
At the end of proceedings we discovered that all teams had qualified, and that Sarah’s handling experience had guided the lovely Billie to a win. Congratulations! Wendy and Ella were competing in their first Level 3 and very narrowly missed the top spot – congratulations to you both. Charlotte and Blue in third place (who also gained their L3 Excellent qualification, and Leanne and Jasper in fourth, very well deserved placings.
Very well done to all!

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