Wed 26 Oct 2022, Combeinteignhead

Levels 3 & 4: Judges - Shane Curnow, Debra Cassidy

Combeinteignhead Village Hall, Shaldon Road, Newton Abbot TQ12 4RG

Start: 9:30 and 13:00
Entry Fees: £27 per dog.
Contact: Sara Seymour

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Level 3 Judges Report: Thanks to Sara for being the TM and inviting me to judge, my first L3, and also to Debra Cassidy for scribing. Luckily the weather was kind to us so we started with the exterior search with 12 articles I brought along. one hide(clove) was hidden under a rubber seal of a drain pipe joiner and the gun oil was on a plastic and rubber wheel. The area was well-searched by all the teams with only 1 team not finding both. This was followed by the interior boxes and luggage. The clove was under the strap of a handbag and the gun oil stuck under a plastic container that was full of holes. This particular search did throw up a couple of issues, some of the handling and some training. Only 2 of the 5 teams located both hides. The gun oil hide seemed to cause a few problems, partly I think because a few of the dogs did not put their noses lower down, another issue was the repeat returning to a previous hide which was marked, this is completely avoidable and advice was given.

The next search was the tables and chairs with the walls used as the perimeter search. Clove was put on the corner underside of a chair with the gun oil in the crack of a door, again there were issues with returning to the found hide (more than once) and the removal of the hide by a dog on the chair. I was pleased to see the majority of the teams find both hides.

The last search was the wall with the clove placed behind a bracket of a hose reel fixed to the wall as you turned the corner, the gun oil was placed in a small hole beneath the door sill at the far end of the search, I was delighted that all 5 teams located both hides well within the time limit and covered the whole search area. It was great to see. Overall the standard was very good. A couple of handlers, in my opinion, chatted to the dogs too much during the search, this in itself can be a huge distraction for the dog and you end up with the dog looking at you rather than searching.

I was impressed with one particular team who showed really good lead skills, knowing when to put the lead back on, etc thereby avoiding any unnecessary handling marks, well done Becky and Drift. Huge congratulations to Sally Yeo and Pipkin for 1st place. A dog full of character who had us all in fits of laughter when she took a chunk out of the certificate Sally was holding !! I have had the pleasure of watching this team develop and im sure there is much more to come.

A great day’s trialling again in Combeinteignhead. We got very lucky with the weather!

Level 3 in the morning – first time judging this level for Shane Curnow and he did a great job. Thank you to Debra for acting as his scribe. WE had all but one team qualify, but some great searches from each team and some learning points as well. Well done to Sally and Pipkin for their win, and I hope the certificate tasted good!

Level 4 in the afternoon – Debra Cassidy judging, and as usual she set some well thought out hides. She knew the elements she wanted to test, and the searches mostly went well. Only two qualifiers, but the wind certainly added some challenge as did the grass at the base of the wall! Once again, a couple of people were caught out by not remembering the rules! Congratulations to Beccy and Pike for their win – our eardrums have just about recovered!

Level 4 Judges Report : As always a big thank you to Sara for organising the trial and inviting me to judge. The weather was very kind to us, staying dry with a slight wind at times.

Level 4 can be a big step up with the dreaded distraction scents which in this trial were coffee and almond, only one dog indicated almond in the exterior search so well done teams, there is also the question of rewarding at each find which most teams did.

Teams were at various stages of their scent journey, and looking at different things from their dogs, a strong freeze indication, working through environmental distractions, or on or off lead. Remember I only see a snapshot of you and your dog working so I am not aware of antecedence behaviour.

The hall today was a challenge in that for the containers and bags search there was a wooden floor and the table,chairs and perimeter a carpeted area. For some dogs a hard wooden floor is difficult to cope with.

Starting off on the wall search, 20 metres with a grass area adjacent to the majority of the wall which caused an issue for a couple of dogs who just wanted to nibble the grass. I would remind teams that the guidelines state “ in the vehicle/wall search either one of the vehicles must be parked ideally near a grass verge or the wall can have grass at it’s base. It is well worth practising in such an area if you need to. The clove was hidden on one of the “ 6 items at the base” that was the top window of the dolls house. The gun oil was hidden beside an object in a hole in the wall in a tricky corner that was a bit sheltered, the dogs needed to be tasked to it.

Next were containers and bags: the gun oil was on the upturned basket at the front of the room and the clove inside the opened zipped of the yellow iger bag. There was one distraction scent which was coffee in the large grey box.

Back outside to the exterior search where “at least two of the items should contain ‘distraction scents’” in this case coffee was in a small black fold up chair and almond at the bottom of the trestle legs. The other trestle leg to the rear of the area contained gun oil which was hidden on the cross strut of the leg facing the outside perimeter, the clove was hidden at the bottom of th black plastic basket. The majority of teams found both hides.

Back inside to the table/chairs and perimeter, which proved the most problematic search for handlers. It is worth reminding you as per guidelines “One of the scents may be hidden within the seam area of a filing cabinet, cupboard, drawer or closed door”. In this case the clove was hidden at the middle seam of the closed double door to the rear left of the room. The gun oil was hidden on the table leg wheel right at the start of the search. Remember handlers, tables and chairs have legs, and therefore task the dogs to search a little lower. There were 2 distraction scents: coffee under the door wedge at the rear cupboard door and almond at the front of the settee cushion on the side wall.

I tried to ensure searches involved an element of the dogs having to problem solve and it was a joy to watch dogs tracking back to sources, they work hard for us to do this. Well done to Becky and the vocal Mr P and to Elizabeth and the calm Bodie. For those of who didn’t qualify I would hope you took away something from the searches as every trail and environment is different and it is all a learning curve. Remember you all took the best dog home .

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