Sat 5th May 2018, Finmere

Levels 2 & 3. Judge: Laura Ward
Level 2

1st Nikki Thorpe – Zig Zag – 100
2nd Linda Johnston – Tassel – 100
3rd Hazel Mead – Noodles – 100
4th Elizabeth Hodgson – Thomas – 99.5
5th Kate Chorley – Lola – 99.5
6th Nicola Inglis – Peppa – 89.75
7th Yaz Whitehall – Banjo * – 79.5

Level 3

1st Donna Winskill – Lucy – 99.5
2nd Patty Goriainoff – Joey – 90
3rd Tina Schuster – Breezer – 79
4th Kathy Killick – Star – 79
5th Kate Kemp – Paddy – 79
6th Felicity Veazey – Jet – 78.75

We had 7 entries in both the Level 2 & 3 for our first time judge Laura Ward.

It was a really nice sunny day which quickly became rather hot with some of the dog’s tiring in the final search the vehicle search in the hot sun.

The L3 started each search first and after a quick change around they were then followed by the L2 competitors which worked really well. We started with the ‘Tables & Chairs’ & perimeter search, then the ‘exterior’, boxes & Luggage and then finally the vehicle search. I was very fortunate to have two hard working helpers,  ‘Dolores Palmer’ ‘Scribe’ and ‘Runner’ Grahame Godby’ which freed up my time tremendously  enabled me to get the next search ready as well as being able to watch some of the searches.

As with all trials there were some ‘heart stopping’ moments, a few false alerts and some very good performances on the day. I will leave the main comments to my Judge Laura but will say commiserations to Lynda & Teddy who just seemed to be upset with something in the village hall today. Despite Lynda’s efforts Teddy just didn’t want to search but pulled out all the stops in the Exterior & Vehicle search showing the judge what an excellent searching dog he is. Nicky handled Peppa her Labrador cross really sensitively as Peppa decided that the water urn was making a rather scary noise. Nicky handled Peppa really well managing to work Peppa through her fear and finding both scented articles in the ‘Boxes & Luggage’ search. Also Linda’s Tassel, would is such a keen little dog, has become rather confused lately offering ‘false alerts’ on practically everything!. Full credit to Linda’s training and at Linda’s delight Tassel got all the ‘Finds’ gaining  a’ Clean Sweep’ and a 2nd place to boot well done. And lastly a special mention to Yaz for keeping her cool finding all the ‘Finds’ in the last 2 searches. Owing to abit of ‘pilot’ error this teams had gained 2 false alerts in the first and second search so it was imperative that they found all four scented articles in the last two searches which they did. I always think it takes a lot of courage not to feel defeated and give up as this team didn’t. Well done.

Again a special thank you to Laura Ward for surviving her first ‘Scentwork UK’ judging appointment, setting a straight forward test as well as being really encouraging to the competitors.     

This was my first day of judging and I was a little nervous, as I so wanted the teams to do well. The environment was relaxed and the day went smoothly, with gorgeous weather (which always helps).

Thank you so much to Heather Donnelly for being a fantastic trails manager and ensuring everybody was happy and organised. Thank you to Grahame Godby for being such a fantastic runner which certainly ensured the day ran smoothly and on time, and a thank you to Dolores Palmer for being a brilliant scribe. I think we all made an excellent team.

We started with the interior tables and chairs and perimeter search.  Two dogs were worried about the environment within the hall, due to past spooks (Lynda and Teddy and Nicky and Peppa). I was so impressed with the patience and good sportsmanship that these handlers displayed. Peppa, did an amazing and successful first search, but then froze when asked to go back in and find the second scent. This was such a shame but didn’t stop Nicky from smiling. When Peppa came to do her boxes and bags she was much more confident and worked through the hot water urn starting up half way through the search. Teddy, bless him, was having a bad day and I understand he usually is fine in this hall but something was really worrying him. That said, he showed us what he was made of with the exterior searches, and Lynda didn’t let it worry her.  I also feel Kate and Paddy did very well as Paddy was really feeling the heat, and as he is anxious around people, his stress levels affected his search. Kate works him so sensitively and I love his non-slip boots! So well done to these three teams! The first search is always the most nerve racking, so it was nice to see how the day progressed and everybody started to relax into their searches. We went on to the exterior searches, boxes and bags and then the vehicle searches.  The second search was the exterior search. The sun was shining but there wasn’t much wind. The dogs searched well, despite some activity from the public around the search areas. The vehicle search was difficult as it was the end of the day, the dogs were tiring and it was unusually hot. I feel the dogs tried incredibly hard and worked well considering we really are not used to working in this heat.

I was particularly impressed with the number of clean sweeps in level 2! I thought the standard was incredibly high, the dogs understood their job well and you all showed an excellent understanding of how to read your dogs and could distinguish their investigative sniffing to their true alerts. It was this good handling that meant that Nikki and Zig Zag, Linda and Tassel, Hazel and Noodles, Elizabeth and Thomas and Kate and Lola all got clean sweeps! I was also very impressed with Yaz and Banjo, who got a few false alerts but still managed to keep their cool and do some fantastic searching.

Level 3 was a little more challenging but everybody rose to the challenge. Well done to Donna and Lucy with first place and Patty with Joey for second place. Your dogs showed they knew their job, and your handling was confident, resulting in clean sweeps. And congratulations to Tina and Breezer, Kathy and Star, Kate and Paddy and Felicity and Jet for some excellent searching on a challenging day. As Heather said there were a few heart stopping moments where the competition nerves got to you (and your dogs) and there were some false alerts and some reluctance to call it. The pressure certainly increases as you go up the levels, so this is natural.

Keep up the hard work, keep observing your dogs’ body language (head end to the tail end)  whilst searching and indicating, keep strengthening that indication and building confidence in asking the dogs to show you again should you not be sure. I hopefully gave you all something to think about and to practice before your next trail. You all demonstrated some brilliant searching and I look forward to seeing you all progress.

All in all this was a successful day and some wonderful scent work was demonstrated.

A/F = Alert Find H = Handling T = Time (seconds)
Level 2 Tables & Chairs Exterior Search Vehicle Search Boxes & Luggage Totals
Handler & Dog A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T Marks Time
1 Nikki Thorpe – Zig Zag 20 5 65 20 5 54 20 5 48 20 5 44 100 211
2 Linda Johnston – Tassel 20 5 82 20 5 67 20 5 53 20 5 66 100 268
3 Hazel Mead – Noodles 20 5 65 20 5 62 20 5 69 20 5 124 100 320
4 Elizabeth Hodgson – Thomas 20 5 51 20 5 35 20 4.5 213 20 5 35 99.5 334
5 Kate Chorley – Lola 20 4.5 108 20 5 130 20 5 65 20 5 78 99.5 381
6 Nicola Inglis – Peppa 10 5 72 20 5 30 20 4.75 86 20 5 21 89.75 209
7 Yaz Whitehall – Banjo 10 4.5 82 10 5 164 20 5 28 20 5 49 79.5 323
Level 3 Tables & Chairs Exterior Search Vehicle Search Boxes & Luggage Totals
Handler & Dog A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T A/F H T Marks Time
1 Donna Winskill – Lucy 20 4.5 101 20 5 113 20 5 78 20 5 127 99.5 419
2 Patty Goriainoff – Joey 20 5 132 20 5 63 20 5 111 10 5 101 90 407
3 Tina Schuster – Breezer 20 5 42 10 5 51 20 4.5 207 10 4.5 66 79 366
4 Kathy Killick – Star 20 5 113 20 5 213 10 4 300 10 5 179 79 805
5 Kate Kemp – Paddy 10 4 286 10 5 198 20 5 168 20 5 214 79 866
6 Felicity Veazey – Jet 10 4.5 217 20 5 135 20 4.75 65 10 4.5 101 78.75 518