The track was 19 legs and 945 paces long and set so that the
first article was downwind as the dog was tracking. I am extremely
grateful to John West and Tom Darby for laying the tracks exactly
as I wanted. The teams coped well with this exercise, with ten of
them getting all three articles.
The search square was set to determine whether the dogs could
switch from tracking mode to finding articles by the scent coming
from the article. The square was a full 25 yards and Maureen was
instructed to place all articles 1.5 paces downwind of any track
scent, and to only foil the top area above the line of three
articles. The foiling of the lower part of the square was done by
the handlers and t heir dogs, as the square was laid across the
third leg of the track. This apparently caused more problems
than I had anticipated, with several of the dogs seemingly being
unwilling to cover the top section of the square where most of the
articles were. Two teams retrieved four articles, one team three
articles and two teams two articles, thus we had five teams on
qualifying marks at the end of the nosework section.
The control exercises started with heelwork and ended up at the
sendaway pole which was a yellow stake quite visible to the
handlers. The stake was set at 180 paces in a line directly towards
the fence line, the fence was situated a further 40 paces on from
the stake. The 'redirect' was to another yellow stake, also at 180
paces, to the left of the first stake.
The fence line seemed to be the distracting factor with several
dogs not wanting to stop at the pole or not wanting to redirect
unless they were near the fence. I do allow handlers to work their
dogs but I expect them to end up close to my markers in order to
The 'send away' and 'directional control' was then followed by
the 'clear' and 'long jumps'. Following these exercises the
handlers and dogs came to a halt just outside the 9ft markers
situated in front of the scale for the 'speak' exercise. The
'speak' was conducted with the dog positioned beside the handler to
determine if the dogs were listening to the commands given, marks
were lost for movement during this exercise. After the speak the
dogs were sent over the scale. The control and agility sections
were completed with the down stay.
One qualifier was lost at the end of the control and agility so
the final results were as follows:
1st Dave Olley with WTCh Little Raymond
This partnership attacked the test from beginning to end, and
they proved very worthy winners. 159.5 nosework , with four from
the square, 32 for control and full jumps. Very well done and many
congratulations on the double!!
2nd Barry Gilbert with WTCh Glenalpine
The other square article could have reversed these positions,
154 nosework, 32.5 control and full jumps. Well done!
3rd Gary Haim with WTCh Waggerland
The only partnership of the qualifiers to track on the second
day, and Flynn did quite a lot of checking. The second dog to get
all four from the square. This was Flynn's retirement Trial and I
think Gary was very pleased with his performance. 151 nosework, 29
control and full jumps.
4th Gary Atkins with WTCh Glenalpine Pete
Litter brother to the reserve Ticket winner, well done on the
qualification. 142.5 nosework, 26 control and 19.5 jumps.
I am sorry that so many dogs appeared to find my test difficult
but from where I was standing I could feel the nerves and tensions
from the handlers and this could've have had a great deal to do
with the overall performances.
My thanks to Brian and all the team at Wessex for a
fantastically well organised weekend, being on the committee of the
club I know how hard they all worked. Margery in particular was
busy at her computer for weeks getting the fun posters and score
boards ready, making the coats for the winners, at the Trial doing
all the certificates as well as helping Jackie and Irene in the
kitchen. My thanks to them also for the lunches on the tracking
days they were very welcome.
To John and Tom many thanks for laying the tracks as I wanted,
and to Maureen, it is always good from a judging point of view if
you know your instructions are being carried out without you having
to watch. This was done in an exemplary fashion whilst I
concentrated on the tracking, thank you.
The Lordlease Hotel must be one of the best venues in the
country for accommodation on an occasion like this, with the open
field right outside the door for dog exercising, and fantastic food
for every function. Thanks to the farmers for the use of their
land, the tracking areas were virtually identical for all the dogs
and the weather was even for both days with only one team having a
drop of rain whilst tracking.