Sun 16 Oct 2022, Elton

Level 7: Judge - Justine Steele

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

Start: 2pm
Entry Fees: £26 per dog.
Contact: Justine Steele

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Was looking forward to hosting this trial and it did not disappoint. Yet again the different styles & relationships proved so interesting to watch and thoughts have been provoked yet again!!

A lovely bunch of teams helped the afternoon run smoothly, so big thanks to all competitors but also Corinne who looked after you all splendidly(& me too), plus Jane, a first time scribe at this level who was also a top draw, massive help.

12 hides in the three areas were set up as follows:

Interior one.
The main hall had 6 hides with a time allowed of five minutes. The area included all of the main hall plus chairs in the middle plus the entrance foyer

Half the length of the hall as a linear search with in and out bits(!) plus one vehicle with a time allowed of three minutes. 4 hides.

This area had 2 hides with the time allowed of 2.5 minutes. The area included all the back room and the entrance foyer.

Generally I wanted to give teams an opportunity to ‘call clear’ therefore I set the time according to the running of Chumley as the white dog. Now, those of you who know Chum, know he’s not a sprinter anymore, if he ever was…! We meticulously(ish) ran each area with no backtracking or double searching, then, I added 30seconds – 1minute extra.

With ‘calling clear’ being the desired outcome & one of the new challenges at this level, I didn’t pay too much attention to particularly trying to make the hides difficult. This may be a little contradictory & perhaps does not very well prepare teams for L8 (pros & cons right???). However, I have to admit I had a little fun putting out the decoys which as you know can often be obvious. Therefore in the Exterior & Interior2 I placed an actual hide purposely slightly visible!! On the vehicle & in the seam of the foyer door respectively (Naughty Judge!!).

The decoys themselves caught a few out but it’s the other decisions made by handlers that fascinate me. How we confuse ourselves, forget where we’ve been, miss those nooks, crannies & back-corners, search parts of areas more than once..& then again & maybe again, again!!!

I guess although our dogs are the experts and we frequently must remind ourselves of this, we are definitely having to work as a team at these higher levels.

Teams that free-search amaze me, but understandably some of those really tricky places for hides can be overlooked(as they can be when you pattern too!!), perhaps because of lack of airflow more so than lack of seemingly thorough searching. How do we combat this?
For me… I like the idea of training patterning so as the dogs free search becomes a pattern, or at least a logical approach, could this make those tricky areas more obvious??(We, Chum & I, have yet to master this!!) Pros and cons again!!

I hope the experience was challenging but fun too & was chuffed to be able to present Stacey & Bella their Ex along with 1st place & of course Ruth & Dot too with a deserved qualification in 2nd. 11 seconds all that separates these two teams.

Look forward to seeing you all again in the future…
Justine, Chum & the spotty one!!!

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