Tue 01 Aug 2023, Wichenford

Level 4: Judge - Pauline Whittaker

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

Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Bridget Francis trialmanager@paulinewhittaker.co.uk
– Tel: 07854375772

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Fiona Somerville

Thank you so much Bridget Francis for inviting me to judge your Level 4 Trial at Wichenford, as usual was amazingly organised and run especially on a lovely morning.

We started off with Table/Chairs and Perimeter Items. Some were a bit confused as the tables and chairs were laid out in a step pattern with all the chairs on one side. There were six exterior items. First hide (C) was on a chair in a corner to left of search area – all the dogs were in odour it was just a matter of working to source, second hide was low on table let to right of search area – this was more tricky but every handler that found it tasked their dog onto it, those that just let their dogs search it, missed it. This is a partnership and so you need to work together.

Then we moved to One Vehicle and a wall. The entrance was beside the vehicle and everyone decided to tackle this first, there were no odours on the vehicles and a number of people overworked it rather than move on with the option to go back. The Wall proved very straightforward with one hide right at the beginning (showing an overlap can be very useful) with the second three quarters of the way down on a horizontal drain pipe.

Bags, boxes and Perimeter… after running through the guidelines with most competitors they did amazingly well, but generally was a little random. Have a plan to make sure you cover the whole area. The odours were on a small sandwich cool bag in middle of room (13 boxes and bags) and in the corner of the room.

Finally, Exterior items, this was an easy search (and no changes from previous guidelines) – 13 items and both were at the far side of a square piece of tarmac… a ladder which needed to be searched along as the hide (C) was mid way along, and a curved log (G) which lots of the dogs turned over!

The distraction odours were Tea and Peppermint, the tea was definitely of more interest but generally the dogs discounted them.

So outcome of Trial:

First – Pauline & Hope – experienced handler with young enthusiastic dog. They both complimented each other really well and worked all the searches really well, with Pauline noticing when Hope missed key areas. Love the enthusiasm plus the vulnerability. Well done!

Second – Becky & Shadow – lovely calm partnership, faster than they look! Work beautifully together and he clearly adores his mum as rarely left her side. He was sniffing from the go and hit all the corners with little redirection. More off lead I think!

Third – Debbie & Sundae – a very calm dog that just gets on with her job, knows her odour and is very enthusiastic when she finds it. Feel she would benefit from rewarding after each find as she really perked up when she got a reward…its got to be fun! lovely dog to watch as very methodical. Congratulations on you Excellence!

Fourth – Joyce & Luna – Amazing little dog that had a break to be bred. Amazing nose, quick and really focused. She will go a long way as quickly saw the improvement as the searches went on.

Qualified – Jill & Sid – really nice and calm searching, he knows his job but sometimes the lead gets in the way of the partnership (especially indoors). Can see real growth in this partnership.

Qualified – Nikki & Cara – such a lovely partnership (asking for a kiss as they start). Cara is very methodical and sometimes Nikki tries to preempt what she is going to do, but she has an amazing nose and on a good day are unbeatable.

Qualified – Rebecca & Freddy – Wow, what growth! This pair have obviously worked so hard as they worked amazingly across all elements. He responds so well to her enthusiastic reward voice…use it more to buoy him up when hes been searching for a while. Congratulations on your Excellence

Qualified – Cerys & Alfie – Lovely boy who when he is on it is great. Let him work independently, either he finds it or he doesn’t (both are OK) but try and leave him to get on with the job – “show me” is not needed. Well done!

Qualified – Caroline & Daisy – Amazing little dog that has really been unwell recently. She knows her job and lovely to will on! Consistency is key and this she has buckets of…

Judy & Finn – Wow what a whirl wind… he is obsessed to work and has an amazing nose. Work on his self control and this dog will be unbeatable!

Lisa & Brew – Unfortunately handler really felt he was not on form today so withdrew. However, saw moments of glory. Saw some lovely indications and clear when he was in odour. I think it certainly helps handlers to go through the trials as we need the practice probably more than the dogs!

Overall, a great day but thanks especially to Bridget, Hazel,Mary and Sage (grey dog) for running a great day!

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