Thu 01 Jun 2023, Wichenford

Level 2: Judge - Fiona Somerville

Wichenford Memorial Hall, Venn Lane, Wichenford, Worcestershire, WR6 6XY

Start: 1 pm
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Pauline Whittaker
– Tel: 07854375772

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Fiona Somerville

Thank you to Bridget Francis for inviting me to Judge this lovely trial, and to Pauline Whittaker for scribing. This was the first one under the new rules and lots of concern but the changes are minimal. The weather was lovely imp;roving throughout the day. All searches were white dogged.

Chairs & Exterior Items
Hides were placed on first chair to the right and a plastic plate holder at the back of the room. All except one dog found both hides but generally needed several tours of the room. Interesting that the fastest dog (Carolyn & Rupert)was worked beautifully on lead in a very systematic way.

Vehicle & Wall Search
One car and a wall was used. The start was beside the vehicle and everyone did this first. They all worked the car until they found the hide. It was located on the front right hand grill in the sun, the scent was pooling in the wheel arch so was a little tricky, most got it but took some time to find source – a lovely search from Roger & Milo who went so quickly to in knowing exactly what he was looking for. The wall was L shaped and the hide was in a large crack half way down the second leg. Again this was a puzzle working to source but saw some lovely searching, Ann & Del worked this really nicely.

Boxes & Luggage
This seems to be so many peoples nemesis. Hide in box was middle left of room while it took time to find this one was most successful for all except one dog, although all dogs did only find it from one direction – interesting a couple of competitors called on the bag next to the box…was the scent pooling there or was it other scents e.g. dog slobber, human scent etc. The computer bag was on the right front of area, the dogs had to sniff all around this (and/or step on it) to catch the odour but was lovely to see them get this.

Exterior Item
12 items place on concrete, half in sun and half in shade (the one in shade was the harder to find!). Hides were placed in two identical planters…this appeared to be a mind game more than anything else. It was lovely to watch as it was clear that all dogs were in odour but as the dogs struggled to indicate due to the unusual shape then the handlers didn’t believe them. This is where it is clear that a strong static indication
really helps the handler read the dog.

Overall, saw some really lovely searching. Having judge a number of these teams before (if not all) can see some real progression. Feedback on what to think of as you progress (which you all can!):
1) Read the rules, they are there to help you understand what you need to do and practice…
2) Have a plan to cover the area, lots of items were missed or not really searched and there was a tendency to over search an item that you thought odour would be placed on.
3) Indication – aim for a completely non-intrusive indication, it will help you in the long term and it makes it so much easier to see when your dog has found the hide.

Well done to all who qualified and the rosette winner and look forward to seeing you in the future. To those that it wasn’t their day, you will get there – its a journey not a race!

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