Sun 03 Sep 2023, Old Warden

Levels L2 & L6: Judges - L2-Bettina Colliver/Hayley Whitaker. L6 Harry Latusek

Old Warden village hall, Old Warden, Biggleswade SG18 9HQ

Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Katherine Miell

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Bettina Colliver

I had the pleasure to judge L2 boxes, bags and containers and exterior items.

Exterior items:

The scented articles were a rolled up gym mat (the scent was placed at one end) and a lampshade of a bedside lamp. The gym mat was placed towards the end og the search area and required the dogs searching the end of the items and not only the top. Lampshade was placed as the first item to the right of the search area and was ignored by many teams as they started search anticlockwise to the left and lost track of what they had searched. This was a challenging and distracting environment and some handlers had to work hard to keep their dog searching. Saw some lovely searching and handling and the teams that did the best were the teams that took their time, searched all the items and kept a cool head when they didn’t find a hide quickly.

Boxes, bags and containers

The scented articles were a bright blur shoe box in the ,middle of the search area and backpack on the periphery to the left of the start. Most teams worked the area well and found the hides with confidence.

Well done to everyone!

Hayley Whitaker

Level 2 judge, Hayley Whitaker: Tables, chairs and peripheral items & Wall and car

It was a pleasure to judge this level 2 at Old Warden which is a fabulous venue. It was a warm day but the early start meant it didn’t get too hot for our searches (and I didn’t get sunburnt!). Well done to Lynn who was acting as scribe for the first time.

There were some wonderful teams searching and the tables, chairs and peripheral items proved a great place to steady any early nerves with everyone finding both items. We had four people who were doing their first Level 2 trial but everyone did really well.

The hide was wedged between the leg and cushion at the back of the chair and proved straightforward for most people. The second hide was in the cycle helmet and proved a bit trickier. We had a few dogs running around the hall to start with as the the tasking onto the search wasn’t always clear – something to work on in training! It was great to see Polly trusting Misty to work off lead and she didn’t let her owner down.

Outside on the wall and vehicle search it was a more challenging and distracting environment. The gravel, grass, building and the area being generally busier because of the air show all meant that for more environmental dogs this was going to be a tougher ask. The wall hide was close to the drain and this was something of a challenge as a lot of handlers didn’t want to believe their dogs at first, only realising they might be onto something once the rest of the wall was cleared. For some people it was their first wall search but everyone did really well.

The hide on the car was on the front wheel but the warm day made this more challenging as the scent tracked along the sill and towards the back wheel. We had quite a few dogs track the odour back to source which was lovely to see.

One thing that I warned quite a few people about was touching the search area – often with the back of the hand. Everyone was given one warning but other judges may not be so kind and will deduct handler marks, especially as you move up the levels.

Overall it was a great morning and wonderful to see so many partnerships doing so well – although I think I got the easier areas with the exterior items proving to be far trickier.

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