Sun 31 Jul 2022, Mere

Level 8: Judge - Heather Donnelly

Dogwise Training School, Castle Street, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6JP

Start: 1pm
Entry Fees: £28 per dog.
Contact: Zoe Heritage

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Heather Donnelly

Thank you to both Faye Sparkes & Zoe Hertage for organising such a well-managed trial. Zoe was a very efficient and well organised trials manager maintaining the competitor flow especially as there was a fair distance to some of the search areas. Faye very kindly offered her training centre for the trial, and she also fitted in the role as my very able scribe throughout the trial. Also thank you Faye for the overnight accommodation, a great evening out and a very welcoming cup of tea placed on my doorstep in the morning. Also, a special mention to Kate Kemp for helping with the scoring and it was great seeing you after such a long time and lovely meeting your special chappie George.
There were 6 runners in the L8 and I decided to hide 10 scents in total throughout the 3 search areas. I hid 2 in the first search which was a large glasshouse area, 2 in the exterior area and 6 in a small therapy room which was the smallest of the 3 areas. At this level competitors know how to compete but make assumptions about things and knowing this I hid two in the first and second search areas and allowed 3.5 minutes per search. In the last search area, which was the smallest search area, I hid six.
In the first search three dog and handler found both and the others found one but as most competitors thought there were there were more to find, some competitors became quite despondent although all the teams were still in with a chance. I hid just 2 in the ‘Exterior’ search and again all except one team were qualifying at this point.
After the third and final search, we had two qualifiers and in first position was Helen & Nellie with Alison & Dillon coming second. Both teams were worthy qualifiers and some other teams just missed out but did put in a creditable performance.
1) Helen & Nellie – a great team to watch. Helen gets the best out of Nellie and supports Nellie just when necessary. Helen took on the challenges of all three searches with mission and purpose which makes her a major part of this team. Worthy winners well done.
2) Alison & Dillon – this team is the complete contrast from the winning team with Alison trying her best to ‘rein in’ this rather enthusiastic and head strong boy. However Dillion’s frustration did get the better of him in the last search and Alison decided to redraw him but fortunately they had enough to qualify, well done.
3) Dolores & Gypsy – This team was unlucky but as usual Dolores line handling and team work was very good. Particularly memorable was Gypsy ignoring the decoy when Dolores directed Gypsy to ‘check it’ out as it was partially visual. I am glad your ‘decoy’ training paid off for you today.
4) Pippa & Becky – Again this team was just unlucky, and Pippa redrew Becky after Pippa didn’t think the dog was on form, pity. However I was most impressed with Becky’s detailing in the ‘Exterior Search, this is a team that will soon qualify at L8 which they certainly deserve to do.

So very many thanks to Heather for taking the trouble to judge our L8. It was so interesting to see her approach to this top tier level, testing the teams with some challenging, but very fair, searches. Dogwise is a very different venue from the ‘usual’ village hall, where so many trials are naturally held, and search areas included an empty mobile home, a (very very) large greenhouse, and a busy outside area amidst containers. We are indebted to Faye for inviting us to use these premises and who worked so hard beforehand, ensuring they were clear and safe to use, as well as being an excellent and efficient scribe on the day. My thanks also to Kate who helped with the scores and generally ensured all went well. Congratulations to Helen and Alison, our qualifiers, but also special mention to all who took part and demonstrated some wonderful teamwork with their canine friend. Well done all – it was fun!

Zoe Heritage
Trials Manager

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