Fri 26 May 2017, Belbroughton

Levels 1 & 2 Judge: Karen Kendall
Level 1

1st Nikki – Pepper – 99.5
2nd Sharon – Buddy – 79
3rd Peter – Dolly – 78.25
4th Deb – Belle – 78

Level 2

1st Heather – Timmy – 99.5
2nd Annie – Ozzie – 97.5
3rd Sheila – Zak – 79.5
4th Lynn – Kaiser – 79

When I booked this Trial I never expected it would turn out to be the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures reaching the high 20s.  I would like to give a massive thanks to Karen Kendall for coming to be our judge today.  Not only did she have to suffer the sweltering heat but also the congestion on the M40 on the way back home on one of the busiest days for travelling at the beginning of the Spring Bank Holiday week.

The heat was a major concern for Karen and I as the hall doesn’t have additional rooms for handlers and dogs to rest in between the search exercises so folk had to find limited shade outside where they could but they all managed to do that and stay chilled in themselves!  The dogs coped admirably with the heat and although they were flagging towards the end, they all put in a great performance.

We started with the Vehicles before they became too hot to search followed by the Exterior articles as the day just got hotter and hotter!  We did Tables and Chairs next, finishing with Bags and Luggage.  All the dogs worked hard but Peter had a job on his hands with his Springer, Dolly, who has recently decided that the stones on the ground outside need more investigating than the cars or the exterior items! He struggled to get her focused but inside she completed the searches in seconds! It was like having two completely different dogs! Well done to Nikki and her Labrador, Peppa, who achieved a very high score and took 1st place in Level 1.  A special mention here for Sharon’s boy, Buddy, who lives with a debilitating condition and is a very poorly dog.  She came in from Paris this morning to compete in the Level 1 Trial and accomplished 2nd place.  Well done Sharon and Buddy!  The Level 2 dogs all did well with Heather taking 1st place with her Lancashire Heeler, Timmy.  Well done Heather!

It’s always interesting to observe the difference in people between a normal class and a test situation.  The pressure we put on ourselves to succeed and the doubts that kick in often result in our usual style of handling going out of the window!  Despite this happening occasionally all managed to hold their nerve and everyone passed! Great result!

Thanks again to Karen Kendall for judging and also thanks to my sister, Deborah, for being our runner, her help was invaluable. I really enjoyed today and I’m looking forward to my next class with these folks to hear about their experiences of the day.

Karen Denton

A/F = Alert Find H = Handling T = Time (seconds)
 Level 1     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 Nikki – Pepper 20 5 62 20 5 19 20 4.75 43 20 4.75 46 99.5 170
2 Sharon – Buddy 0 4 16 20 5 55 20 5 56 20 5 27 79 154
3 Peter – Dolly 20 5 12 20 3.5 133 0 4.75 79 20 5 31 78.25 255
4 Deb – Belle 0 3 48 20 5 31 20 5 78 20 5 45 78 202
A/F = Alert Find H = Handling T = Time (seconds)
 Level 2     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 Heather – Timmy 20 5 67 20 4.75 91 20 5 63 20 4.75 52 99.5 273
2 Annie – Ozzie 20 5 22 20 3 61 20 4.75 117 20 4.75 25 97.5 225
3 Sheila – Zak 20 4.75 2 10 5 91 20 4.75 115 10 5 62 79.5 270
4 Lynn – Kaiser 20 4.5 114 10 4.75 73 20 5 58 10 4.75 72 79 317

What a scorcher! I can only congratulate all the handlers for keeping their dogs interested and motivated on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

The early conditions were warm and so we started with the vehicle and exterior searches for Level 1, followed by Level 2. Handlers could work their dogs around the vehicle in any direction, as I wanted to see if handlers would pick up any early interest from their dogs. At Level 1 the scent was on a front wheel and all dogs found the scent, though Dolly decided to sniff and fixate on a stone by the wheel so it was impossible for the handler to call. Sheila worked Zak well with his sit indication. Using the “show me” cue she was able to see from Zak’s response where the scent was placed. At Level 2 the other scent was on a side door seam, and all dogs did brilliant searches to find both scents.

The exterior search was clear for all the Level 1 dogs, but caused problems for a couple of Level 2 dogs who gave wrong alerts on a plastic article. Handlers generally worked their dogs well, not getting in the way, though one handler pulled their dog away from the article, before going round again to call a false alert, probably out of desperation!

The tables and chairs caused problems for two of the Level 1 dogs with handlers calling on an investigation rather than clear indications from their dogs. Draughts from doors caused the scent to blow under the table and across the other side and some dogs investigated the wrong chairs. Level 2 dogs had no problems with the two finds, and those handlers who allowed their dogs more autonomy had very quick finds. Peter and Dolly found their article in 12 seconds and Annie and Ozzie found both of theirs in 22 seconds! Fantastic work both!

Last of all the boxes and luggage. All the Level 1 dogs successfully found the correct box and gave clear alerts. The second scent for Level 2 dogs was on a bag with the scent in a zipped compartment. Two dogs found both scents easily, though clever handling by Heather, allowing the dog to approach the bag from 2 different directions enabled Timmy to make his second find.

Thank you to Karen for asking me to judge your trial at Belbroughton. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the different breeds work and I thank the handlers for kindly accepting my decisions. I wish you all further success in your training.

Karen Kendall