Sun 16 Jan 2022, Elton

Level 5: Judge - Justine Steele

Highgate Hall, Overend, Elton, Peterborough. PE8 6RU

Start: 0930
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Justine Steele jus@justdogs.org

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Level 5 Judge – Nikki Johnson

Thank you to Jus at Just Dogs today for inviting me to judge the Level 5 at Elton Peterborough. Also thank you to Carl for scribing, Chumley for his excellent white dog duties and Tuffa the new edition to the Just Dog team for her help in fetching the cones!!

I thoroughly enjoyed judging the level 5 and watching the excellent teams compete, what a standard. My aim today wasn’t to catch anybody out but to make the most of a great venue and to utilise the areas and create different challenges in all 3. It was really interesting the way the different teams approached all the searches. We had teams who quickly free searched the areas, taking in big sniffs as they flew around the area, then quickly knocking onto the scent and working to source, whilst other teams took a more methodical approach. Today was hard to say which approach came out on top as both were incredible successful. What I would say is that all teams took the best approach that most suited their pups.

Area 1 – Interior 1 (Back Room)
Clove on the first door on the right as you enter the room.
Clove on the bottom right hand corner of the fire place.
Gun Oil on the stack of chairs far left of the room.
Gun Oil on the chair around the table.
Gun Oil in the door at the back of the room.
Clove on the big metal storage unit.

Area 2 – Interior 2 (Main Hall)
Clove in the door above the hinge at the back of the hall
Clove at the bottom of the cupboard door
Gun Oil in the plug socket on the right hand side of the hall

Area 3 – Exterior 1 – (Outside wall and bench)
Gun Oil near the start line at the bottom of the brick wall.
Clove under the bench
Gun Oil on the drain pipe past the bench

Everyone seemed to really enjoy searching the back room with the 6 finds. Loads of places to get into and I think really tested the handlers to remember where they had already searched lol. It was great to see in the first round handlers really trusting their dogs and 6 minutes is a long time to be searching, but the motivation of all pups was just great to watch. In the main hall, the plug socket was the common hide giving handlers a bit of stress really just due to the fact that people were forgetting to search on their first time around, however most teams found this once they remembered to search the sockets. At this point confidence in the teams was high. So the final test was the outside with 3 hides to find but only having 2 minutes to search. Although I think most teams were slightly stressed about the time, everyone handled this really well, with staying consistent in their approach which really paid off for quite a few teams. The tricky hide that caught a few out was the one right at the start in the wall. I think with it’s position and the weather being cold, the pups needed to get quite close to find the source. As a judge your often willing the teams to succeed and it only really came down to a couple of small errors where handlers were desperately trying to find that final hide under pressure due to the time and were only either seconds away or a couple of meters off finding it.

It really is hard to pull out any particular teams today as the standard was so good and I really did enjoy watching all teams. However it would be wrong to not mention the top 4 who were placed, Becca & Leo scoring 130 and to Vanessa & Lola, Tracey & Bronte and Emma & Murphy who all scored a perfect 150 points. In particular to Emma & Murphy who got 1st place and their excellence which was so well deserved today as their performance was outstanding.

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