Wed 27 Oct 2021, Combeinteignhead

Levels 3 & 5: Judge - Hannah Crook

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

Start: L5 – 10:00 & L3 13:00
Entry Fees: £27 per dog.
Contact: Sara Seymour

Trial Manager and Judges Reports

Level 5 Judge report

Thanks to Sara for asking me to Judge again, I had previously judged a L5 at the same venue, so I had a bit of an idea of the layout, as well as being mindful that I was likely to be getting the same competitors as before and so I wanted to try and make this a different test for everyone.

Interior 1 – 5 hides – 5 mins.
I used the whole of the main hall area for this and decided to do a 5 hide search.
The hall was a pretty standard village hall size with 6 doorways spaced around the edge, a few radiators (not switched on) and several stacks of chairs.

I placed a few chairs at the entrance to give the competitors a start point and then allowed them the rest of the hall to work. I had placed a table and two rows of three chairs in the centre of the room.
Finds –
1 – On a chair stack about 5ft into the search area on the left (6/6 teams hit this nicely)
2 – on the skirting board near the top left hand corner (this took a little longer for some to source – 5/6 got this)
3 – on the leg of a table in the top right corner of the hall (6/6 teams hit)
4 – under the skirting board in the bottom right corner of the room (5/6 hit)
5 – under a chair in the centre of the room (5/6 hit)

All the teams worked this area nicely, two dogs, Gylly and Rio, instantly finding and sourcing the 4th hide.
We had a few false indications in this area mainly due to nerves from handlers I think, just a bit of settling, as once they moved to further areas, the dogs worked very nicely into odour.

Exterior – 3 Hides – 3 mins
The Exterior search was mainly a wall, with a couple of features, some concrete steps and a small soil/plant area sticking out.
Finds –
1 – A wooden pillar, about 2ft off the ground
2 – A gap in the concrete on the edge of the garden area
3 – An air brick in the wall at the end of the search area.
The weather, although dry (thank you!) was very breezy. I was initially concerned that this would cause an issue but I think with the way the hides were worked and where the teams were started, it gave the dogs a chance to work with the conditions beautifully.
I had explained to the handlers in the walk through that there was no need for the dogs to go up the steps, but would not penalise them if they did. Two of the dogs sourced the first find from the steps and worked back into it.
The first 4 dogs to work hit each hide perfectly, sourced and moved to the next. Despite being 4 very different dogs (A BSD Mali, a Border collie, a Working cocker and a Welsh springer) with different working styles, some handlers stepping out to reward and others moving on, there was not even 10 seconds between them. Really showing how nicely they could work and clear the area.
I was pleased to see all the dogs succeed well in this area, despite part of the wall having grass underneath which was obviously very interesting.

Interior 2 – 4 hides – 4 mins
I chose again to use a single room for this area, but a much more cluttered area. Every team entered this area with a good chance to succeed, only needing 1 or 2 finds.
The room had a huge billiard table in the centre with a lot of clutter, I decided from the word go, we would ignore this and work it as a perimeter search. There were several articles and items, as well as some interesting contours in the room which made it an interesting area.
Finds –
1 – Door stop instantly as the teams entered the room
2 – Door frame at the top left corner.
3 – Wheel stop on a table on the right side of the room
4 – Door frame to the left of the entrance.

The 1st and 4th hides were fairly close, but all but one team succeeded in sourcing both hides.
The door stop was missed once, and the door frame in the top left corner was also missed once.
Most teams worked around the perimeter in a nice systematic way and hit the hides in turn.
It became a bit difficult for those who left the search area to reward to remember where they had got to, as the only exit to the room as was the door that we had entered through.

I had also explained in the walk though that I would have to enter the room to watch, but I would not at any point stand in the way of a find.

All teams passed and I saw some great handling and team work. A couple maybe need to work on indications a bit more as it was very close to being destructive, but no damage was done.
Well done to everyone 🙂

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