Tue 06 Sep 2022, Wichenford

Level 1: Judge - Mandy Rigby

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

Start: 1.30pm
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Pauline Whittaker pauline@paulinewhittaker.co.uk

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Wichenford Memorial Hall – Scentwork UK Level 1 Trial
Judge – Mandy Rigby

Thank you to Pauline for inviting me to Judge at her SWUK Level 1 Trial on 6th September 2022. Thank you also to my lovely scribe Judy. The weather was really kind to us today. The sun shone and the expected showers did not appear. It was a breezy afternoon which was coming from all directions.

Table & Chairs
We kicked off with the tables and chairs search, with the scent being placed on the furthest chair away on the left side of the table. All the teams aced this search with no deductions just a few advisements to give the dog plenty of room to be able work the odour trail to source.

The second search was one vehicle. The scented article was placed under the bottom of the front number plate towards the left-hand side. I believe this may have caused some nail-biting searches for the handlers as the wind was taking the odour past the front of the car and around the driver’s side front bumper, pooling in the fog light. Mostly all the dogs had to work with the wind to back track it around the bumper to the source and then work that little bit more to locate it above the vented grill. It was good to observe the handlers trusting their dogs and not insisting they move around the car allowing their dogs to change direction when they hit the odour. Just the one false alert on the fog lamp. A similar judge advisement to some of the handlers was to give their dogs room to work the odour and make use of the long line to best advantage so their dog’s could use the wind to best advantage

Boxes & Luggage
The scented article was placed in the front upper pocket of a large square blue cooler bag which was positioned to the left centre of the search. There were some great searches but there were a few wrong alerts, all on different articles, three of these were the items next to the scented article where the scent will have drifted. Having a more solid indication was of a huge benefit in this search. Handlers to be mindful to direct the dog to search all sides of large articles. Nerves can get the better of us all but as a handler try to remember not to end up in the middle of the items, which then blocks them out of the dog’s scent picture

Exterior Items
The final search was the exterior items and the scent was positioned in a small green plastic folded table. The other two items of the three was a red bucket and a blue portable gas stove. The wind factor meant the dogs took their time whilst problem solving. All of the handlers allowed their dogs this time and didn’t call too early on items being investigated. The fur lined boot created much interest and once one had spent time sniffing around this for a while all the others followed suit. Thankfully for the handlers this was not one of the three items stated otherwise there may have been some incorrect alerts on this item and well done for all the handlers remembering it wasn’t!
I was really impressed how everyone did in this search with only the one false alert

For Level 1, everyone displayed a real understanding of the sport, all the dogs were enthusiastic to search and their handlers were observant to when their dog was investigating and when their dog was on odour. Some of the indications were work in progress which is expected at this level, but scent obedience and recognition was excellent by all. Really nice indications behaviours from Gail and Molly, Jan and Onyx, Wendy and Storm, Debbie & Polly
Seven teams qualified out of the nine teams with five clean sweeps. Better luck next time to the two that didn’t, every trial a good learning experience and we all take the best dog home at the end of the day.
Congratulations to Jan Martin & Onyx, a wonderful team effort and gained them first place, and to Gail Andrews & Molly for second place and gaining their L1 Excellent Rosette and Debbie Waters & Polly for third place and Annette Kemp & little Spud for fourth place
Great to meet you all and well done everyone

Mandy Rigby

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