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Harpur’s Hill Primary School Coleraine

Judge – Lesley Clements

Judges Report

The Trial was held after a half day’s Workshop introducing Scent Ops to the North of NI. All teams had little or no experience of this type of searching and there was the buzz of nervous excitement.

1st Kevin Doherty and Bruno on 86 points

2nd Karen Smallwoods and Merlin with 85 points

3rd Carlee Evans with Shadow on 84 .5 points

4th Susan Anderson and Kuro with 84.4 points

5th Eileen Toye and Buddy with 82.3 points

6th Joanne Maybin and Cailie with 81.8 points

Also successfully completing Club Level were:

Laura Kirk and Hera with 80.2 points

Vicki Gordon and Ollie with 79.9 points

Andrea Neuhold and Rolo with 79.9 points

Tania Carron and Forest with 78.4 points

The search area was a classroom within a local Primary School. There were desks, chairs, a selection of storage areas, cupboards, a filing cabinet and a large sink in the corner which was of some interest to a few of the dogs. It was a generally cluttered environment.

The hide was trapped on the top right hand corner of the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. The hide itself was not difficult but the cabinet was trapped between the the sink and a counter with lots of art materials, toys and other temptations for the dogs and a table with chairs stacked on top on the other side. It was also deep into the search area and required the dogs to work into a tightish space.

The area lent itself to free searching and more confident teams did this, searched well and were naturally drawn into the cluttered area. Some less experienced teams searched on line and micro managed the desks first before realising that time did not allow for this approach.

The winning team did actually search on line but the handler gave a lovely demonstration of being able to do this without any interference, recognise an area of interest and return there with the dog for a successful find (no mean feat given the size of the dog and length of line!)

The odour was drawn along the side of the counter and sink with most dogs picking it up along there and working it in. Some were obviously interested in some of the surrounding articles but eventually managed to solve the puzzle.

The scores were very tight and each team brought a range of skills unique to themselves.

Lovely to see new teams out enjoying themselves and I was treated to a bunch of handlers who treated their dogs with sensitivity and respect. Well done to all!

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