Sat 13th Oct 2018, Canvey Island

Level 1:- Judge - Jennie Fairweather

1st Karen – Gunner :- 100
2nd Laura – Peanut :- 80
3rd Norma – Bertie :- 79.5

Judges Report Canvey Island Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October – Jennie Fairweather

Thank you to Jo Crosby-Dean for inviting me to Judge their Level 1, 2 and 3 Scentwork UK Trial. Thanks also go to all my helpers especially Sue, my scrimmer and everyone who helped throughout the weekend to make my job run very smoothly.

General comments:

The standard in all the Levels was high with all the dogs willing to work and so interesting to watch. The contrary weather conditions didn’t help the dogs in the outside Vehicles and Exterior Searches both days – hot, windy and sunny on Saturday and then cold, wet and windy on Sunday. Both weather conditions affected the Level 1 and 2 dogs with their outside searches. The sun made the stagnant ground odours rise up causing some distractions with the beginner dogs while the rain on Sunday bought up other distracting odours from the ground and the wind blowing the scents in all directions on both days making it difficult for the dogs to go to source especially on the vehicle searches.
For both levels 2 and 3, I was a little bit harder marking the handling of the dogs. Handling marks were deducted when the dog continued to wonder away from the scented area or were distracted by other smells and the handler made no attempt to bring the dog back to the search area. Also marks were lost when the dog didn’t search the whole area be it the inside searches or external searches (if the dog had found the 2 scents without searching the whole area marks were not deducted). Handlers you do need to make sure your dog searches the whole area so try to encourage the dog to look at the objects or area they have missed. I know this can be difficult to remember where your dog has searched but once you have a search method for every search it makes things so much easier – exam nerves, but practice and experience will help. If the dog finds both the scents very early then that is different and you do not need to continue the search. I was so pleased to see how enthusiastically the handlers rewarded their dogs after their searches – well done!
In this trial, we had a couple of handlers running 2 dogs which didn’t help to make the trial run smoothly as I had to remove and replace the scents for the second dog and then wait for them to ‘cook’, all takes up time. It made it even more difficult as there was a limited number of vehicles we were able to use on both days.

Level 1

Level 1 was on Saturday afternoon. There were 4 search areas with one clove scent hidden in each of the 4 areas. Thank you to all the handlers who entered the Level. It was lovely to see the dogs working so well even those dogs who had just done a couple of classes! Although there were 10 teams entered for this Level, sadly, only 3 qualified but I would like to say all the teams worked so very well, lack of experience was the main reason for not finding the scents, the handlers either failed to recognise the dog had found the scent or the handler gave false alerts, misreading their dogs. Jo had warned me that there were several teams (no names were mentioned) who had only had a couple of training sessions so well done to these handlers and thank you for your entry. In Level 1 it can be difficult for the handler to be able to ‘read’ their dog when it has found the scent. This inexperience meant not all the handlers were able to ‘read’ their dogs when the dog found the scent source. Some of the handlers lured their dogs into alerting on the wrong article. At this level the dog can be lacking in confidence and can rely on the handler for conformation it has found the scent. If the handler stands still by an object the dog can sometimes think the handler has found the scent and will indicate on the article near to the handler even though the scent is not there just to please its owner. Handlers you will learn to recognise when your dog has found the scent and you do need to believe in your dog. Just try to remember to keep moving around the area (and I don’t mean you to ‘pull’ you dog away from the scent), ensure that your dog has investigated the whole area for the scent. I know from experience that sometimes it is so hard to believe your dog has alerted.
There were several teams who worked very well and I am sure will progress quickly. First, second and third places were separated by just 0.1 point each (99.9, 99.8, 99.7)! I would just like to congratulate Karen and Gunner on their first place and ‘clean sweep’. Gunner knew just what he needed to do and Karen was able to read him very well, it was a joy to watch him working, such a methodical worker! In second place was Laura and Peanut. Laura handled Peanut very well, Peanut just failing to find the scent on the vehicle as did Bertie handled by Norma. Laura did not lose any handler points so well done. In third place was Norma and Bertie, Well done to you all.

Level 2

Once again I watched some lovely dogs working so very well, they knew what they had to do and just got on with it! There were some very good handlers who were able to read their dogs extremely well. Again, in this class, several handlers just stood still causing some confusion in their dogs. Please do keep moving if you do not want to influence your dog into a false alert. A couple of handlers did ‘talk’ their dog into an ‘alert’. You do need to ‘proof’ your dog, when it alerts by walking away and if the dog stays it generally has found the scent. But do be careful you don’t pull the dog off the scent. Again these errors could have been due to lack of experience by the handler? In first place was Charles and Misty with 89.9 points closely followed by Natalie and Marley in second place with 89.8 points – just 0.1 point between them. In third place was Natalie and Nemo again losing by just 0.1 point. Well done to you all. There were no ‘clean sweeps’ for this Level today.
The fasted dog to find both scents was Marley handled by Natalie. Marley found both scents in 18 seconds in the Exterior Search and 24 seconds in the Vehicle Search, so well done.

Level 3

This trial was on Sunday afternoon and as I have already mentioned, the weather was not kind to either the handlers or dogs for the outside searches! However, all the dogs found both scents on both the exterior and vehicle searches so maybe the rain and wind wasn’t such a distraction? In this level we had some dogs searching for cloves and gun oil and others for truffle oil & gun oil (one dog is very allergic to cloves). This again caused lost time while we waited for the scents to ‘cook’ after replacing them.
The same remarks apply to this level as in level 2, that is: lack of attention by the dog, handlers, ‘talking’ the dog into the ‘find’. However, the standard was much higher in the handling of the dogs with the handlers reading their dogs very well. Not so many handling points lost although one dog fouled in the ring and another played with the scented article once found.
The winner for this level was Jo with Ehren. Eheren managed a ‘clean sweep’ so well done on your handling Jo especially as you only lost 0.1 handling point throughout the trial gaining 99.9 points!! In second place was Emma and Cora. Another team with a ‘clean sweep’ and just losing out to first place by 0.1 point (99.8)! Third was Chris and QueevaDiva, another team with a ‘clean sweep’ and also losing out by just 0.1 point (99.7). A very close trial which I enjoyed judging very much!

A/F = Alert Find H = Handling T = Time (seconds)
  Tables & Chairs Exterior Search Vehicle Search Boxes & Luggage Totals
Name of Handler & Dog A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T Marks Time
1 Karen – Gunner 20 5 16 20 5 26 20 5 39 20 5 19 100 100
2 Laura – Peanut 20 5 59 20 5 7 0 5 71 20 5 29 80 166
3 Norma – Bertie 20 5 24 20 4.5 172 0 5 25 20 5 106 79.5 327

K9 Solutions, 1a Tavistock House, Charfleets Road, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 0PQ.

Start time – 1PM,
Entry Fees: £20 per dog, Capped at 10 handlers,
Contact: K9Solutions, Tel: 07776 334481,
Download entry form to book a place.