Sun 24 Apr 2022, Hethe

Levels 1 & 7: Judges - L1- Yaz Whitehall & L7 Dolores Palmer

Hethe Village Hall, Hardwick Road, Hethe, OX27 8EY

Start: L1- 9am, L7- 1.30pm
Entry Fees: £28 per dog.
Contact: Heather Donnelly

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Delores , you maybe right as he did a search of the hall first before finding stuff on his 2nd lap , and outdoors he did the complete side of the building into the wind without finding a thing but as soon as i turned him he nailed scent after scent , and i called clear after 5 as id done a good search and i felt it was pointless going back into the wind , last search he did another complete search without finding a thing , 2nd time round he nailed both scents , i called clear as i knew i had 9 finds so relied on calling clear right and getting 10 bonus points .
Good trial and i enjoyed it , i look forward to maybe a level 8 at hethe in the future .

Level 7
General observations
This was my second time judging level 7. First time I had 3 qualifiers, this time there were 9 qualifiers. Lots of really good teams with consistently high searching throughout the trial. The unscented carriers, (blanks), were interior 1 – velcro situated in the bookcase; Interior 2 – velcro under pipe in toilet and exterior – cotton sock situated in a door. There was a lot of false alerts on the unscented carrier throughout the trial. There was also 2 false alerts unconnected to the unscented carrier. Generally, the dogs found the blanks and dismissed them but handlers pushed the dogs to search back and called them as a find. Interestingly, the number of blanks called increased as the searches went on, maybe handlers feeling the pressure. There was also 2 false alerts unconnected to the unscented carrier, the dogs investigating, with handlers calling as a find when, in fact, the dog had not indicated.
Interior 1
4 scents were hidden in the hall; 1 each side of the external doors, one under a tap in a hole in a corner and the one that most teams missed was in the skirting board in a tiny inset. This tiny inset created 2 corners; most handlers got the dog to search one corner (one of the main corners of the room), and then just walked past the other. Most teams searched both ways which meant that the scents missed first time around were picked up going in the opposite direction. A couple of teams continually searched in the same direction. Well done to Rischard Purnell and Ziggy & Helen Kennedy and Preston who found all 4 scents. Strangely it was the scent on the tap that Preston found difficult, after having found the first three pretty quickly.
This consisted of one long perimeter with a little cul-de-sac about a third of the way down. All teams who qualified found at least 5 scents. A lot of handlers called this area clear – well done for being brave enough to do so! If your dog has searched the whole area its always worth calling it clear – sometimes you will be right, sometimes not. Unfortunately, in this search there was one more scent to be found. Karen Denton & Barley was the only team to find all 6 scents, she then called the area clear, gaining the bonus 10 points.
The scents were hidden one either side of the door, 3rd scent tucked into the jutting out corner in the cul-de-sac, 4th scent hidden low down, 5th scent in a small corner and 6th scent right on the corner at the end of the perimeter. It was this latter scent that the teams didn’t find. To pick up the scent the dogs needed to go slightly round the corner and then work the scent back to its position. Helen Preston’s Kennedy actually found this sixth scent twice but Helen called her dog when he had committed to it, and being obedient, Preston went to where Helen wanted him to search. A lesson learnt!
Many teams went into the next search needing to find just 1 scent. Some had the luxury of already achieved 90 points (9 scents) though deductions could have reduced that score.
Interior 2
The search area consisted of a corridor, ladies’ toilet and a store area beyond the corridor. The scents in this search were hidden to the right of the search area as you entered. Scent 1 was on the corner of the bench, nearest the wall and the 2nd scent was hidden in the rope. Six teams found both scents. Richard Purnell’s Ziggy would probably have found the other scent but unfortunately, he called a 4th false alert so was eliminated from the trial, bad luck Richard! Heather Poulton’s Timmy found the 2nd scent just as time was called, he had been puzzling it out for a lot of seconds before then – bad luck there Heather.
Melanie Goble’s Rowan only found one scent, but Rowan didn’t settle in this search, possibly because it was a small area with 2 other people in there, – something to practice Melanie!
Well done to those that called the area clear in this search – that’s what level 7 is all about.
Comments on the Teams
Helen Kennedy & Preston – what a cracking dog, Helen had the right balance of free searching and direction. I was surprised to learn this was the first time Helen & Preston had won a trial having watched their work. Helen you have arrived in level 7 with style!
Yaz Whitehall & Banjo – another cracking dog; he has grown so much in confidence since I last saw him. Well done, Yaz!
Karen Denton & Barley – an experienced team; Karen knows exactly how to get the best from her dogs; not quite on the ball during the first search but the other searches more than made up for that. It was also lovely to see Karen has overcome Barley’s fear of toilets!
Neil Dolman & Oscar – Oscar is a gobby shepherd who knows his job well. Last time I judged him Oscar was very focused on finding scents from the beginning. This trial he seemed to need to do a quick explore of every search area before settling in to finding the scents. A strategy that worked for him as this time you qualified. Maybe you need to factor this in Neil as his style of searching, especially strange environments.
Suzanne Olford & Luther – what a cracking dog Luther is. You just need to develop confidence Suzanne, in calling the area clear. That last search was a dream one for that.
Kathy Killick & Rowan – a lovely partnership to watch, both dog & human working well together. Lovely, detailed searches. Well done qualifying at your first trial.
Christine Gregory & Jubbly – this is the first time I have seen your new dog, Chris. A good follow on to Dilly. Chris’s gentle supportive handling seems to bring out the best in Jubbly.
Heather Poulton & Timmy – what can I say! If you don’t succeed try and try again. Timmy had been retired from trialling but Heather decided she would give Timmy another year to qualify in level 7. It’s been a long road Heather but it’s been worth it. Timmy was on fire today during the searching. Heather’s new approach of letting him search his own way is obviously paying off. You have been so close to qualifying level 7 before and Now Timmy has proved he is a level 7 dog! I am so pleased for you Heather!
Melanie Goble & Rowan; a sweet little dog well handled by Melanie. It was a shame the last search proved problematic as Rowan never really relaxed into his searching. Regardless, you qualified as you only needed 1 more scent going into the last search. Well done!
Richard Purnell & Ziggy – Only one more scent needed to qualify. Unfortunately, Ziggy thought all the blanks were to be indicated on today, those & one other false alert meant a qualification was not to be at this trial. Work on those blanks, use multiple blanks in a search, even a mini search on flowerpots & Ziggy will soon learn that blanks mean nothing. Also practise with blanks when Ziggy is aroused as dogs can sometimes forget what they have learnt with increased arousal.
Thank you to Heather for asking me to judge and to Lynda Bowers for being a superb scribe!
Dolores Palmer

Yaz Whitehall Level 1 24th April 2021 Hethe

First of all i would like to thank Heather Donnelly for inviting me to judge and to Lynda Bowers for scribing.
Well what a lovely group of competitors.
There were 12 entries and all 12 qualified with 10 gaining clean sweeps. it was really hard to separate the teams with only 3 teams losing handling
marks. Well done
The only negative i can give is that some handlers took too long to get their dogs on task and were happy for their dogs to sniff the floor. Remember it is timed search and time wasted sniffing no mans land is costly as todays results were based on time.
The fastest time of the day went to Henry who took just 6 seconds to find the odour in the exterior search which was on the boot pull, Groot 8 seconds on tables and chairs, Quaver 12 seconds on boxes and luggage and Ella 12 seconds on the vehicle.
Huge congratulations to Rebecca Symonds and Shadow for a 1st place finish who completed all four finds in 1minute 14 seconds and alongside Diane Botting and Boris gained their excellence award.
So a big well done to all of you and i look forward to seeing you again on your SWUK journey.

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