Sun 03 Sep 2023, Chalfont Saint Peter

Levels 1, 3, 5: Judges - Vanessa Bonner (L1&3 only) and Christine Gregory (L1&L3&L5)

1st Chalfont St Peter Scout Hut, Gravel Hill Chalfont St Peter Bucks SL9 9QX

Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
BACS acc name Minds Alike Animal Training and Behaviour Limited, sort-code 608371, acc no 93224277
– Tel: 07931566921

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Today was my first judging appointment both for L1 and under the new guidelines. Thank you to Christine for co-judging with me and for your patience, it was great to discuss the layouts and hide placements, a very useful learning experience. All areas were cleared by Christine’s experienced dog before we started and then Laura ran ‘the white dog’ after the hides were placed.
The tables and chairs went smoothly, with the hide placed at the back of the table and chairs formation on a chair. Those who went right found this very easily, with those going left just taking a fraction longer due to the slightly longer distance to reach the hide. All teams found the hide, well within the allocated time.
Next was the vehicle search, with the hide on the back wheel. Special mention to Lauren for her ability to read her dog Fern and notice the difference between interest and indication. I was willing you on and so relieved when you called it correctly! 7 out of the 8 teams found the hide.
Overall a very high standard of handling with no deductions given.
Very well done to Sue and Hippo for your well-deserved 1st place, all those placed and those who qualified.
For the L3 we divided the duties again, and first up I judged the exterior. With the gun oil on a green plastic tub to the right hand side and the clove on a metal frame at the back. This search proved tricky for some with the wicker basket and funnel on the leaf blower causing false calls. By this time it was quite warm and this was impacting on some of the dogs motivation. Special mention to Lyn and Pudding for persevering and finding the 2nd hide. 3 teams found both hides with 2 teams finding one.
Next up was the tables, chairs and perimeter. As per the new guidelines we decided to be a bit more creative with the layout and grouped the chairs in 2 groups either side of the room, with 2 tables in an L shaped formation. Clove was on the group of chairs to the right, with gun oil against the back wall along the skirting board. Articles placed on the right hand side perimeter drew some competitors attention, which resulted in some over tasking and false calls. 3 teams found both hides with two finding one.
Again a high standard of handling, with no deductions given. Very well done to Emily and Crosby for your well-deserved 1st place and to all those who were placed.
I would like to thank Caroline for being my scribe for the day and to Laura for inviting me.

I volunteered to judge Laura’s trial and I’m delighted that I did. It was beautifully organised and if there was a job that needed doing Laura was there to do it. Lucinda scribed for me in Level 1 and did a great job, it was her first time but I would never have known. Many thanks to all the competitors who were a very courteous bunch and accepted my decisions without complaint.

Special thanks to Vanessa Bonner who stepped up to share the judging for L1 and 3 and what a difference it made. We put our heads together to decide the layout of the tests and odour placement.

Level 1
I took charge of BBC and Exterior

We had 8 competitors with a lovely range of breeds
Some general observations; I prefer not to see dogs manoeuvred around a search area on a tight lead, I’m pleased to say that handlers were more mindful of their handling in Bags, Boxes and Containers (BBC).
Please continue to work to increase/maintain your dogs enthusiasm for the game, you have a long Scentwork career in front of you.
Do remember that in L1 the hides are in a bag and in a box/container.
It is often the case that dogs may take a little time to focus on the task at hand, with this in mind it may be a good idea to revisit those early items in the search.
The time allowed for each search is not compulsory, if you feel that there is little to be gained from continuing then don’t be afraid to stop.

1st Sue and Hippo (Collie), I was very impressed with how Sue confidently removed Hippo’s lead and when I saw her work I was not surprised. Hippo works at a nice controlled pace and Sue stands back and gives her space. it was very obvious when she hit odour.
Working off lead again went on to do a perfect BBC.

2nd Hazel and Lily (Bodguero)
Keen and independent. I saw some lovely line handling in BBC. The team work too was beautiful to see.

3rd Karen and Bertie (Cockerpoo)
Bertie started so well. There was a lovely pull to the odours with clear indications.
Another perfect display of handling and teamwork, the indication too was lovely.

4th Joanne and Sherlock (Collie)
Steady and methodical, this team worked very well together and cleared the Exterior items very efficiently.
Went straight to the first hide in BBC but unfortunately couldn’t pinpoint the second.

Carol and Pluto (Toy Poodle)
Got a little distracted and bypassed the first Exterior hide, but as she settled her focus improved and all 2 hides were found. Her indication was a little weak but Carol could read it and on the day that’s all that matters. Although only finding 1 hide in BBC Pluto looked more confident.

Lauren and Fern (Cocker Spaniel)
As often happens while a dog is settling into a search area, the first hide was found but dismissed, however Fern quickly returned to it. We’d had a fouling incident earlier and this maybe had a part to play in the second hide not being found.
Heart in the mouth moment in BBC as Lauren became obsessed with a box, fortunately Fern was having none of it and went on to find the second hide. Good girl Fern

Ronnie and Sky (Chinese Crested)
I was very impressed with how enthusiastically Sky began and loved the way when she hit odour she pulled confidently to the hide. As time went on she did seem to lose her focus and this probably contributed to the second hide not being found.
2 nice finds in BBC, with no interference at all on the box. Well done.

Lyn and Kairos
Unfortunately Kauros was not on a “going” day today but In BBC, despite not appearing to be interested, Kaurous found the 2 hides.

Level 3
I covered the BBC and a Wall search.

The odour (gun oil) on a bag to the left of the start proved to be the tricky hide. It seemed that dogs were not picking the odour from afar and had to investigate all sides of it to be successful.

1st Emily and Crosby (Springer Spaniel)
Crosby took a little time to settle. Emily works him off lead and there was a lovely head snap as he hit odour. Very good indication too. A similar start to the Wall search but then faultless work.

2nd Karen and Quin (Labrador)
First time at this level. Lovely enthusiastic work. A bit unlucky in BBC where Quin got his head in a box and Karen misread his investigations as an alert. Other than that a lot to like and I’m sure that they’ll do well in the future.

3rd Sue and Puffin (WSD)
Sue handles Puffin really nicely and lets him get on with the job. Just appeared to run out of steam in BBC but looked a good team in the Wall search.

Lyn and Pudding (Lhasa Apso)
Started well but just seemed to lose enthusiasm.

Lucinda and Flora (Cocker Spaniel)
Lucinda was very nervous. Flora showed that she understood what she was there for when she initially bypassed the scented bag but then worked back to it.

Level 5
With one scratch there were 3 teams to work. I introduced a number of hides that the teams may encounter at this level and definitely in the higher levels.
Interior 1 included a hide on the back of a games unit that involved dog and handler being able to work in a tight space. Exterior included a hide close to edge of a vehicle (in effect a threshold hide) where allowing the dog to search a little way down the side and then back again would have improved the chances of making a find. The final Interior search had 2 hides a couple of metres apart. The odour of the hide on a coat sleeve looked as if it was pooling on a nearby box and also interfering with the hide on the back of a corner cupboard. A hide in a door seam was straightforward as long as the handler didn’t allow their dog to round off the corner.

Jane and Dillan (Flat Coated Retriever)
A lovely dog with a great nose. Dillan and Jane make a nice team and I’m sure that they will enjoy lots of success in the future.

Dawn and Paxo (Springer Spaniel)
Just as with the other teams, once Interior 1 was out of the way, Dawn and Paxo settled into some really nice work. Good luck for your next trial.

Maya and Sascha (Saluki)
Interior 1 didn’t happen for Sascha but she strolled through the Exterior search with no problem at all. Well done.

Once again, thanks to all the competitors and the very best of luck for your future trials.

Trial manager report:
We had a very sunny trial. I would like to thank the judges Christine Gregory and Vanessa Bonner, and scribes Lucinda and Caroline for their hard work and making the event such an enjoyable day for everyone.

I hope everybody went home learning something, whether they qualified or not. Learning and spending time with our dogs is what trialling is all about. So well done to those who achieved what they hoped to achieve from the day, whether that be being placed, qualifying, learning something new, gaining a better understanding of the sport, themselves or their dog or achieving their excellent. I hope to see you all again in the future.

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