Tue 25 Apr 2023, Wichenford

Level 3: Judge - Christine Gregory

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

Start: 1pm
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Pauline Whittaker trialmanager@paulinewhittaker.co.uk
– Tel: 07595710767

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Whichenford trials are always beautifully organised and todays L3 was no exception. Many thanks to Pauline for the invitation and all her work in laying out and then clearing the search areas – oh and white dogging too. Bridget scribed for me today and was her usual efficient self. Mary took charge of the carpark and made sure that I had a smooth flow of competitors. Last but not least, many thanks to the competitors who were all very pleasant and professional in their approach to the job in hand.

Nowadays the standard of training and the preparation for the challenges of a trial is very high but even so the skills on show today were particularly impressive. The handling was excellent and when more detailed tasking was necessary it was obvious from the dogs reaction that it had been very well drilled. Indications too were text book However a couple of things struck me, firstly I felt that some of the dogs lacked a little bit of enthusiasm for the game. Secondly, and this is just my opinion, with all the skills on show is there a danger of our dogs natural talents and independence being overshadowed?

All areas were white dogged after placement of the scented articles.

Tables and Chairs and Perimeter
2 separate tables with 4 chairs round each. A hide in the seam of a door.

The door hide (clove) was worked beautifully. The odour appeared to be dropping and it was great to see the dogs locate and then work up to source. The chair hide created more of a problem but because all bar Nikki and Cara, had found the perimeter hide first they could confidently apply all their efforts to finding this one. Based on how the white dog had worked this, it would seem that the scent was moving from the back of the chair under the seat and then under the table. None of the dogs showed any inclination to work it the same way and it was only after a number of circuits and a lot of tasking from the handlers that this hide was located.

No problems here, apart from a certain amount of environmental distraction. It was fascinating to see how once the hide on the left hand side of the area was found then the handlers directed their attention to the right hand side. They were quite right too! Lesson learned and I was careful to avoid that pattern in the next search.

Bags and boxes
2 hides on 2 bags, one left middle, the other further left and back.
This went well too, items stayed in situ and there was only one piece of drama.

Vehicle and 15m of wall.
The hide under a plastic drain cover was easily found. The vehicle hide not so much. Gun oil was placed in the corner of the door just back from the front wheel arch. You would have thought that the dogs had never searched a car before, the handlers had to work really hard to keep their partners attention. However, the same patience and determination that was on show in T&C was present in spades. The dogs may have been tiring and perhaps the handlers too, so I was very impressed with how you kept your cool and stuck with it.

The success rate was very high today with time being the deciding factor for all the places

!st Helen and Willow. Willow is fantastic, even outside where I would have understood a vizla being a bit distracted by all those enticing smells she remained tuned in to finding the hides. She has a lovely independent style of working and Helen’s handling is unobtrusive but totally effective

2nd Nikki and Cara Cara is less flamboyant than the winner but just as effective. The vehicle search was tough for Cara but Nikki’s experience and handling skills came to the fore and when it would have been very easy to misinterpret Cara’s intense interest in the back of the car Nikki held her nerve and stayed cool. Her patience and perseverance were well rewarded.

3rd Jo and Taffy. A very energetic, independent Welsh Springer. Loved his Table and Chairs, shot up the wall, swept round the corner, past the door and then that wonderful head snap back to odour, brilliant!

4th Mary and Tristan. A very glamorous Tervuren. All searches worked off lead a steady and very efficient worker.

Jill and Sid. A calm and steady cocker very responsive to his handler, it was therefore all the more impressive when Jill had turned away from one of the Exterior hides but Sid said “not so soon mum” and stuck with it. Good boy Sid!

Jan and Onyx. A border collie that tests Jan’s handling skills but she knows her boy very well and when Onyx threatened to boil over in Bags &Boxes she kept her cool and helped him through.

Kerry and Daisy. A methodical border collie, Kerry was one of the few handlers with a noticeable start line set up. I always enjoy seeing a dog recognise that they’re in odour and then apply their skills to work to source and Daisy did this beautifully in the Wall search.

Alison and Finn A big steady German Shepherd. Loved the kiss on the head that started him on his way. A great piece of work on the door hide but oh the chair! Well done Alison on your persistence

Elaine and Shay. A beautiful little Springer with a super indication but struggling with confidence issues. Elaine was lovely with her and I wish you the best for the future.

Once again, many thanks to you all and the best of luck for your future trials.

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