Wed 03 Aug 2022, Cannock Wood

Levels 1 & 3: Judges - Fiona Ive (L1), Dolores Palmer & Rachael Fox (L3)

Cannock Wood & Gentleshaw Village Hall in Buds Road, Cannock Wood. WS15 4NB

Start: 9am and 12.15pm
Entry Fees: £30 per dog.
Contact: Kate Wilkes

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Level 3 Searches – boxes & luggage and Wall
Thank you to Kate & Julie for inviting me to judge and to Ceris for your excellent scribing. This was a first trial at a lovely venue, I do hope the committee deems you have passed their test and let you use it in the future, its brilliant for trials.
Some Comments about Moving up to level 3
As the stopwatch is not stopped in level 3 many handlers do not reward with food till the second find. There were dogs that were obviously happy with this. However, I would like to make a few general observations about what I saw with other dogs during the trial. First, A lot of dogs lose motivation if they are only ever fed on that 2nd find. if not feeding food till the 2nd scent found, the dogs still need to feel they have done a good job when they find the first scent. This is when the use of verbal praise is so important. Secondly it is ok to food reward the first find, (at least some of the time), especially if the dogs are new to level 3. Its hard to do 4 searches and only get food reward for that 2nd find, so vary it. I would also food reward each find if your dog finds the search difficult or if they are not really committed to searching. Also, If your dog has a false alert you need to think about how you handle this, acknowledgement that they have tried is helpful. You will also probably need to rethink how you are going to reward for the next search, think about the effect of a false alert on you and your dog.
Boxes & Luggage
The scents were placed in one of the brown shoe boxes and a blue box of equal size. With it being a hot day there was a lot of saliva left on some objects after each dog searched. Where possible, (where we could see the saliva), this was wiped off with a virgin clean paper towel, (thank you Ceris). Where saliva had soaked into an object it created interest for quite a few dogs with some handlers calling the alert on this interest. This is why its so important to be able to read the difference between interest versus commitment to the scent. There were some really lovely searches, with different styles of working, and handling by their humans. The following all got 2 scents: Myfanwy & Honey, Lisa and Reuben, Trudi & Tyler, Jo & Ruby, Helen & Thistle. Special mention to Debbie with Sundae and Brenda with Maggie who melded flawlessly with their dog working so well as a team. Also, Helen Taylor who brought Clay out of the search area to calm him down and reset him to search again – he is a fab dog but not easy to handle but will thrive in your experienced hands
Wall Search
The wall consisted of a drain pipe, 2 doors with steps and the rest was wall. The scents were hidden on the drain pipe near the start line and in a hole in the wall towards the end of the search. It was pretty windy which made the search a much harder one. Although the majority of teams found 2 scents, most dogs needed to go along the wall a few times before getting both scents. Special mention for really lovely searching: Lisa & Reuben, Myfanwy & Honey, Jo& Ruby, and Debbie & Sundae. Special mention for keeping their cool Sam & Brandy, (who found the environment distracting), and Helen & Thistle, (who spooked at the start line and looked worried during the first half of the search). Bad luck Trudi & Tyler who called the wall scent in the wrong place. Special mention for some brilliant handling goes to Helen Taylor & Clay.
Well done to everyone for qualifying! And well done to those who were placed, Jo & Ruby, (1st), Helen & Thistle (2nd), Myfanwy & Honey, (3rd), and Lisa & Reuben (4th)

Fiona Somerville

I had the pleasure to judge the L1 today at this great new location. It was huge so ideal to lay out each search in a different area. The weather was warm but close, luckily any rain passed us by. Thanks very much to Kate for organising such a friendly trial plus also Jo and Ceris for scribing. Plus all the helpers and the delicious cake!

We started of with the vehicle search, a little mini with the odour located in the door seal beside the drivers front wheel. This was successfully located by all the dogs with few issues. The wind was a little swirly so it was picked up in a number of positions but dogs located to source. The biggest issue on this search was line management…lots of practice needed! However, Olga & Ted were super efficient and she read him perfectly. Also like to mention Alan & Missy – she found it so quickly but he decided to check the rest of the car first…

We then moved into Tables & Chairs, it was a traditional square layout and the odour was placed on the first chair to the left. I would mention that every single dog found the scent straight away but the handlers didn’t believe them. Most decided to check the rest of the chairs, but both Gillian & Hardie and Emma & Oswald took the hint when then dogs kept returning to the chair. Think this was the search that showed up where a consistent indication was really needed.

Back outside for exterior items, however, it was a covered play soft floor area. This was the area that caused the most challenge. It was outside but a wall one side and field another. The item with scent was a wooden block, which was relatively large. It was placed towards the back but the soak was on the edge towards the wall. The scent plumb definitely pushed to the wall. The dogs that were successful worked all the way round the item. Lovely methodical searching by most dogs but especially Elizabeth & Ruby and Betty & Talis

Finally, the Boxes and Bags in a smaller room. It was clear a number of dogs were very tired. remember to rest them between searches and this will help them work better. The soak was on a wheely bag handle in centre of search. Saw some lovely searches. Rebecca & Myrtle were so quick and ideal height as she is mighty small. Also Clare & Luther a hugely excitable Doberman that despite his enthusiasm did not trash anything and a lovely calm seach by Wendy & Zeus.

Congratulations to you all qualifying, all the place holders (which were really close) and to Elizabeth & Ruby and Rebecca & Myrtle who got their excellence. Look forward to seeing you all in the future!

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