Sun 26 Jun 2022, Finmere

Levels 4 & 7: Judges - L4 Yaz Whitehall & L7 Justine Steele

Finmere Village Hall, Water Stratford Road, Finmere, Bucks MK18 4AT

Start: 9am – L4 & L7- 1pm
Entry Fees: £29 per dog.
Contact: Heather Donnelly

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

First of all i would like wish Chris Gregory a speedy recovery. Chris was due to judge the level 4 but contracted covid, so i was asked to step in to judge. So thanks for asking me Heather and a big thankyou also to Tracy Aker for stepping in last minute to scribe.
there were 11 entries with 6 qualifiers.
Most of the teams coped very well in the exterior and boxes and luggage searches although a couple did indicate on the Almond distraction in these searches.
The tables and chairs search was a litte problematic due to the dogs being very chair aware, they really struggled to source the odour which was on the foot of the table, 1 handler called the chair looked at me for confirmation which was wrong only to look at her dog that was now on source, Lesson learnt watch your dog.
The vehicle and walls search again seemed to throw up a challenge. Most dogs found the item on the vehicle but struggled with the wall and became convinced that the odour was on the 2nd vehicle. The issue was that again the dogs/handlers were very item aware and basically only searched the items when the odour was on the wall between and above 2 items.
So going forward i would say make sure you look at/search all aspects of the search area.
1st place Julie Saunders and Inca, the only clean sweep of the day and Julie must be the most nervous competitor ever. Breathe Julie.
2nd Margaret Deucher and Time, what a cracking little dog Time is, this dog is ready to get straight on with the job.
3rd Teresa Soman and Archie great team work
4th Sarah Eccleston and Bella, another great team
Look forward to watching your progress

L7 Finmere
Exciting to be setting a L7 test & even more so to watch it unfold.

Area 1. x2 hides (truffle last chair/gun oil mid way up right hand wall) 2&1/2 mins.
I wanted to give Teams the opportunity to settle in, but also me as a judge too!!! Putting out only two hides I figured teams would literally fall over the scents in the next two areas!! Sooooo many Teams falling foul of the decoy tho: Velcro stuck under the box at the end of the right hand wall.

Area 2. x5 hides. 3mins
Here I wanted to give Teams a real chance to call the search clear! Wonderfully done so by Rowan with Mel & Dylan with Alison. A telling sign as these two finished 1st & 2nd respectively.
Starting with two hides of Truffle on the first stretch. One in the pipe at the very beginning of the search and one in one of the wooden doorstops. Immediately round the corner was the only gun oil in this area followed by the decoy which was visible black cloth behind the long white pipe and then two clove hides. I wanted the dogs to distinguish two hides of the same scent fairly close to each other in this area which was mostly achieved. The clove scent pool must have been huge & it was incredible to watch the dogs work this out.

Area 3. x5 hides. 3mins
The final area also had a degree of synchronicity.
One early & one very late hide, either side of the start point. Both clove. Then a Gun centre back on the chairs with truffle on both sides. One in the base of the metal cupboard in the left & the other in the gap between the chairs where the scribe was standing on the right.
It was necessary to ask Sarah (scribe) to odge out of the way in this search & Teams should feel confident to speak up!
The blank was on the huge Connect 4 game & also caught a few out… is this because it was Velcro again, or on the hard plastic surface? Not sure but there were some solid false indications!!

I guess amongst the things that I learnt with this experience is that it’s not always doom & gloom even tho you think that it may be. If your dog’s having fun & coping then see the trial through to the end.. on the other hand if your pooch is struggling, withdraw! A few made this decision & altho regretful I absolutely respect the support & care towards your teammate.
A tough day at the office for some not least Rowan & Kathy falling just one short of qualification with 8 finds overall.
Massive congratulations to the afore mentioned Melanie & Alison. Hope you all enjoyed the test… see you soon…

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