Sat 15 Aug 2020, Totnes

Levels 2 & 4: Judge - Hannah Crook

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

A big thank you to Hannah for coming along to judge, especially as it was her birthday! The Level 2 trial was split in to two groups and there were some great searches by all the dogs, especially as it was a new venue for many of them. Much as I do miss running my own dog, I do thoroughly enjoy watching other teams work and seeing them progress.

Hannah set some very thoughtful challenges for both levels, and gave handlers excellent feedback and advice following their searches. Well done to all the qualifiers, and those that were placed. I look forward to hosting you all again in the future.

Level 4 –

This was my first time judging a level 4, although I have competed myself under several judges and have now also worked Level 5. My aim was to create some challenges for the handlers and the dogs, similar to finds they may be progressing on to when they are moving into level 5.
Many find this such a big jump. I know a couple of the level 4 trials I went to the judges had carefully created challenges to make me think and work more as a handler. This was my aim today. I wanted to create finds which were achievable but which maybe needed some observation from the handler as well as an awareness of how to work the area as well as the dog.
Distraction scents were Toothpaste and Almond oil.

The exterior ran first, the hides being a wheel and a flat metal H frame.
All of the dogs correctly identified the wheel, with three moving on to correctly call the H frame. I felt for Marilyn as the rain decided to really fall hard during her search. He picked up the scent a couple of times, but just could not quite track back and sadly timed out. A couple of dogs checked out where the distraction scent was, but dismissed it and moved on. Most incorrect alerts were called on the article next to the correct one.
We then moved into the Boxes and Luggage.
Both finds were placed on bags, one in the far corner of the room, every dog identified this bag correctly. The second find was placed on the strap of a shoulder bag. All the dogs picked up the scent, but had problems tracking back to where it was, the focus from the dogs was the bag and many did not check the handle at all. The incorrect calls were on another bag which the dog seemed to enjoy flipping over and the bag next to the correct one! The distraction scent of the toothpaste caused no issues.

Moving to the Wall. This comprised of a 10m breeze block wall with a right angle and progressing along another 20m. There were 6 articles placed along the perimeter. The first find was placed at the start of the wall on an article (A plastic pipe peanut holder) with the second find located about 5m after the corner on a pillar.
The find on the wall was correctly identified by all the teams, with Jackie and Marilyn also identifying the first find. Most glossed over the first article as the dog hit the wall and started searching without checking the article first. Most picked up the scent but needed a little help to ‘see’ where it was.

Finally moving on to the table and chairs. Almond oil was placed on a chair.
The finds were placed on a perimeter article, (a small box) which 4/5 identified, one sadly calling on the article next to. The tables were placed in a T shape, with the find being placed on the on the right hand corner of the top of the ‘T’.
This was a find that needed some handling. All of the dogs picked up the scent, but had trouble tracking it back to source. I felt that the handlers and dogs were focused very much on the chairs and maybe the dogs needed a little reminder that the tables were also involved! One dog sadly fell for the Almond!

These ended up being some tough searches, but it was really lovely to watch the dogs working, and boy did they work hard!
Well done to everyone.

Thank you so much for Sara asking me to judge! Seems to have been an age, but lovely getting back to it and watching some fabulous teams.

Judges report Level 2
Decided to run the two searches back to back, starting with the exterior articles and then moving indoors to the boxes and luggage.
The Exterior articles were an agility tunnel bag (silly mistake… poor Sara had a good work out lifting it each time!) and a plastic tool box.
Every competitor completed this search finding both finds, a couple of tiny fractions of marks were deducted for not being directly on the source of the article, pulling away from the scent and one unfortunate accident. Most dogs picked up the tunnel bag first, despite it being the find further from the start.
Inside, were a wine box and a small sports bag. The hide was in the handle of the sports bag. Again, every team achieved both finds, usually the box was found first, many of the dogs needed tasking to the bag, but all indicated beautifully once they picked up the scent.

The search areas were then reset for the Vehicle and wall and Table and chairs.
The vehicle search dropped a couple of finds, one dog who was not confident working the wall and got a little confused as to what was being asked, the other just jumping to call on the vehicle a fraction too soon. The finds were on the rear wheel of the vehicle and in a crevice in the wall. The wall find was quite close to the start of the marked area, but many of the dogs picked up up quickly, only a few trying to get the moneys worth and working the whole way up and back!
The perimeter article on the table and chairs was a flat backed step, the dogs generally picked this up going passed and catching it on the way back. The chair was placed opposite the perimeter article on the other side of the room. All the dogs picked this up confidently, although an open window did create a draft which meant that some went under the table to track back to source. Everyone handled this very well.
1st – Gerogina and Pi – I have watched this team a few times while judging at level 1. Never have I seen Georgina so relaxed and Pi working so confidently and independently. She really was a joy to watch. After the first initial panic that she might be telling porkies, Georgina trusted her and let her go to work, calling it each time as soon as she recognised the indication. Beautiful work and well deserved place.
2nd – Anna and Finn – Lovely to watch this team. Again, a partnership growing with confidence after each search.
3rd – Chrissie Scott and Oggie the doggie – The first time I have seen this pair in action. Lovely methodical searching. With great lead handling from the handler and a beautiful still indication. I sort of felt I was not needed! There was so much confidence with each find.
4th – Tash and Aika – I have watched Tash as she has started her scent work journey with Aika, so I was thrilled to see her gain a place with a perfect score. Aikas confidence and maturity are really starting to show now. Her indication has developed into a lovely freeze. There was a nail biting moment where it looked like she might kill the box, but all she was doing was holding it to be able to freeze! Well done Tash, a real credit to your hard work with a fabulous, although not always the easiest, dog !

Steph and Freya – the little Pocket rocket! Amazing to watch her searching and seeing so clearly how she picked up the scent and tracked back. A real joy to watch and did so well in a new location.
Lesley and Gem – Such a gentle searcher and again, one who has come on in leaps and bounds since I last judged you as a team. Well done
Debra and Buddy – I was Super impressed by this partnership, it really is the first time I have seen you both work so confidently. I am so thrilled you got a clean sweep! Well done.
Serena and Bertie – I could have wept for you in the exterior, but I was so pleased with how you got passed it. Instead of falling apart, you came back in each search stronger and got a fabulous clean sweep. Well done.
Jackie and Dart – another I wept for! Such a shame , just jumping in and calling a fraction to soon. However also went on not allowing it to affect the next searches and got him focused and working beautifully. Giving you the indications you know he can. He is such a little star – even if he did need to dry off between finds!
Jo and Neo – The first time I have seen this partnership. A lovely gentle searching dog with a very understanding handler. Neo became a little worried in the first indoor search, read by Jo beautifully, she popped him back on the lead, reset him and got some lovely indications from him. It was shame about the wall, but his final search on the T/C was so perfect it had us all grinning. A star in the making.

Well done all. You were joy to watch.

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