Tue 12 Jul 2022, Wichenford

Level 1: Judge - Fiona Somerville

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

Start: 9am
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Pauline Whittaker pauline@paulinewhittaker.co.uk

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Fiona Somerville

Thanks to Pauline Whittaker for inviting me to judge for this L1 Trial in a lovely quite countryside village hall in Worcestershire. There was great support from the scribe Judy Starkie who also helped train up others. The trial started early as very hot weather was predicted however we were lucky as it remained cloudy and so not as hot as predicted, it was quite still and humid.

We started off with Tables and Chairs. They were set up in a traditional square fashion and the odour was placed on the right hand chair on the far side. As expected a number of competitors were very nervous and need to remember to breath…remember to think of it as a training session, your dog doesn’t know any better! A really quick identification by Liz/Lottie and a very methodical search by the teeniest dog Rebecca/Myrtle who had to jump up to each chair but did it perfectly.

We then moved onto the vehicle search the odour was on the rear wheel hub furthest away from the gate. This caused a number of challenges with dogs picking up the scent along the side of the vehicle and calling it too early – remember to wait for your dog to settle not just show interest. Really lovely methodical searching from Vicky/Lola and Wendy/Storm.

Back inside to Boxes and Bags where there were 10 items and the odour was on a large sturdy box right in the middle. This caused a number of challenges – in a number of cases a plan would have helped as there were numerous dogs that spent ages going around the outside and missed the central items (until the end). Stand out performances were Charlotte/Bailey who had the most amazing lead handling (as he is a very exuberant lab); Nikki/Cara who worked so methodically and looked like she was really interested in a bag but her handler read her really well to know she was just interested; Mary/Bonny who is a very busy spaniel but her handler maintained control very nicely when she was in danger of trashing and finally Hazel/Jake who worked him off lead and he looked like he really enjoyed this familiar exercise.

Finally, we moved back outside to Exterior Items. There were 10 and the three selected items were walking stick, tripod and folded up metal table – the scent was on the latter. All handlers knew the items and all searched really well, despite the external environment. Some lovely searching from Paul/Fenton despite the dog being a little concerned by a couple of the items; alongside that Bridget/Salvo who could have been challenged by the environment but worked beautifully.

Well done everyone – the eventual placings were
1) Vicky/Lola;
2) Charlotte/Bailey;
3) Nikki/Cara;
4) Paul/Fenton
However, it was really close and you all took the best dog home…and great that we were finished before 11!

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