Sun 23 Jan 2022, Peterborough

Level 6: Judge - Justine Steele

Village Hall, Glebe Avenue, Orton Waterville, Peterborough. PE2 5EN

Start: 0930
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Justine Steele

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Justine Steele – Judge

Good to be back at our third and least used venue for a Level 6 trial at the weekend.
Huge thanks to Rebecca for scribing on what was a long cold day and of course Nikki for delivering a smooth running order and carrying out the multiple other duties, including breaking and entering!!! (you had to be there!)
I wanted to make the search areas here today as different, interesting, fun and challenging as possible using the space and rooms I had available here at Orton Waterville.

Interior one.
x2 hides. Time allowed 2&1/2minutes
Hide 1 – Clove 18inches up, metal shelf strut.
Hide 2 – Truffle 24inches up, locker keyhole.

This search area was to the rear of the main hall in a medium size quite busy, storage room. With shelves full of all sorts of things around the exterior of the room. There were lockers that ran through the middle and a small path that led all around. Because I thought the room was challenging I decided to make the hides what I considered fairly standard. However they proved a little more difficult than we might’ve expected but think this may be due to mismanagement of time spent on the shelves in comparison to the inner locker area. The different methods of searching was very interesting to see and set the tone for the day.

x6 hides. Time allowed 4&1/2minutes
Hide 1 – Truffle, very low brick air vent.
Hide 2 – Clove 20inches up, drainpipe.
Hide 3 – Truffle 12inches up, bottom of waterproof electric box.
Hide 4 – Truffle 8inches up, in top of metal kick panel approx 4 inches in from edge of door.
Hide 5 – Clove – top right hand corner of rear bumper.
Hide 6 – Gun oil in wheel nut front nearside wheel.

I decided to put six hides outside because generally speaking exterior searches I have found to be quite short in the upper Levels and it gave me an opportunity to use a vehicle which again is seldom offered beyond Level 4. Two features to this search I would consider to be difficult, first of all, without doubt, the early low truffle hide in a brick vent between a drainpipe and the metal cage over the windows. The gap between the caged window and drainpipe seemed to be overlooked which meant that not a single team found this particular hide. Obviously the conditions didn’t help today but the dogs were unable to work back to the source or were just not picking it up in the first place which leads me to conclude that at this level we are having to jump in and help our dogs with areas that we feel may need further investigation.
Secondly, the vehicle was extremely dirty therefore provided plenty of distraction scents which may have contributed to not all teams being able to find the gun
oil wheel nut hide although they had less trouble with the clove on the rear.

Interior two
x4hides. Time allowed 5minutes
Hide 1 – Gun oil approx 24inches up on small cubby hole door seam in corridor.
Hide 2 – Truffle 4inches up in first corner of room on top of skirting board, behind entry door.
Hide 3 – Gun oil 24inches up, in right hand corner by kitchen sink.
Hide 4 – Clove, on top of lower door hinge bracket on toilet door in corridor.

While the shape was unusual I felt the hides were again reasonably standard, the hardest definitely being truffle in the ‘backwards corner’ near the entrance door to the end room. Coming at it with the window wall on the dogs right proved the easiest way to get to the source. It was interesting to see a number of dogs run straight to the end room thus disregarding the corridor and a potential for two finds early on, maybe this is because our dogs are as used to us at searching halls more often than corridors or smaller bizarre shaped areas. Very interesting to see how many teams run out of time and where attention was spent during the search. On occasions some areas were searched much more thoroughly than others. Easily done when you’re standing in the picture, You can’t always see the picture itself!

Generally speaking I thought it interesting as usual to watch the different methods for different dogs. I certainly think the walk round prior to actually searching the area is so useful in a variety of aspects and this was highlighted today. From trying to figure out how to best utilise the time and looking for those “familiar places to you” that could be missed, trusting your dog, more than letting your mind take over when thinking where those hides may be, thus avoiding lots of wrong alerts and of course remembering weather conditions, surfaces and noting environmental features that may play havoc with the scent and or our dogs ability to task effectively is essential.

When you look back on what you found, what you didn’t and where they were, I hope this helps in future endeavours on your SWUK journey as it will certainly continue to help me. We usually learn more from our misses than our successes!

Congratulations everyone especially you 5 that qualified. Notably Chris & Jubbly but also first timers at this level, Kerry, Taggy, Rebecca and Thor plus Sue and Tiva regaining confidence I’m sure from todays exploits and 4th place Emma with Cora who was handled beautifully throughout. I hope you had an enjoyable trial, we enjoyed hosting you all and look forward to catching up again soon from Justine & all at Team Just Dogs!!

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