Sat 15 Oct 2022, Walberton

Level 5: Judge - Helen Byrne

Walberton Village Hall, BN18 0PJ

Start: 9am
Entry Fees: £28 per dog.
Contact: Jennie Dean

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Stepping in at the last minute to judge the L5 meant I only had the night before to plan my areas. Luckily I know the village hall and was able to send my plans to Jennie who arranged the areas the night before in readiness for us to put the odours out and white dog as I arrived in the morning. Thank you Jennie for this and the smooth running of the trial.
I had 4 hides in each area. At L5 the teams are told how many hides are out and it is a big step up from L4, so in my opinion the hides were nicely placed, with one hard find in each area.
We had a few teams new to L5, so people were a little nervous to start with, but for most these were under control by the end of the day.
We started with the exterior search. An ‘L’ shape perimeter search with a fence to the left and the front of the village hall, with two recesses to each side of double doors. A shed and cones in one recess and a large cement planter and two crates in the other.
The first hide was on the gate (clove), the second (clove) on the 6th post from the end of the fence. Turning the corner into one of the recesses the third hide was between the shed and the wall (GO). This one, I thought would be the hardest, as the teams needed to not cut that corner to pick it up or task into the corner, but I was proved wrong by these fabulous teams because all but one team found it, well done. The last find was in the other recess in the far crate (GO) at the end of the building, which all teams found. The gate post proved the hardest with 3 teams not finding it. A combination, I think, of teams assuming they had found one on the fence and there wouldn’t be another, so moved on and possibly the wind. Those that tasked back along the fence the other way into the wind picked it up. Well done to those of you who did this.
Interior 1 was the next search area. A very large hall with a stage with doors along the bottom of it, two doors to the side of the stage and articles around the perimeter. I had also asked Jennie to place 9 chairs in a X shape. Hides were (GO) on the centre chair, 2nd hide was on the second upright table (GO), this was my hard find as again the dogs needed to not cut the corner and either self-task back into the corner or be tasked. It was no problem as all teams found it! The third hide was on the piano leg (clove) and the final hide was on the bottom of the left-hand back chair in the X. Mortimer, found the chairs irresistible! Well done Bev for keeping your nerve when he false alerted twice on two chairs and you still needed to call on one! Very brave, well done! All teams found all hides apart from one team finding 3 of the hides. Well done all.
Interior 2 was a foyer/lobby with two lots of double doors and 4 single doors with cupboards around the perimeter. I had asked Jennie to put 3 chairs down the middle of the search area. First hide was at the start of the search area in a skirting board to the left (GO), this I thought was the hardest find in this area. Most dogs rushed past this one and unless they were tasked back to this area missed it. Unfortunately, 2 teams never went back to this area thus missing it. The second on the far door hinge (GO) all teams found, as did they the bottom of the kitchen door frame (C). The last find was on the 4th brick up by the Ladies toilet door (C). That little Minx by name and by nature took her team out of the rosettes with a false alert, but lovely work other than that! Bev kept those nerves at bay and the little Frenchie left these chairs alone. All dogs found all hides apart from 2 teams, finding 3 of them. Well done teams.
Before I go on to the placings, I would like to mention John and Storm, keeping both Jennie and I biting our nails as he called the very last find in interior 1, just as time was up! That was close! Well done.
4th place – Gina and Mabel – lovely team. Mabel knows what is required and gets on with the job in hand, after she’s said hello to the judge and scribe. Well done the two of you.
3rd place – Tina and George – Tina works her boy with such empathy; a lovely team to watch.
2nd place – Janet and Dylan – I’ve judged this team in the lower levels and boy have they improved and are now working as a team. Congratulations Janet, I know you are thrilled with this result.
1st place to our worthy winners Kathrin and Moley. What an absolute joy to watch. Moley needed little instruction from mum. He independently self-tasked his way around the areas. I have no doubt this team will fly through these higher levels. Really wonderful to watch this team. Huge congratulations Kathrin.
To all the teams you worked brilliantly. Like I said, L5 is a huge step up. I enjoyed each one of your searches and it really is a privilege to be a tiny part of your scent work journey. For those teams that it didn’t go quite as well as expected or would have liked, keep playing. We all have those trials that don’t go to plan, but there will be others and I very much look forward to seeing you all progress. Thank you all for making my job a very enjoyable one.

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